Most interviewers will ask you about your strengths and weaknesses; however, this question is specifically tailored for the interviewer to see what successes you value in the workplace. Ensure that the accomplishment you list is work-related. Think about the times when you were given extra kudos in the workplace or when you received a special award. Give the interviewer a brief overview of your accomplishment including why it was special for you.
"In my current position, I reduced costs by reviewing packing slips, contracts, invoices and calling out vendor billing errors. Then, I assisted Accounts Receivable by helping make collection calls which brought in revenue that we would have lost. Lastly, I created a new filing system that helped us research transactions faster. These changes resulted in a 15% revenue increase in just 90 days."
"My greatest accomplishment is actually from my time in University. I graduated top of my Business Administration class while also holding down a full-time admin job. It was a true success story, and it encouraged me!"
"Early in my career, I created an entire department, structure, and team from scratch. It was gratifying. In my last role, I created a social cause program for our organization that gave back to the community and got our teams involved in something greater than ourselves. I have many great wins in my management career and look forward to gaining more, with your organization."
"Easily my proudest moment was setting a company record for fastest hire-to-promotion. To come to a new opportunity, crushing expectations, and see that rewarded exactly how I had hoped was such an awesome feeling and something I am incredibly proud of."
"I would have to say that my proudest moment professionally was being the youngest employee in my company to be promoted to department manager. I worked hard to meet my sales targets and also spent time mentoring new hires."
"Two of my proudest career accomplishments have occurred this year, in my current position. I earned a spot in the President's Club and top Customer Choice in our entire division. This recognition meant so much to me because it showed me that my dedication and tenacity truly paid off. I won the President's Club annual trip to Mexico which was exciting."
"My biggest work-related accomplishment came around the time when the school district cut my elementary Spanish program for budgetary reasons. The parents of my students rallied to ensure the district, the board, and the principals all knew that it was not an option to cut the program. I had former students speak about how important Spanish has been for them and how impactful I was as a teacher. I knew then, just how big of a difference I had made at that community school."
The interviewer wants to know how you handle making risky decisions. As a successful professional, you know to calculate risk in your industry. Tell the interviewer about a work-related risk you have taken and what the outcome was. Start with an overview of the decision you needed to make, and explain why it was risky. Describe who the situation affected, as well as the possible outcomes. Complete your answer by sharing how the decision paid off, or by mentioning any recognition you received for your success.
"The riskiest decision I ever made was to leave the recruitment industry to move into workforce planning, as a consultant. The risk meant that if I were unsuccessful, I would be looking for a new job in a plodding economy. The pay off would be that I would finally be in a sector in which I was truly interested. I made a great career for myself for the next eight years, which has brought me here today - with an exceptional opportunity in front of me."
"The riskiest career choice I have made was asking for a reduction in hours, from full time to part time employment, to pursue my degree in Business Administration. My boss could have let me go, but he didn't. In fact, he openly supported my pursuit of higher education."
"My riskiest decision was to ship a customer order late because I was not satisfied with the quality audit. The numbers were within the threshold, but not to par. In the end, while the customer was unhappy to receive a late order, she was happy that we cared enough to investigate any potential problems."
"One of the riskiest decisions I made was to leave corporate America and join a startup with an innovative idea. The company was seeking to provide a product/service that would pioneer a new industry. We worked harder and smarter to launch and create a new space in the nutraceutical marketplace. We failed a lot along the way, but we learned to fail fast, and it made us all better professionals."
"I think the riskiest decision I've made is taking steps to pursue this position. I am seeking out an opportunity, which would result in leaving a 5-year tenure at a successful store, where I've risen through the ranks and made a name for myself, to start fresh and challenge myself professionally."
"Easily the riskiest career decision I've made was to leave an established organization where I was being groomed for a general manager role, to try my hand at a technology startup. Most of my family thought I was nuts when I did it, but I felt it my gut it was what I needed to do. I was right. Not only did I get to experience a different, more innovative culture, team, and product, but also I was able to be a real difference maker in the organization, rather than continue to chug away at a 10,000+ person corporate entity. That leap brought me to more opportunities I never thought possible."
"When I came back to work after having my kids -- and leaving was seen as potentially risky, might I add -- I had two options on the table. I could have worked as a high school Spanish teacher or an elementary Spanish teacher. I chose Elementary. This example may not sound risky, but a few years prior, the district had floated the idea that elementary Spanish should be cut to save money, so I came into a position that was potentially on the cutting block."
The interviewer wants to hear about a particular situation where you used good judgment to solve a work problem. Be sure to showcase your logic and reasoning abilities. Share a brief overview of the problem, discuss the pro/cons of each decision you could have made, and tell the interviewer why the solution you chose was the best.
"Just yesterday I had a customer who was upset because our sales associate would not refund a garment that this customer had already worn. She was outside of the 14 days return policy as well. I am the assistant manager, so I stepped in to alleviate the situation. By showing the customer that I could meet her in the middle, she was able to calm down and reason with me. I did not refund her the price of the garment; however, I offered her a $25 in-store credit. I know this will cost my company mere dollars and, in the end, I had a happy customer again."
"I use good logic every day! As an administrative assistant, I face a multitude of scheduling problems. I used logic by figuring out how to arrange my executive's schedule through the path of least resistance. I will first call the most flexible appointments to reschedule, and work my way down the list from there."
"I once had to solve a space issue in our warehouse. I rearranged the shipping lanes to allow for smaller customers to be combined in one area and arranged by the scheduled truck arrival, and large customers to have their dedicated shipping area. This change made locating shipments to load onto trucks much easier. My team of operators was thrilled with the change."
"Logic is a huge part of the creativity in marketing, believe it or not. When I take on a new client, I always ask them what their biggest pain point is. Using the logic and the thought process of a customer, I create a marketing strategy from there."
"In retail these days, you always have to be weighing the potential of being blasted or praised on social media. One example that comes to mind was the termination of an employee. It was clear that this person was not going to work out, despite my best efforts at coaching and mentoring. Over the course of three shifts, I worked with her, coached her, and gently allowed her to realize on her own that this position was a poor fit. By the end of the third shift of coaching out, she let me know that she was putting in her notice. By taking a different approach, we avoided the disgruntled exit of an employee. She now comes into the store as a friendly customer, so it did turn out well for all parties."
"I had a customer who was unhappy with his purchase (the item in question cost over $20k). Although my support team said just to let him be and have him work with our Director of Operations to resolve the issue, I knew that I could lose a several hundred thousand dollar customers over a one time issue, so I was not about to let that happen. By stepping in and mediating the call and assuring him that we would work together to not only solve the issue but address the arbitration process in the future, I was able to turn a disgruntled customer who threatened to never purchase again into a top buyer for the company and me."
"My fourth-grade classes were recently working on a project for our family unit, and one of the students was quiet and unengaged in the middle of the lesson. He's usually bubbly and participates fully, so I found a moment when I could quietly sneak over to speak with him. He didn't know what to put as his mom's picture since she died when he was a baby. I was brokenhearted for him, but we had a moment to talk about how we can be sad but still remember our loved ones and how they're always a part of our family. By being in tune with my class and any aberration in its behavior, I was able to uncover and address an issue that resulted in a happy, smiling boy again."
Show the interviewer that you will still get the job done even when you aren't excited about the task at hand. Think about a time when there was a work-related task that you did not want to do. Perhaps the dreaded file room needed to be purged of outdated files to make room for the new. Tell the interviewer what your task was, and explain why you were not excited about it. Be sure to tell the interviewer that even though you were not enthusiastic about the mission, you made it happen promptly knowing that it would help the organization as a whole.
"I like to set rewards for myself when there are undesirable tasks at hand. For instance, a large part of what I do is review all of the resumes that come into our job portal on a weekly basis. Sometimes there will be up to 200 resumes to review. They all begin to look the same over time, so I have set a goal to look at 20 at a time, give myself a quick break, then return to the task."
"I am sometimes handed the task of cleaning out our huge supply closet. It had become a junk room full of random things that we never use. I rarely want to do it, but I found the motivation to complete the task by focusing on how a more organized supply room would make everyone's life easier."
"Terminating any staff member is a task that I do dread. I balance this by reminding myself that we have a fantastic new employee lined up as a replacement who will perform better and compliment the positive workplace culture I work so hard to craft."
"I find our initial client calls to be a bit mundane. I spend these calls regurgitating their information back to them before we begin a project; however, I realize it's necessary to ensure there is zero loss of communication. I try to make these calls fun by letting my personality shine through, and throwing in fun questions now and then."
"No one in retail likes cleaning out the dressing rooms and doing take-backs, honestly. As a supervisor, I never show that I don't like performing these particular tasks. I like to be sure to incentivize myself and my team to make these tasks fun. I will run little contests for the team such as whoever gets their section of the store perfectly organized, gets a coffee on me."
"I do not always like filling out a CRM. I don't think any salesperson does. We like the call, the chase, the close. Taking time to pause and write out the details of our conversation, projections, and all that jazz is not something we look forward to doing because it slows us down. However, it's a necessary step in the sales process. Not only does it ultimately help that sale go better when the CRM is filled out in full detail, but also it helps inform the next sales' close rate. It's an essential tool in the sale, and even if it takes slowing down and doing a seemingly monotonous task, I understand its a job that will help me as a salesperson and the organization as a whole."
"Report cards are never fun. I have over three hundred students, so it's an enormous task. I like to try to make them personalized since I know the parents appreciate the added effort. So, it becomes a rather large project. In any event, it has to get done, and I make sure to break the reports up by class and complete one class per day. It's not a fancy process, but it works for me. I believe the extra effort is appreciated."
This question is designed to learn how well you work under pressure. Avoid choosing a time that you were in danger of missing the deadline because of poor planning on your part such as procrastination. Instead, choose a situation that was out of your control.
"Last month, our corporate head office requested a full inventory count at random. We were given just two days to complete this count when, usually, these inventory counts were given three full days to complete. I was the team lead at the time, so I rescheduled us to work longer split shifts to ensure we met the timeline without overworking anyone. I turned the task into a competition where the first person to complete their inventory section received two free movie tickets. My plan worked well! We finished the inventory count in just 39 hours and the team remained motivated."
"My team and I were recently under a deadline to complete a global employee satisfaction survey. Our deadline was set to execute the project from start to finish within six weeks. Before beginning, we came across one main roadblock that was going to prevent us from accomplishing this. Global customs would take six weeks to ship the surveys in and out of the facility. We came up with a solution to email the surveys and still include the coding that would catalog the results by location and department. It was our transparency in communications and collaborative work environment that helped us meet the deadline and deliver the results to the leadership team."
"This past year our regional manager wanted to have a new rep hired and trained for the first week of January. She informed me of this only on the first of December. To expedite the process, I requested a budget allowance to hire a recruiter. The recruiter worked fast, and we had an offer out to the perfect candidate in just three weeks."
"I was once part of a team that had a major set back based on the crash of our project management software. I went to the project backup database, quickly reviewed everyone's open tasks, rearranged the schedule and called an emergency team meeting to set us back on course. We barely made it in time, but we made it."
"I was called in at the last minute to help complete a buying deadline. Our previous manager had left suddenly, so, literally 20 hours into the new role; I was asked to make buying recommendations for next season. I stayed up pretty much all night reviewing last year's data for the same season, to make an educated recommendation to the buyer and sent it along to corporate. They made their buying decision based off of my recommendation. I was so nervous through the entire season that I may have made an inaccurate representation of our data and put my department's budget at risk. As it turned out, I was pretty near dead on and we had a successful summer season."
"I am tasked with cold calling 100 potential new clients per day. I had a chaotic week just a couple of weeks ago where the Monday was a holiday, on Tuesday our company database was down, and on Wednesday, I was out for half of the day on in-person client calls. This setback meant that I needed to complete five days of work in just 2.5. I spent a few hours of overtime and skipped my lunch breaks so that I would meet my target."
"Last summer during curriculum writing, we were having some conflict about what would be added, cut, or kept. Because of this, we got a bit behind. Ultimately, we ended up working extra hard and some longer hours than usual in the last week to make the final revisions to the curriculum. I believe that passion showed in our final decision since the following year was the most fun, inspired, and arguably effective curriculum we'd developed to date."
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