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Interview Answers: “What Have Been Your Greatest Accomplishments So Far?”

Posted by | October 22, 2014 | Scholarships_CareerTips

By Elizabeth Benu,
“I have an interview for an entry level position at a blue chip company in Nairobi next week. In my previous interviews, I have always failed to answer the question, “What have been your greatest accomplishments so far?”I feel confused whether to answer with accomplishments I have made in my personal life or in my career. Someone told me that if I do not have any accomplishments lined up I will not be considered for a position. Should I lie or steal credit from other people’s accomplishments? Please advise,” writes Lillian Kendi in an email

Here are tips from a Human Resource professional.

“A hiring manager wants to know about what you achieved in your previous work. Talking about your personal life does not add value to your interview,” ascertains Mercy Makena, a HR Consultant at Virtual HR

Ms. Makena says that such a question intends to find out if you are initiative and creative in terms of what you did and achieved out of your previous or current job.

“A hiring manager also wants to know what challenge you found in the company, how you resolved it and how it brought change in the organization,” she explains further

Ms. Makena also clarifies that an answer to this question should entail what you have done that had not been done in the organization before you came in.


Talking about your personal life does not add value to your interview

She adds that, “Employers wants to hear of your initiative in terms of developing new ideas, systems or projects. It should be more of the creative side of your job.”

‘What should you not do when answering this question?’ I probe further

She cautions against lying to the hiring manager adding that, “If you have not achieved anything stick to what you have done in your job.”

“Secondly, do not bring something that you have not done as an individual. For example if they were projects done by the whole department, don’t take all the credit. Remember companies perform reference checks on candidates. What happens when your prospective employer finds out it was not your own achievement?” she poses

If you are wondering whether the accomplishments you give should be recent or in the past, Ms. Makena advices that it’s best to give both recent and past accomplishments.

“Start with your past accomplishments and wind up with the recent accomplishments,” she adds.

Ms. Makena also points out that the accomplishments should not only be from one field or for the job that you are applying for.

What advice does she have when it comes to tackling this question?

“See what you have done outside your job description and be careful with the answer you give,” concludes Ms. Makena.