Career Advice

6 Dos & Don'ts to Answer “What Are You Most Proud Of?”

min read
Vera Chan

Whether you are a fresh graduate or looking to move onto your next role, this is an important question. Here is what you need to know when it comes to the job search and preparing for an interview.


The Meaning Behind the Question


What's in a name? The hiring manager of a role is to understand who you are as an interviewee and as a person. You can think about what the interviewer is thinking of. They may be checking for a perfect candidate or to see if you are the right cultural fit. In any case, one of the ways in which they do this is to ask a strategic question during the job interview. Both corporate companies and startups do this.


"What Are You Most Proud Of?" is an easy way to test your communication skills and motivations, not to mention ego. In their mind, they are ticking off boxes. But rather than seeing this as a ploy, take this job interview question as an opportunity. Here are 4 reasons why...


1. Show Who You Are

You are now in the driver's seat. Embrace it. This is your chance to shine and show what kind of person and worker that you are. You can show that you are an ambitious person, a go-getter, a do-er. Show that you have more to bring to the table and that there is more than meets the eye.


2. Show Your Skills

Bring up an example that you can talk the interviewer through. In the process, highlight a certain skill set, such as problem-solving skills. This will show them how you are in action and what you are capable of.


3. Show What You Have Done

This is an opportune time to bring up achievements that may or may not be on your resume. It can show what you are like to work with as an employee or colleague. Or it can show what you are like as a person as a whole or outside of work. Either way, your example should aim to impress.


4. Show What You Have Learnt

Growth is important to any employer. This can be the business itself, but this can also be about the people. An employee that grows together with the company and as a person is a keeper. It shows that they have the motivation to continue and are an asset.



6 Dos to Answer "What Are You Most Proud Of?"


There are no clear right or wrong answers, but there are better and worse ways to answer a question. When it comes to "What Are You Most Proud Of?" we have a few top tips. The most important is to bear in mind, to be honest, humble, and targeted.


1. Be Relevant

Choose a timely example. You can start by breaking down the job description. Find relevance with your past work and experience. Then bring it up. This will help the potential employer relate more to you as a future employee rather than as a candidate.


2. Be Realistic

Talk about a real-life example and one that will be useful for the employer to know about. An interviewer does not need to know about how you can do gymnastics on a horse or how you can row a boat with your feet. The example should apply to the hiring manager, direct report, or the company itself. This reiterates the first point.


3. Show Impact

Why are you proud of example 'X'? You can mention the contribution you made. This can be in the form of hard work over a long period of time or long hours. This shows perseverance. You can show how you overcame challenges. This shows drive and determination. 


4. Show Innovation

You can choose to talk about a proud moment that looks ahead. It is can be useful for an employer to hear that the potential employee is inventive or creative. Talk about out-of-the-box or future-forward.


5. Show Growth

Once the proud moment has happened, what did you do next? How did you learn from it? Show that it is a catalyst to move you onto the next big thing or next challenge.


6. Show Continuation

A hiring manager likes to see follow-through. You can explain how your success or accomplishment has helped you on your next journey. Or talk about how it has inspired you to learn new skills or about new tools to help you excel further.



3 Don'ts to Answer "What Are You Most Proud Of?"


There are some stories you should avoid mentioning in a job interview. To help you avoid making mistakes, below shares three things not to do.


1. Stay Positive

Do not talk about past employers in a negative way. This will show how you have grown and that you can be civil. You do not want the current interviewer to think that you might do the same if anything happens.


2. Avoid Talking About Luck

Coincidences and happenstance can happen. What is better received is showcasing efforts, such as professionalism and hard work. A hiring manager would want to know that you can put your back into a challenge or can hit the ground running.


3. Do Not Talk a Big Game

Stay neutral. Do not over exaggerate or under-deliver your proudest moment. Less is more when it comes to talking about yourself. Tell them what they need to know, but they do not need to know every single detail. Choose the main points and draws, and go from there. Keep it simple.


The Takeaway

Stick to mentioning one or two proud moments. What was the success factor? Talk about the learning experience and the challenges you overcame. The story will speak for itself if you cover your contribution and accomplishments. Mention this moment acting as a catalyst to push you forward. Last but not least, remember to be realistic, relevant, and impactful.

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