Job Interview Question: Achievements and career paths

The interviewers will always look for anything that stands out about an applicant, good or bad.

When you get to the questions about what you've achieved in your work, you're actually quantifying yourself and your work history.

There's a further relevant point, too; it defines the condition of your career. If you're achieving big things, great. If you're achieving things over and above your position, better.

There's a downside:

If the best you can come up with is a relatively minor episode, you can expect any comparisons with other candidates to work against you.

This isn't a fair process, and it doesn't pretend to be one. The issue is what you can show as results for your work. In some cases the comparison between candidates can quite literally be a dollar value, worth of achievement vs. ,000,000. If you're in sales or marketing, it matters, a lot.

So you need to be very selective about what you choose as an example of your achievements, and how you express it. Even a good result can look pretty vague, if it's not made clear what's so good about it.

(Just for the record, a dollar value result does have that degree of obvious importance about it, and is not to be sneered at as an interview asset.)

Also relevant is your career path. Careers are actually based on achievements. If you're not achieving, your career path is likely to be bumpy at best. In the case of people who've been in a career for a while, lack of achievement also means the career is stagnant.

OK, it's not fair, if you just don't have the opportunities to achieve much. But you can see why it's a reasonable basis for an assessment. Actually, you can use the desire to achieve career goals as a selling point in this context, and we'll show you how a little later.