One of the most common interview questions is, “How do you define success?” While this question may seem like a way for the interviewer to get to know you personally, they are also trying to gauge if your definition of success aligns with the company’s goals. The best way to answer this question is to give a brief overview of your professional goals and how you plan to achieve them.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s definition of success is different. For some people, success might mean achieving financial stability or becoming a well-known figure in their field. Others might define success as simply leading a happy and fulfilling life.
The key is being honest about what success means to you. Once you clearly understand your definition of success, you’ll be better equipped to answer this question in an interview.
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How to answer the “how do you define success?” interview question
Your answer to this question should be tailored to the company and role you are interviewing for. In general, you want to focus on what you would consider a successful outcome in this particular role. For example, if you are interviewing for a sales position, you might say that success to you is hitting your quarterly sales targets. When interviewing for a project manager role, you might say that success is delivering a project on time and under budget.
Whatever your answer is, be sure to back it up with concrete examples. The interviewer wants to see that you have a track record of success in your previous roles.
Avoid generalities like “I want to be happy” or “I want to help people.” These answers may be true, but they don’t tell the interviewer what kind of employee you will be. Instead, focus on what you can accomplish in your interviewing role. For example, “I want to be a top performer in this role and contribute to the company’s success.”
Align your definition with the company’s values:
Your definition of success should be in line with the company’s values. For example, if you are interviewing for a job at a non-profit that helps the homeless, your definition of success might be “helping as many people as possible.” If you are interviewing for a startup about making money, your definition of success might be “being the top salesperson.”
Use concrete examples:
The best way to show that you can achieve success is by sharing specific examples of times when you have done so. For example, “In my previous role as a salesperson, I exceeded my quarterly sales targets by 10%. As a result, I was promoted to Sales Manager.”
Keep your answer short and sweet:
Your answer should be a maximum of a couple of minutes long. The interviewer is looking for a brief, clear definition of success.
What are some common interview questions about success?
Some common interview questions about success include:
- What are your career aspirations?
- What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
- How have you helped contribute to the success of your team or company?
- What obstacles or challenges have you faced in achieving success?
- How do you handle failure or disappointment?
Checkout -> Common Interview Questions and Answers
5 Examples of answers to the “how do you define success?” interview question:
- “As a developer, I define success as creating clean, efficient, and scalable code. I also consider success to be meeting deadlines and working well with other developers on a team.”
- “I see success as a journey rather than a destination. It’s important to me to continuously learn and grow in my career. I’ve expanded my skills by taking on new assignments in my current role. For example, I led the team that developed our latest product line. This was a great opportunity to stretch myself and
- “I define success by meeting and exceeding the expectations of my role. If I can do my job well and contribute to the company’s success, I consider that a success. I always strive to be the best at what I do and to add value to the company. In my previous role, I increased sales by 20% in six months. I also developed strong relationships with my customers and built a loyal customer base.”
- “I believe success measures how well I can complete my assigned tasks. If I can do my job to the best of my abilities and help contribute to the company’s bottom line, I consider that a success. In my previous role, I increased sales by 20% in six months. I also developed strong relationships with my customers and built a loyal customer base.”
- “To me, success is meeting or exceeding my expectations. In my previous role as a salesperson, I was successful when I hit my quarterly sales targets. As a result, I was promoted to Sales Manager.”
- “I define success as delivering a project on time and under budget. I pride myself on being a detail-oriented project manager who can get the job done.”
- “I succeed when I can help as many people as possible. That means working at a non-profit and making a difference in my community.”
- “I believe that success comes from always striving to be the best. Whether that means being the top salesperson or providing the best customer service, I am always working to improve.”
- “Success is continuously developing my skills and knowledge to contribute to the company in the most impactful way possible. I always set goals for myself and strive to exceed them, whether finishing a project ahead of schedule or taking on additional assignments. I’m also always willing to lend a helping hand to other team members when needed.”
Defining success is a complex and personal task, but there are some key tips you can follow to answer this question in an interview. Be honest with yourself about what success means to you. Don’t be afraid to share your definition of success with the interviewer – they’re likely asking this question to get to know you better. Be prepared to elaborate on how you plan to succeed in your company role. By following these tips, you’ll be able to give a thoughtful and engaging answer to the “how do you define success?” interview question.