A very common interview question is- “Describe what you’ve accomplished toward reaching a recent goal for yourself.” You may also be asked to describe your accomplishments or explain how you tackle new problems. While you should respond accordingly to the exact question you are asked- each of these inquiries has the same idea behind them.
When interviewers ask this question- they are trying to get an idea of how you will function in the workplace. They are not necessarily interested in the exact answer you give- so be sure to provide information that applies to the job you are interviewing for. This is not a question that can be answered successfully if you are put on the spot- so take the time to develop your answer before you begin the interview. While it is unusual for some version of this question not to be asked- you will still benefit from knowing this information even if it is not asked.
How to Answer the ‘Describe What You’ve Accomplished Toward Reaching a Recent Goal for Yourself’ Interview Question
Focus on the How: This may be obvious if you are simply asked to describe what you’ve accomplished toward reaching a recent goal for yourself- but you may be tripped up if you’re asked a different interview question- such as- “What are some of your recent achievements” instead. While you should describe what the goal was and explain what meeting it entailed- keep in mind that the most important information you can provide is how you reached that goal. Interviewers cannot use the information that you improved sales by a certain amount- but the strategy and tactics you used to improve sales will say a lot about you- your work ethic and priorities- and how you will potentially fit in the job opening. It is usually best to fit your answer in two or three minutes- so you must be able to quickly describe the process in as few words as possible.
Think About Challenges Specific to This Job: When asked to describe what you’ve accomplished toward reaching a recent goal for yourself- you have the opportunity to describe an instance where you faced difficulties and were able to overcome. If done correctly- this can significantly impress the interviewer- but there is even more potential with this question. Think about what obstacles you will be facing if you are hired. The interviewer is already aware of them- so if you describe similar challenges you have faced and dealt with- you will be illustrating that you are cut out for the job you are applying for. There are general problems that apply to every job- such as employee conflicts- efficiency maximization- and communication difficulties- but it is far more effective if you get more specific. These may be the best choice if your position would directly involve these tasks- but even so- you can always be more specific.
Do Not Brag: It is natural for your answer to involve taking pride in your work. You were asked to describe your success- so you cannot do that without describing how you excel. There is a difference between excelling and being boastful- however. In addition to thinking you are qualified- the interviewer must like you. It is very difficult to like someone who has an inflated opinion of themselves- so always play it on the safe side. Focus on the results of your success- rather than how you benefited. Instead of describing the promotion you received- mention how it improved efficiency or drew in more customers. Additionally- be sure to be humble. You might mention how it would not have been possible without collaboration and teamwork from multiple people- or how a leader’s mentorship helped you prepare for the challenge.
Sample ‘Describe What You’ve Accomplished Toward Reaching a Recent Goal for Yourself’ Interview Answers
At my previous job- we were challenged to improve labor costs by finishing faster. I remember really feeling committed to making the improvement- and in the end we were able to improve by nearly 40 percent. I emphasized that we would only be able to reach our goals if we worked together- and I made a personal effort to try to lead the collaboration. Everyone did an amazing job and it really make it clear to me how success is impossible unless everyone is working together.
We were having a production issue- but no one could seem to find a solution. Eventually- I was tasked with it and took it home and worked on it while I was away from the job. Ultimately- the solution was not very complicated- it just had to be worked through. I remember how effective I was when I brought everything I had to the job- instead of just the part of my life I had been allocating for work. I knew that if I was going to be in this industry- I was going to give it 110 percent.
To make sure you are completely prepared when you are asked about how you reach your goals- start thinking about your answer now.