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Accomplishment Interview
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15 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated May 4th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Topics    

Question 1 of 15

When have you significantly contributed to obtain a corporate goal?

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1.

When have you significantly contributed to obtain a corporate goal?

The interviewer would like to know that you take an interest in the overall goals of the company. Engaged employees are always the most productive. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of being an involved team member by assisting, in some way, to the end goal of the corporation.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My most recent employer had a solid interest in giving back to the community. So much so that we, as a group, logged our volunteer hours which were treated as another KPI. We would review our community contributions on a quarterly basis. Our goal was always to hit a minimum of 500 volunteer hours per quarter which meant that everyone would volunteer one day per month. It was a great initiative and one that I happily participated in."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Every quarter, I commit to working overtime to complete our quarterly inventory counts. Our goal is to be the store with the most accurate inventory count, and we have been able to achieve that for the past two years."

2.

Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.

The interviewer would like to know which career accomplishment you value the most. Talking about your most significant achievement will give the interviewer a definite idea of where you place your values. It will also show the interviewer more about your personality, how you like to be motivated, and how to coach you in the future. It is okay to brag a little bit when answering this question. Show that you are proud of yourself and your career accomplishments!

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The greatest accomplishment in my career was graduating University as an honors student while still working full time in a related field. I was top of my class, and working full time. This achievement showed me that I could dedicate myself to my career and reach the goals that I set for myself. It felt great to accomplish so much."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"As an administrator, I can stand out by continuing to educate myself in unexpected ways, which will benefit my employer. This year alone I committed to additional coursework in Excel, PowerPoint, and QuickBooks. My boss was impressed with my high level of initiative and gave me a raise, along with additional responsibilities, because of it."

Anonymous Answer

"My greatest accomplishment in my last job was our team increasing our overall standings from number 3 to number 1 in less than 14 months in an established market. We also met our year-end goal."

Rachelle's Answer

Your answer includes very specific numbers, goals, percentages, and achievements. Very well done!

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3.

Tell me about a contribution you made to the last team you worked on.

It is essential to show the interviewer that you are a team player. Talk about a time that you were recently expected to achieve a goal in a team setting. Discuss how you went above and beyond to ensure that your contribution made a difference.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Last month our company asked upper management to complete a full inventory audit. There were 4 of us in total and so we broke the audit requirements into shifts. These shifts had to take place when the warehouse was not in its daily operations. In the end, there was one additional shift that nobody wanted to take. I volunteered myself to do that shift to show my dedication to my job and my co-workers. The gesture was appreciated, and the audit completed on time."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Before my arrival in my current role, our office faced a great deal of disorganization. The biggest contribution that I made was creating a new filing system, introducing Trello - a web-based project management application, and then training the team on how to properly utilize the application."

Anonymous Answer

"I think it was a situation that I managed to turn a negative into a positive. My boss complained that I was not communicating with team members when I had finished my part in a particular project to pass it on to the next team member. I had to admit that I was at fault for doing this, but I also felt that we should come up with a useful project management tool to help the whole team. I researched the topic and came up with a tool called Jo, which helped all team members plan, track, and organize our work. It was a big success!"

Rachelle's Answer

Jo is an awesome tool. Fabulous suggestion! It's also very good that you took ownership of your part in the situation.

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Anonymous Answer

"I created the syllabus for the onboarding CT clinic by using my own time. My manager appreciated my work because this syllabus shows the new CT nurse the clear direction for onboarding regarding what to learn for the day, what to review, and move on to the next day and when the onboarding would be done."

Rachelle's Answer

This sounds like a very important syllabus that would help many people to come! Way to go over and above your typical job requirements.

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4.

Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond.

The interviewer would like to know about your willingness to go over and above for your employer, without being prompted to do so. Display to the interviewer that you can do more than just the bare minimum. Show that you can react appropriately when you see that your employer has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I often go above and beyond expectations. Most recently, I agreed to cover for a co-worker who was on short-term medical leave. I worked 10 hour days for two weeks so that our work did not suffer any setbacks."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I enjoy going above and beyond in my work. In my last position, I regularly called customers to check in and see how they were doing, even if there was no news or issues with our service to discuss. I believe going above and beyond for customers, and regular touch-base is what kept them loyal to us."

Anonymous Answer

"There was a situation where a customer of mine placed an order for a product that was out of stock. Instead of letting the customer down, I bought the stock from a competitor (at full price) and sold it to my customer at a loss so as not to let him down. It was a strategic move as it kept my customers from going to the competitor and possibly losing them forever."

Rachelle's Answer

Wow - that is thinking outside the box. Good work!

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5.

Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.

The interviewer would like to know if you are giving of your time in the sense of volunteering. Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness which are all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer.

If you do have volunteer experience: 'For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time.'

If you do not have volunteer experience: "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is imperative to take care of the needs of the family."

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is imperative to take care of the needs of the family."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I recently volunteered to be on our business' social committee. Part of what we do it raise funds for local schools and other needs for the community. I am new to volunteering but plan to dedicate myself more often to giving back to others. Do you have a volunteer program set up at your office, or any suggestions on ways that I can give back?"

Anonymous Answer

"I'm a Cubs leader, so I'm involved with a troupe of 30, 9 to11-year-olds. Scouting contains a program of activities that include areas such as social, physical, intellectual, character, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life. It's great fun, and the kids learn to respect each other, their leaders, and contribute to the greater community."

Rachelle's Answer

Awesome! Employers always look keenly on volunteer work. Make sure this is on your resume, too. :)

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6.

If you were hired today, what would you accomplish first?

The interviewer would like to know that you would be ready to make an impact on their organization, immediately after being hired. It's important to come to an interview with a 30-90 day strategic plan on how you would impact the business, should you be the successful candidate. Tell the interviewer what your impact goal is, should you be the successful candidate.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I know you mentioned that the average tenure in this position, before promotion, is anywhere from 6 months to a year or more. I intend to prove over the first three months that I am a rockstar in the organization and would be of greater benefit to you in an account executive role than I am in a sales development role."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"If hired today, I would start with analyzing all quantifiable data from the last month, quarter, and year to identify any bottlenecks or shortfalls in productivity. I would make corrections from there. Perhaps this will be in the form of creating better processes, implementing new applications for productivity, or simplifying the vendor process. This work will, of course, coincide with your biggest pain-points at the moment."

Anonymous Answer

"While preparing for this interview, I observed that some of the policies posted on the company's website had been overdue for revision, some as far back as December 2018. I would discuss with my Audit Manager on the need to reach out to the leadership of the Departments involved informing them of our observation and the need to review and approve the policies, to incorporate any changes that might have occurred after the last review date."

Rachelle's Answer

You are very detailed and have done an incredible amount of research. This is an excellent answer!

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7.

What accomplishment do you believe was the most difficult for you to achieve?

Being able to face a challenging or stressful situation, and still gain some accomplishment, in the end, is very satisfying. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were able to come out on top despite being faced with an obstacle. Your answer can be big or small. You don't need a grandiose example to make an impact.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my career, so far, I feel that the most difficult accomplishment for me to achieve were the three back-to-back promotions in my current company. Because promotions are granted based on results, I had to put in a lot of overtime hours, and hustle, to get there."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"The most challenging accomplishment I achieved was the fluid communication created in my current office. I did this through creating an online memo board and incorporating new methods of communication such as iCalendar and setting everyone up on Hangout. When I first started, communication was so poor that it greatly affected the company's profits. By creating this smooth communication, we were able to increase sales by 155% in the first year."

Anonymous Answer

"Changing my career has been a very difficult journey for me. I sacrificed a great deal by going back to study, sacrificing financially, working long hours, and investing three years of my life in getting where I am today. I knew it was what I wanted to do, so I just persisted. At times I wanted to quit, but I just kept on telling myself that it will be worth it. And it is!"

Rachelle's Answer

A sacrifice that will definitely pay off. Good job.

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8.

How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?

The interviewer would like to know what motivates you to be an over-achiever in the workplace. We all want recognition in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Perhaps you enjoy surprise gifts, financial perks, public attention, kind words, added responsibilities, or title promotions. Share with the interviewer how you would like recognition for your hard work.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to hear words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work matters."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am very simple. I do not require any formal recognition, but kind words from my coworkers and superiors will keep me motivated and working hard."

Anonymous Answer

"A job well done should always be acknowledged. I'm success orientated rather than financially driven. I think getting positive feedback is important so that you know the good work you are doing is being noticed. Promotion is the ultimate recognition for accomplishments."

Rachelle's Answer

Good answer! You are giving the interviewer a lot to work from.

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9.

Tell me about a time that you have helped a co-worker accomplish an important goal.

It is imperative to be goal-oriented and determined but even more critical is to support your coworkers in their professional endeavors openly. This support is how teams succeed! What do you do, outside of your own goals, to ensure that everyone on your team is successful? Assure the interviewer that you are always willing to keep the team, or company as a whole, in mind.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I enjoy seeing my coworkers succeed and will help them whenever possible. One way that I support my coworkers is to help them keep organized by making suggestions on new tools that I have discovered. I had one coworker with a brand new smartphone, and she wasn't sure all the ways it could be utilized to make her day better. I spent my lunch hour helping her set it up. She was golden, after that!"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I work closely with accounts payable, ensuring our bills are paid on time. However, my coworker in accounts receivable was struggling to obtain payments from customers. I stepped in and helped her make collection calls one day, knowing that my work could wait until tomorrow. I could see she was drowning and discouraged, so it was the team-oriented thing to do."

Anonymous Answer

"When I was a sales manager, I used to track the progress of all the new hires. Occasionally there would be a rep whose figures weren't on target. I'd make a point of shadowing the rep on a few calls and help them with their product knowledge of sales techniques. Sometimes if a sales opportunity landed on my desk, I'd give to a rep that I felt was having a bad month and could do with a morale boost."

Rachelle's Answer

This is a very hands-on approach. Nice answer, and it shows that you care.

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10.

Tell me about a project you completed recently that was ahead of schedule.

The interviewer would like to know about your project and deadline related accomplishments. Show that it is vital for you to meet and exceed work-related deadlines. Assure the interviewer that you can remain focused on a project and accomplish your goals ahead of schedule.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my current position I am expected to cold call 100 customers per week. Most of our associates will break this down into 20 per day, five days per week. What has attributed greatly to my success in this role is that I call 50 customers each day for the first two days and then have time to make additional calls throughout the week. This action equals a 25% surplus of cold calls to my portfolio. I am always ahead of target by going over and above that cold calling schedule."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"In my current role, I was given the task of migrating our payroll system to a new provider. I completed the project two weeks ahead of schedule allowing us to start the new service sooner."

11.

Describe an ongoing problem at your current or former employer, that you were able to overcome.

Every place of employment will have its challenges. Talk to the interviewer about a specific issue that you were able to overcome in your previous role. Be sure to remain positive. Avoid complaining or saying negative things about your last employer or co-workers.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my most recent position we had an ongoing concern with our most popular stock depleting before the new shipment would come in. Customers would become annoyed and upset, which then became an issue for me as the customer service manager. I decided to document the cycle and then approach the inventory manager about my concern. We were able to work on a solution for ordering from that particular supplier. In the end, this solved the majority of supply issues."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Clear communication was an ongoing problem in our office when I first started as senior administrator. With the support of management, the use of Microsoft Project, and a weekly status email template, we quickly overcame the communication issues. All five of our departments are now talking to each other instead of pointing fingers."

12.

When were you able to resolve a problem within work?

Problem-solving and dispute resolution are fundamental skills to possess. Display to the interviewer that you are capable of problem-solving within the workplace. Show that you can be a team player, even in the face of conflict.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my most recent position we had a consistent problem with employees showing up late for their shifts or calling in sick at the very last moment. Rather than the typical documenting and reprimanding style that management usually takes, I decided to track the results of an accountability reward system. For 180 days, my employees received a reward for coming to work 10 minutes early. Also, for every month with zero sick days, a bonus was added. In the end, we awarded those with perfect attendance a $600 bonus. The bonuses cost us less money, in the end than the cost of lowered productivity due to absent employees. The program was a success, and upper management chose to keep it implemented for another six months. We will reassess in December, but it seems to be working very well."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I problem solve quite often at work, primarily with customer resolution. Just yesterday I worked with a customer who was unhappy. Through patient communication, I was able to resolve the complaint and create another returning customer."

Anonymous Answer

"Early in my career, we had an incident where a mobile phone was stolen from a company car in the carpark at lunchtime while the carpark attendant was on lunch. I volunteered to take my lunch in the carpark every day so that it was not unattended during that time."

Rachelle's Answer

You are showing the interviewer that you are willing to go the extra mile. Good work. If this was very early in your career, try drumming up a more recent example from your current role.

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13.

What was the greatest cost-cutting measurement you accomplished at your previous employer?

The interviewer would like to know about your previous success with cost-cutting. Every company wants to run as lean as possible, and they want to see that you are conscious of this factor as well. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of understanding the importance of this practice and give a strong example of a time when you have done so.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The greatest cost-cutting measurement that I accomplished at work was through new suggestions for theft prevention. Since we implemented some of my suggestions our loss, due to theft, has decreased by 12%."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My biggest cost reducing plan was to source new suppliers for our office supplies. By doing some extra research, I was able to bring costs down by 20% in less than one year."

Anonymous Answer

"Letting go of five staff members cut the payroll by 30%: a huge cost-cutting but a difficult time for those losing their job."

Rachelle's Answer

It's good that you show empathy for those you laid off. If possible, go into some detail on what your superiors asked you to deliver when it came to your budget.

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14.

What will you accomplish in the first 90 days of working here?

It's a good idea to have a 30, 60, and 90-day plan set out when you go into an interview. This approach is especially important when you are applying to a management or sales based position where immediate action and results are expected. You can jot down a few ideas or create a slide presentation with graphs - whatever makes you most comfortable! You can discuss numbers, training achievements, pain points the interviewer has mentioned in the past, or how you plan to fit in with your new team.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In the first 90 days of working for your organization I plan to accomplish a deep understanding of your client portfolio and begin to call on the clients who have been left cold for 60 days or more. I understand these are the most challenging clients to resuscitate, but it's important to me that I begin my new role with a solid challenge."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I would like to accomplish a few things in my first 90 days. After giving it some thought, I believe the best action I can take is to get to know each member of the team whom I will be supporting. Some people like communication via phone, some in person, and others prefer a quick email. I plan to learn how everyone prefers to communicate. Next, you mentioned that the electronic filing system is disorganized. I would like to fix that for you, first thing."

Anonymous Answer

"I want to meet everyone I will be working with and build relationships with them in the first 90 days. I'd like to see myself to be an invaluable member of the team who's input plays a vital role in all the projects I'm working on. I'd like to have led and completed at least one project end-to-end."

Rachelle's Answer

These are all excellent 90-day goals! Very realistic and achievable.

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15.

What is the most significant achievement you have on the horizon?

When you show that you have goals and achievements on the horizon, you are letting the interviewer know that you put thought into your career and what you bring to your employer. Employees who do not have goals set just beyond their reach are typically disengaged and unmotivated. This achievement does not need to be complicated. It can be as simple as finishing a beautiful Powerpoint presentation, finishing work-related coursework, or reaching a sales target.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"This year I have been working towards my Masters' in Accounting while also working full time. This effort has been challenging and rewarding all at the same time. My graduation date is this May, so that is the most significant achievement on the horizon."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"The most significant achievement on the horizon for me is the completion of my Advanced Excel and MS courses. I have learned a great deal, and have a few modules to go. I look forward to applying these new skills to this role with your company!"

Anonymous Answer

"I'm studying a web development course which will be completed in the next two months. That will be a significant personal achievement on completion."

Rachelle's Answer

This is a wonderful achievement.

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15 Accomplishment Interview Questions
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Interview Questions

  1. When have you significantly contributed to obtain a corporate goal?
  2. Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.
  3. Tell me about a contribution you made to the last team you worked on.
  4. Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond.
  5. Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.
  6. If you were hired today, what would you accomplish first?
  7. What accomplishment do you believe was the most difficult for you to achieve?
  8. How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
  9. Tell me about a time that you have helped a co-worker accomplish an important goal.
  10. Tell me about a project you completed recently that was ahead of schedule.
  11. Describe an ongoing problem at your current or former employer, that you were able to overcome.
  12. When were you able to resolve a problem within work?
  13. What was the greatest cost-cutting measurement you accomplished at your previous employer?
  14. What will you accomplish in the first 90 days of working here?
  15. What is the most significant achievement you have on the horizon?
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