How to answer the question 'What are you most proud of?'

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During a job interview, hiring managers ask specific questions to understand more about your personality and experiences. Your answers can help a hiring manager understand your motivations and ambitions to assess whether you can succeed in a role and a common question is asking what you're most proud of. It's important to give an answer that provides valuable insight into your core values and beliefs in the workplace. In this article, we discuss why an interviewer may ask, 'What are you most proud of?' with examples to help you develop your own.

Why employers ask 'What are you most proud of?'

The interview process is a vital part of the application process that allows potential employers to gather more information about candidates, helping them to make a more informed decision about which candidates are ideal for a role. An interview commonly includes job-specific questions, such as discussing your technical skills and role-specific circumstances, and more open-ended personality questions that allow an interviewer to gauge who you are as a potential employee. Asking about what you're most proud of can help them gain insight into your priorities and the value you can bring to the workplace.

As a question that relies on personal experience and your history, it's vital to respond to this question with an instance or situation that displays your personality and working style. It's often effective to correlate your past success with how you may contribute to a new workplace. For example, when applying for leadership roles, you can mention how you're proud of successfully leading a project to completion according to all the needs of a client. This can show a hiring manager your ambition and interest in leadership.

Related: Interview question: 'do you have any questions?'

How to answer 'What are you most proud of?'

Questions that relate to your history, both in a personal and workplace environment, provide critical information to an interviewer about how you've succeeded in different environments and achieved specific goals. An interviewer may look for insight into your commitment, work ethic or excellence within a particular subject area. Here are some helpful steps to follow when responding to this question:

1. Reflect on your past achievements

Thinking about your past achievements in your career or personal life helps you to decide which accomplishments are most suitable for the interview process. Start by listing out your achievements to decide which option is most appropriate. Picking a professional accomplishment is usually more beneficial as it's more relevant, but a personal anecdote may be an option f you have minimal experience. For example, if you're applying for an event planner role and you've volunteered to plan charity events before, this can be more applicable if you have no work experience in event planning.

Related: Interview question: 'what are your career aspirations?'

2. Decide on success that relates to your job

When deciding which accomplishment to talk about, it's helpful to consider the job you're applying for. Examining the job description and information about a company provides insight into what achievement aligns with the core mission and requirements for a job. For example, if a job description requires excellent communication skills with a large team, picking an accomplishment that demonstrates your capabilities in organising and working with multiple people can align your answer with the job's requirements.

3. Explain how you achieved your goal

Explaining how you achieved a particular goal in detail provides essential insight for hiring managers into the skills and processes that went into a specific achievement. By talking through the steps you took to accomplish something, you're able to provide context for what went into achieving that goal, showcasing your professional abilities that are transferable to a new workplace. Explaining your achievement as a story also allows interviewers to see how you've grown and improved over your career.

Related: Interview question: 'what is your greatest achievement?'

4. Discuss what you've learned

A critical element that employers often look for in an answer to this question is how you've learned from your achievements and how you're going to progress in the future. Explaining what you've gained from achieving your goals and the skills you're improving can show your commitment to personal and professional development. For example, if you're proud of learning how to handle public speaking, you can also explain how this has improved your confidence.

5. Provide an honest and sincere response

When discussing past achievements, it's easy to exaggerate the outcome of your work to impress an interviewer. Ensuring you're honest and sincere in your response is key to successfully answering this question, particularly if an employer may ask for further details or proof of accomplishments. Honesty is an effective way to build credibility and prove your trustworthiness.

Related: Interview question: 'what are your hobbies?'

6. Prepare additional anecdotes for different scenarios

Some interviewers look for a specific answer when asking about what you're most proud of, making it important to have several options ready to discuss. For example, a hiring manager may ask you to describe an achievement within your sales career that's made you proud or encourage you to talk about something in your personal life you're proud of. Preparing yourself for more specific questions ensures you have a relevant achievement ready for different circumstances.

Example answers to explain what you're most proud of

Here are some sample answers for different roles you can reference to help you develop your own answer:

Example 1: Physiotherapist

'In my career, one patient stands out to me as the achievement I'm most proud of. In my previous role, I spent more than a year working with a patient that had been the victim of a serious car accident leading to spinal and leg injuries. Over the course of a year, we worked together to improve their strength, balance and confidence, using a wide range of different techniques. I spent the time studying different techniques and researching processes from all over the world to implement into our sessions and achieve results.
The day they were able to walk unaided was one of the proudest moments of my job. That experience taught me that going beyond the basics and pushing the limits can really make a difference to your patients.'

Related: Interview question: 'what is your greatest strength?'

Example 2: SEN teacher

'Working with students with additional needs and special educational requirements is a standard part of my job, but one achievement stands out to me when I think of my experiences. One particulate student I had in my class five years ago struggled in a traditional school environment with impulsivity and difficulty in learning. On joining my class, this student didn't communicate or contribute to lessons, finding it difficult to sit still for long enough to absorb any information.
Through my training and experience as an SEN teacher, I got to know how this student learned best. Using that knowledge, my assistants and I tailored a learning plan that suited the student's needs, providing the right measure of education and play to help the student contribute. By the end of the school year, the student was asking questions, joining in on lessons and catching up to the rest of the class.'

Related: Interview question: 'what is your teaching philosophy?'

Example 3: Teacher

'When I think about what I'm most proud of professionally, the first thing that comes to mind is an instance when my workplace brought in new software for daily operations. I took my time to learn and understand the software using online tutorials and soon became the go-to person in the workplace on how to use the software. I was proud that I could support others in the workplace and the achievement of mastering that software helped to earn me a promotion from a temporary position to a permanent role.'

Related: Answering 'What's your biggest failure?' interview question

Example 4: Project manager

'I'm most proud of how I managed a significant project in my last role. It was my first role as a project manager, so I expected to face many challenges in managing my team, the client and project timelines. Despite setbacks, such as supplier delays and changes in project scope, I maintained great communication with my team and the client and we completed the project to the satisfaction of the client.

I took the time to listen to problems, resolve issues and ensure my team always had my support. Even in high-pressure working conditions, I motivated my team to do their best work, which we all received praise for from upper management and I'm proud of the part I played in achieving that goal.'

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