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In a job interview, you can expect some common questions from the hiring manager, regardless of the position for which you're applying and the industry in which you work. One such question relates to how you define success. Often, hiring managers want to know what you see as personal, team, and organizational success to evaluate your suitability as a candidate for the company. Learn more about why employers ask this question, review steps for crafting an answer, consider example responses, and read about what not to say.
Asking about your definition of success is a popular tactic for employers and hiring managers because your answer to this open-ended question gives your potential employer important information about your priorities, personal work philosophy, and expectations.
Your answer could reflect what you think are the most important aspects of the position. For example, if you say success is seeing everyone on the team succeed, you’re telling the hiring manager that you value teamwork and communication.
You can also communicate your personal philosophy on your work to the hiring manager with your answer. For example, if you mention how important it is to complete every task by the set deadline, the hiring manager will see you hold yourself to high expectations when it comes to timeliness.
Finally, the hiring manager might be able to see what your expectations for the position are based on your response. If you say your definition of success in this role would be closing at least five new sales a month, the hiring manager gets a sense of what you expect the position to look like.
Follow these steps to help you prepare for and effectively answer any interview questions about how you define success.
Consider these example answers to help you construct your own response to any interview questions about how you define success on the job.
To me, success is meeting the needs of the company and the client. In my last position, I felt the most successful when I was able to help a client find the perfect solution to their problem. My supervisors regularly praised my ability to clearly communicate and empathize with both my coworkers and my customers. I think those skills will translate well to this role and this company’s vision of success.
I think you can only achieve personal success when the entire team achieves success. As a member of the accounting department, my numbers and calculations mean very little if I’m not actively communicating with and double checking my work with my colleagues. I know this company values work ethic and community spirit, so I think we’ll be able to find success together.
As a manager, I find success in outstanding metrics. I feel successful when my team meets their goals, and I can quantify those achievements. In the past, I regularly praised my employees for hitting personal and team goals, which helped keep morale up and led my group to reach some impressive numbers.
The definition of success interview question is an open-ended question, and one without a specific right or wrong answer. Despite this, it’s still best to avoid some ideas when answering this question. Use these tips to help you bypass potentially negative answers in your interview. Avoid: