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By Michelle Wanjiku

When employers are looking to hire, they are looking for professionals who can deliver. Meaning they want to know what you have managed to achieve in your previous employment.

They want to see if hiring you will be of any benefit to them. They don’t just want someone to do the job; they are also looking for someone who will add value to the company.

This is where your achievements come in. If you want to increase your chances of getting the job, you need to be able to talk about your achievements.

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So how do you answer “What Are Your Achievements?”

1. Talk about more than what was in the job description

When it comes to listing your achievements, it’s best that you don’t focus on how well you managed to do the job you were supposed to do anyway.

Instead, focus on how you added value to the position and what more you managed to do to benefit the company.

For example, if you are an accountant and your work was to oversee audit, this doesn’t count as an achievement.

You can instead give an example of how you were hired in a firm that lacked proper book of accounts and your achievement implementing a proper bookkeeping method and thereby helping the company reduce costs.

That counts as an achievement because you went over and beyond the employer’s explanations.

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Sample answers

“During my tenure as an Accounts Assistant at TVX Company, I noticed that my organization did not have proper bookkeeping records which resulted in us being penalized for failure to submit tax returns on time. This prompted me to implement proper bookkeeping records where all the accounting procedures were kept in order, which resulted in being awarded employee of the year.”

“As an administrative assistant in a local law firm, I noticed that a lot of important files were misplaced or damaged permanently because of poor storage. I was able to create and introduce an organized system which enabled the company to adopt an efficient record keeping system. This resulted in the law firm having more satisfied clients.”

2. Use figures when talking about your achievements

Your achievements will be more effective if you support them with figures. For instance, saying that you successfully planned an event of 70,000 people in 3 weeks with a limited budget of 2 million shillings only carries more weight than saying that you successfully planned a large event within a short time.

The more figures you can give, the better. just ensure they make sense and are understandable.

Sample answer

“My greatest achievement so far in my career is that I made numerous operational changes at my branch, including a massive reduction in stock level as well as driving up sales levels. The effect was that I surpassed the previous branch sales record by an impressive 20% and profits rose in line with this. This directly resulted in my promotion to the management of the new branch.”

3. Always have a benefit

When answering this question, it’s important to ensure that you show how your achievement benefited the company.

For example, after noticing that a lot of important files were misplaced or damaged permanently because of poor storage at the company, I was able to introduce and create an organized system.

This answer clearly shows what you managed to do while working at that company but how did these changes affect the company? Showing that this helped improve client retention will show that not only are you an achiever but you can also benefit the organization.

So talk about how the changes you implemented, helped boost sales, prevented losses or however else you helped the company.

In Conclusion,

When coming up with achievements, it is important that you don’t lie. Employers will always know when you are trying too hard to impress them and that will not earn you the job. No one wants to hire someone they cannot trust.

For more on how to answer this question from Perminus Wainaina, Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, this short video guide here gives you a guideline on what to remember when answering this question.

Having a hard time selling your expertise in a job interview? Talk to an Interview Coaching Manager today. Email training@corporatestaffing.co.ke to make an appointment.