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Interview Question: How Do You Define Success?

how do you define success

In a job interview, you might be asked a question such as, ‘What is success to you?‘ or ‘How do you define success?‘ Such a question enables the interviewer to understand your principles when it comes to work, your ambitions, and nature as a person. It, therefore, presents a perfect chance for you to show, using your answers and gestures, the traits that most hiring managers are searching for- drive, dedication, enthusiasm, and a common goal.


Keep your focus on the position of the job and the hiring firm

While responding to this question, you should be aware of the job position you are vying for. A big company might give more significance to the bottom line, but a non-profit one would deem social impact as a success. A technological firm might insist on improving and developing products, whereas an online communication firm focuses more on SEO findings and page views.

Conduct intensive research on the firm before the interview: look at the firm’s site, search for any news about the company and try to learn more about the company’s mission and vision. Concentrate more on web pages with headlines such as “About us” and “Our mission.” This is the simplest and fastest method of finding out what they consider success to be. Your aim should be to give a similar meaning to success in your own words.

It is also advisable to include some of your personal opinions in your response. It is important to give an inclusive response. Highlight your determination on improving your job performance, implementing the firm’s mission, and being a good asset to the company. In the end, you will be able to demonstrate to the employer that you value their mission and vision and will be a great help in achieving it.

How to relay your successes to the hiring team

A good way of responding to this question is by carefully handpicking some of your successes and show how you achieved them. Highlight some of the factors that led you to achieve your goals. Tell of how you have been applying those success factors to improve on your expertise and acquire the best outcome.

You can talk of a time when you manage a team that was able to meet the client’s needs by completing a business project in time. Also, include what the team members did to make sure that the work was done efficiently in spite of the pressure to meet the tight deadline.

Mention learning moments

You can also mention what you learned from the experience, how you incorporated the same style of work into future projects that came out successful. For instance, you can respond by saying;

“It makes me happy when I continuously realize an improvement in my job performance. I value both my achievements and failures. I try to grow and learn from both and use what I have learned to handle situations that may arise in the future.

For instance, in the previous year, my teammates got an opportunity to work with the Hilton hotel. We were all happy and decided to throw a party. I came up with an idea of appreciating their hard work by rewarding them with gifts. We took into consideration the important role every individual had played in achieving such great success and congratulated them for their efforts.

A meeting was scheduled the next week to evaluate and come up with a couple of things that led to our great achievement. New goals were set by us, and four months later, we acquired another important customer while applying similar techniques.”

What to avoid mentioning

Do not make your answers solely focused on you. More so if you are being interviewed for a job that requires teamwork or a leadership position. It is important for you to recognize the efforts of those who played a role in your success. Passing across this information will show the hiring manager that you will blend in and work effectively with your fellow employees.

Here are some example answers:

  • According to me, success is about performing well at my work. I want to be portrayed as an individual that is hardworking, committed, and determined to achieve my targets.
  • In my opinion, success involves results. It is not always what you do, that defines success. Rather, it is the outcomes in the end.
  • I can define success as when I am doing my job efficiently and contented with my performance. Realizing that my efforts are not only benefiting to the company but also my personal life and the lives of others.
  • To me, success is about positively impacting other people’s lives. If I know that my work aids somebody to put food on the table, get employment, or improve their lives, then I take pride in being able to do that. I rest easy and arise the following day with a lot of determination to go to work.

More examples:

  • My ultimate goal is to make a change in society. To know that through the work, my team and I do, society can be receptive to our ideas and make the necessary social and political changes.
  • I can claim to be successful when I have done my part in completing a tough project efficiently and ahead of schedule.
  • To me, success comes in different forms. While at the job, it is all about achieving targets set by my managers and colleagues. From my knowledge, the Airtel company is known for recognizing their employees’ efforts and presenting them with a chance to improve their skills as well. In addition to that, I love playing football, so success in the field is scoring a goal.
  • As someone who gets motivated by new hurdles, I always strive to learn something new. Leaving my workplace at the end of the day, having acquired some new knowledge is what I consider success.

Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic


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