You’ve aced the other questions in the interview, and now it’s time for the one that can make or break you: the question about your achievements. How do you answer this question, especially if you’re applying for a management position? It may seem intimidating at first, but with a few tips and some sample answers, you can make sure your answer conveys your accomplishments clearly, and leaves your interviewer impressed. We’ll give you ideas on how to answer the question: “What is your greatest professional achievement?” with 10 sample answers for various management positions. With these in hand, you’ll be prepared to ace any job interview.
Turning Around Underperforming Teams or Departments
When interviewing for a manager position, one key example of a professional achievement you can use is turning around underperforming teams or departments. Employers want to know that you have the skills and experience to step into the role and make an impact. Showing that you’ve had success turning around an underperforming team or department in the past is a great way to demonstrate this.
You can frame your answer by talking about the strategies you employed to get results, such as:
- Introducing new processes and systems
- Boosting morale & engagement with team members
- Equipping each team member with proper training
- Working collaboratively to identify and solve problems
- Improving communication between departments
This type of response will be well-suited for any management position in which the employer is looking for someone who’s confident enough to implement change and drive results. Even if you haven’t had a lot of managerial experience in the past, highlighting this example will show employers that you have the potential to truly make an impact when placed in a leadership role.
Perfect for Senior Management Roles Overseeing Multiple Teams
If you’re up for a senior management role that involves heading up multiple teams, you can elaborate on your experience leading projects and initiatives to successful completion. Talk about how you managed different teams of people who had specific roles and responsibilities in managing the project. Highlight how you motivated them to work together, coordinate resources, and how, as a result, the project was successful.
For example, you might say, “My greatest professional achievement was leading a team of 10 software developers in developing an app that was completed ahead of schedule. I developed an effective system for allocating tasks and monitoring progress, which enabled us to meet tight deadlines while ensuring quality control throughout.”
Another example would be, “I successfully managed a team of 20 customer service agents in developing a customer satisfaction survey, which led to an x% increase in customer retention within 6 months.”
These answers demonstrate solid organizational capabilities along with leadership skills—an ideal candidate for any senior management role overseeing multiple teams.
Exceeding Sales or Revenue Targets Through New Strategies
If you are being interviewed for a management position, you may be asked about your greatest professional achievement. An example answer could be how you exceeded sales or revenue targets through new strategies. This would show that you can come up with innovative ideas and have the drive to execute them.
You can explain how you identified the opportunity, what kinds of strategies or tactics you implemented, the resources available to you, and the impact the new strategy had on sales or revenue. Here are some potential answers to this question:
- Leading a Team to Increase Sales by x% – In my role as Sales Manager at ABC Company, I led my team to increase sales by x% in one year by implementing a new customer relationship management system.
- Increasing Revenue by x% Year-Over-Year – In my former role as Senior Product Manager, I increased revenue by x% year-over-year through the launch of numerous new products and services.
- Creating a New Strategy That Increased Sales by x% – As Digital Marketing Manager at XYZ Company, I created a new strategy that increased online sales by x% in just six months through targeted social media campaigns and targeted email marketing campaigns.
- Growing Revenue x% Through Innovative Strategies – As Chief Marketing Officer for LMNOP Corporation, I grew revenue x% in six months with innovative strategies such as video content marketing and influencer marketing campaigns.
Ideal for Sales, Business Development or Marketing Management Positions
Answering “what is your greatest professional achievement” for a management position in sales, business development, or marketing is an opportunity to showcase your ability to come up with innovative solutions and drive results.
Here are some sample answers that you can use when preparing for a job interview:
- Developed and led the implementation of a new customer engagement strategy that increased client retention by x%.
- Designed, developed, and deployed a digital campaign that achieved a x% increase in brand awareness.
- Created and drove successful initiatives to reduce customer complaints by x%.
- Spearheaded the quarterly sales process that resulted in x revenue increase over two years.
- Pioneered the development of successful outreach programs that increased lead generation by x%.
- Launched an online platform that enabled effective collaboration between clients and our staff, resulting in x% improvement in customer satisfaction ratings.
- Crafted a data-driven strategy to optimize operational efficiency and saved $x over six months.
- Spearheaded the launch of a new product line which resulted in x increase in sales within six months of launch.
- Secured new clients through building strategic partnerships with key influencers, leading to x% growth in market share within one year.
- Developed and implemented an extensive social media marketing campaign which generated x ROI within three months
Reducing Expenses or Improving Operational Efficiencies
When it comes to management positions, one great professional achievement that can always impress is one related to reducing expenses or improving operational efficiencies.
For instance, you could say something like: “In my last role, I identified cost savings of $X by streamlining processes and reducing waste. I took the initiative to initiate project X, which resulted in streamlining a process/procedure/system and reducing costs by [X number].”
This is a great answer for job openings that require problem-solving skills and financial acumen—such as a chief operations officer, chief financial officer, and other roles that involve budgeting or operations management.
If you have implemented any new strategies or solutions that have cut costs without compromising quality or service levels, now’s the time to mention them! Demonstrate your problem-solving skills and business savvy by mentioning how the research and implementation of new strategies led to the success of cost reduction initiatives.
For example: “I led a project that involved researching and implementing a new strategy that improved operational efficiency while cutting costs. The result was an increase in profit margins by [X number] without sacrificing quality”.
Great for Operations, Finance or General Management Roles
When you’re applying for a role that requires experience in operational, financial, or general management roles, you can use this question to showcase your understanding of the company’s financials. Here are some things you can take as your sample answers:
“I played a critical role in developing the overall budget and business plan for my team last year, which included forecasting our revenue growth and understanding our spending needs. This helped us become laser-focused on key initiatives while reducing costs where appropriate.”
“I created a more efficient process for tracking production and inventory data that saved the company time and money.”
“I successfully managed a large project that was part of a corporate-wide initiative, which delivered an impressive return on investment for our department.”
“In my role as operations manager, I created simplified processes to streamline operations and improve service times without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction.”
“My ability to utilize data to make sound decisions has resulted in consistently improved performance from my team over the past year.”
“Our success in closing a major deal was due in part to my analysis of potential risks associated with long-term contracts.”
“Thanks to my strong financial acumen, I identified areas of waste that were reducing profitability and recommended changes that saved the company significant money.”
“As Finance Manager, I successfully developed budgets and managed finances across departments while identifying ways to save money through cost reductions.”
“My focus on project planning led to the successful completion of projects within budget parameters.”
If you need a longer answer:
“Under my supervision, I was able to develop a more effective customer service system, which increased customer satisfaction and retention while reducing customer service costs. Additionally, I worked with colleagues to identify areas of potential cost savings and implemented cost-saving measures that resulted in a [X percentage] decrease in expenditures. These accomplishments helped our organization increase profitability and strengthen its position in the marketplace.”
Winning Industry Awards or Gaining Competitive Recognition
If you have won industry awards or gained competitive recognition, this makes a very strong point when answering the question, “What is my greatest professional achievement?”
When talking about awards and recognition, focus on outcomes you achieved that are aligned with the outcomes the hiring team would like to see. You can say something like:
“I’m most proud of the work I did at [Company], where I won an industry award for my leadership in [Specific Project]. This project was successful because we [Outcomes]”.
Awards and recognition are excellent ways of demonstrating your knowledge and skills. If you’ve received any awards or recognitions from competitive organizations, mention them, as this will really show a hiring manager that your skills are in high demand. For example:
“I was honored to be selected as one of [Organization’s] top [Award] recipients for my work on [Project]. My efforts resulted in increased customer satisfaction, improved customer service processes, and a 20% uptick in customer loyalty.”
These examples can be especially beneficial if you’re applying for higher-level leadership positions or roles that require a lot of initiative and creativity (such as product manager, innovation lead, or design lead). It shows that you have what it takes to drive results, no matter how difficult the challenge may be.
For Any Leadership Position as It Demonstrates Excellence
If you’re applying for any kind of leadership role, you absolutely need to be ready for the question “What is your greatest professional achievement?”. Even if you don’t think it’s the most impressive thing to talk about, it can still be a great way to impress the interviewer.
For example, if you recently led a team through a successful project within tight deadlines, you could focus on achievements like resource management and optimizing workflow. This could demonstrate excellent leadership skills in a way that’s applicable to many different management positions.
On the other hand, if you’re applying for a more technical role, such as an engineer or IT manager, then you could focus on an achievement like successfully developing new technologies or launching projects ahead of schedule and under budget. This would demonstrate your ability to think strategically and come up with creative solutions—two highly sought after traits that are perfect for that type of position.
No matter what job opening you’re applying for, talking about your greatest professional achievements not only gives the interviewer insight into what kind of leader or manager you are, but can also show them how much value you can bring to the company.
Promoting Diversity, Inclusion and Employee Engagement
One of your greatest professional achievements can be promoting diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement. We all know that having a diverse workplace is essential in any business and can create a dynamic, innovative, and successful team.
This answer is perfect for positions in management where they are looking for someone who will drive diversity and inclusion initiatives. You can show the recruiter that you understand the value of having different perspectives, backgrounds, and skills in a work environment. Here are some examples:
- Developing an employee resource group that provides mentorship opportunities to underrepresented workers
- Creating a work environment where employees feel heard, respected and valued
- Implementing company-wide diversity policies and programs designed to promote an inclusive workplace
- Implementing initiatives to increase awareness of unconscious bias among employees
- Developing recruitment strategies aimed at increasing diversity within the organization
- Developing awareness programs aimed at increasing cultural competency for all employees
Relevant for HR Management and Culture Leadership Roles
For HR management and culture leadership roles, your greatest professional achievement should demonstrate your leadership skills. After all, you’re trying to show potential employers that you can create and maintain a healthy workplace culture.
Think about a time when you successfully guided colleagues in the resolution of complex issues—perhaps those involving conflicts between employees and clients, or even managing difficult changes at work.
You could also demonstrate your ability to address social issues within a company by highlighting any initiatives you initiated or took part in that led to success.
Here are some sample answers that might work well for an HR management position:
- I developed and executed a new onboarding program that reduced employee training time by x%.
- I restructured our talent acquisition strategy resulting in a x% cost savings for recruitment expenses.
- I recently revved up our employee engagement initiatives which led to more than a x% retention rate for upcoming new hires.
- I launched a comprehensive recruitment program that increased diversity within the organization by x%.
- I successfully managed multiple cross-functional teams on large-scale projects which resulted in a x% increase in overall efficiency and productivity levels within the organization.
- I created an internal communications strategy that helped foster collaboration between departments, leading to greater innovation and better team productivity outcomes.
- I designed and implemented policies for employee feedback which resulted in an improved understanding of employee morale and helped resolve critical issues quickly before they escalated into larger ones.
- I used analytics to uncover areas of improvement within the organization while streamlining processes and procedures across multiple departments, leading to improved customer service ratings and client satisfaction levels across the board.
Developing High-Potential Employees Into Leaders
Do you have experience developing high-potential employees into future leaders? If so, this could be the perfect answer to your interview question. It shows that you can take ownership in helping others develop and grow in their roles. This would be especially beneficial for a management position where you’re expected to effectively lead and mentor others.
In order to craft an effective answer, focus on the impact that your employees’ development had on the team or organization as a whole. Here are some examples:
- Developed a new program for our sales team that dramatically increased customer retention rates
- Mentored two high-potential employees into leadership roles and opened up opportunities for others
- Created a continuous learning program for my department which resulted in enhanced job satisfaction, improved team performance, and more successful project outcomes
- Implemented ongoing training programs to ensure that everyone was up to date with industry trends, leading to increased client acquisitions
- Worked with senior management to put together an onboarding procedure which resulted in enhanced employee engagement levels and improved retention rates
- Developed a system of career coaching that helped top talent reach their highest potential
Evidence of Strong Coaching and Mentoring Ability for Senior Level Roles
If you’re applying for a senior-level role, such as a management or executive level opening, you might want to provide evidence of your coaching and mentoring abilities. For example, if you successfully managed a team of new hires, or developed an in-house training program for new employees, these are great examples to draw from.
You could think back to when you were in a management role. Maybe there was someone on the team who was struggling with their workflow or had difficulty grasping their tasks, and you stepped in to help them out. Tell the interviewer what kind of techniques you used to coach and mentor that person: Did you provide them with one-on-one instruction? Did you hold review sessions? Did you assign additional tasks to help develop their skills?
By providing evidence of your coaching and mentoring abilities, you’re not only showing the interviewer that they’re looking at an experienced leader—you’re also demonstrating your problem solving skills and how well you can connect with people on your team. These are essential qualities for any successful management position.
When it comes to answering the age-old interview question, “What is my greatest professional achievement?”, it’s important to be honest and thoughtful about your response. Your answer should speak to the values of the company, demonstrate that you are capable of being a leader, and showcase your experience in a positive light.
Remember that each job opening might call for a slightly different answer, so take the time to think about the best way to respond to this question in the context of the job opening. With the 10 sample answers presented, you can create an answer that shows off your strengths and skills and hopefully sets yourself apart from the competition. Good luck!