Interview Question: "What Are You Most Proud of?"
Updated March 10, 2023
During a job interview, an employer wants to learn more about your skills and your background. One way they may do this is by inquiring about your greatest accomplishments. When preparing for this kind of question, you need to reflect on your top professional achievements and zero in on the ones you feel best represent what you’re capable of.
In this article, we discuss why employers ask, “What are you most proud of?” and go over the steps you can take to prepare for this question, plus share examples of how different candidates might answer the question in their interview.
Why employers ask, "What are you most proud of?"
Employers ask, "What are you most proud of?" to learn a few important things about you. First, this question helps them understand your definition of success. Based on your answer, they can tell how ambitious and goal-driven you are. Second, they want to know what skills helped you reach this achievement.
Your answer gives you the opportunity to explain how your skills led to your success. Finally, this question helps the employer see if your definition of success aligns with their company culture and values.
How to answer, "What are you most proud of?"
How you approach this question can really frame the impression you make. You'll want to exude confidence, positivity and that you are person who makes thoughtful consideration of their choices, which portrays a potential for growth. Follow these steps to effectively answer, "What are you most proud of?":
1. Reflect on your career
Before any interview, it's a good idea to reflect on your career. Prepare for this particular question by making a list of all of your professional accomplishments. While you have likely done some things you're proud of in your personal life, it's likely that an employer would rather hear about career-related accomplishments. During this time of reflection, write down everything that comes to your mind, no matter how big or little. This brainstorming session can help you remember what you are most proud of.
2. Relate it to the job
Now that you have your extensive list, start to narrow it down based on the job you're applying to. When thinking about your response, take a look at the job posting and do some company research. This way, you can see which of your accomplishments best align with the job in question.
Pick an answer that would show employers you have the capability to achieve great things at their company. Rather than a modest accomplishment, aim for something that really made a difference in your career. Use this as a chance to prove that you work toward large goals.
3. Explain how you did it
Use your response to show how your skillset enabled you to achieve great things. Specify which skills helped you get through your goal process. You could even describe which skills you developed along the way. Your response is the perfect opportunity to show that you are always striving to grow in your career. Make it clear that you are constantly setting new goals and working toward something. Walk the employer through the steps you took to reach this accomplishment.
4. Discuss what you learned
The key to great success is learning from your accomplishments. Explain any life lessons or insights you may have gained once you reached your goal. Share what the process taught you about hard work and dedication.
5. Be sincere in your answer
Rather than downplaying your accomplishment or making it seem more impressive than it actually is, try to be honest and sincere in your answer. You never know if the employer will inquire more about this achievement later on, so it is best to only give truthful details. Use the details you remember to establish your credibility and prove that you have what it takes to reach your goals.
While this is a more generalized question, how it is treated in different professions will vary given the circumstances of working in that field. Here are a few example answers:
Journalist example: "I would have to say the thing I am most proud of is my first editorial in The New York Times. When I was an aspiring journalist, the Times had been the pinnacle of my definition of success. For years, I submitted pitches to their team only to be rejected or to hear nothing back at all. Although this process lowed my ego a bit, it taught me the importance of hard work, persistence and dedication.
I finally developed a story that their readership would be interested in. When I got the call that they would fund my piece, I knew I was finally a respectable journalist. Even though I have written much more substantial and noteworthy stories since then, this memory is what I am most proud of. It was my chance to finally prove myself as an investigative writer."
Tutor example: "As a math tutor, I meet a lot of students who struggle with this subject. While I have helped plenty of them boost their grades and test scores, one of my students especially stood out to me. She was a high school sophomore who was incredibly anxious about her upcoming ACT exam. She consistently got B's and C's in her math classes, and she always felt like she was just scraping by. I could tell she had the intelligence to understand math, she just never got the support and confidence boost she needed.
Over the course of six months, I helped her get her GPA up to a consistent 3.5. Along with teaching her math skills, I taught her how to overcome her self-doubt. I gradually let her do more math problems on her own. Eventually, she learned to truly enjoy math and not to see it as a stressor in her life. When she got her ACT score back, she got a 30 in math. This situation was what I was most proud of as a tutor. It helped me learn the importance of building a student's self-confidence in academics."
Physical therapies example: "I am most proud of the work I did as a volunteer physical therapist abroad. I traveled to an impoverished community with a few of my colleagues to provide free physical therapy sessions to people in need.
Some of their cases were so severe since they couldn't afford the medical attention they needed. One case that really taught me a lot was working with a 15-year-old boy who was experiencing the back pain of an elderly man. He had been doing physical labor since he was 10, and he never learned how to treat his body properly.
Over the course of my six-month stay, I taught this boy how to do his work in a more ergonomic way. I also provided him with a series of treatments and exercises that he could carry on after I left. While I wasn't able to change his sad working situation, I was able to help him feel comfortable while doing his tasks. By the end of my visit, this boy's posture immensely improved and he could live his life pain-free."
Yoga instructor example: "I am most proud of the yin class that I developed. While I incorporate the traditional techniques I learned during my training, I also have added on a few more relaxation practices to help students unwind after a long day. I use essential oils and guided meditation to help students ease into their deep stretches.
Students love my class so much that I am constantly getting good feedback. I learned that by implementing what they like, more people are going to make yin a part of their daily routine. In fact, I grew my class from 10 to 50 people within a three-month period. My gym had to give us a bigger room for our sessions."
Office administrator example: "The proudest moment of my career is when I led a company-wide training session to teach everyone how to use our new project management platform. Prior to this training session, I wasn't a fan of public speaking. As I prepared my presentation, I also worked to be a better, more confident public speaker. When the training session finally came, I used my relaxation techniques and speaking skills to deliver an informative training session.
After the meeting, my manager gave me immense praise. She was incredibly proud of how straightforward and informative my presentation was. In fact, she said this was the easiest onboarding process she had ever seen at the company. Now, I am eager to talk in front of large crowds."
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