How do you define success? Tough HR Interview Question

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The meaning of success depends from person to person as no two persons are same. During a job interview, your interviewer might ask you a question like, "How do you define/evaluate success?" Remember that by asking you this question, your interviewer is trying to understand your sense of professionalism, your goals, and your overall personality. 

Take this as an opportunity for you to demonstrate, through your confident answers and perfect body language, the qualities that the hiring manager is looking for – determination, enthusiasm, team spirit, and a shared collaborative vision during HR Interview.

Moreover, you must remember that by asking this work ethic question, the interviewer is looking beyond the dictionary meaning of success and is actually looking for how you plan to achieve success – it may be your ability to overcome all hurdles to achieve it or how you can turn failure into success. 
The best approach to answer this question is to use specific examples of how you have achieved success earlier. You can also mention a situation or task that you took to achieve that success amidst all challenges. Here are some examples to help you prepare an answer for yourself.
Example 1

Success is an answer to the hard work and perseverance that I give to perform a task at hand. It is to remind myself once again that I too have the power within. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Example 2

For me, success is about working hard, doing my job well, driving home satisfaction. I want to be recognized as someone who always gives her best and tries hard to achieve her goals.

Example 3

I evaluate success in myriad ways. At work, it is meeting the goals set by my manager and trying to exceed the customer expectation. When I am not working, I enjoy playing with my niece, so at that time I derive success from the simple pleasures of life.

Example 4

Success, for me, is always about making a difference in other people’s lives. If at the end of the day, my work helps derive customer satisfaction coupled with my learning experience, then I sleep well at night and wake up afresh with a new vigour to take on life’s challenges. In the service industry, this is utmost important.

Example 5

The fact that I have contributed in a significant way to meet the challenges in a dream project by adhering to strict deadlines and quality standards is perfect success to me. I wish to remain hungry for such success always.

Example 6

I would define success at work by what I have learned from the job assignments so far. I believe in prioritising and taking corrective actions as and when necessary from my team. I always want to try new things and seek feedback only to improve myself.

Example 7

My definition of success is independent of the job requirements. I know I have succeeded when I have accomplished my goal, even if that means doing more than is asked. I am always open to any reviews or comments that will help me to improve and yes, I am always open to learning. I believe that a constant thirst for knowledge along with some passion for development is the formula for success.

Example 8

Success is very simple to me – I set up a goal, plan the steps required to achieve it, and then I implement that plan effectively. I attain success once I achieve my goals.

Example 9

To me, success means achieving a challenging goal assigned to me by my manager. It also means sharing those experiences with team members in order to inspire them as well. In my previous position, I had to meet specific sales targets every quarter. I managed to exceed my quarterly targets by 8 percent on an average with constant dedication and hard work. That, for me, was success. I was happy to mentor a junior team mate when he needed that little boost to excel. That is also success to me because the team spirit counts at the end of the day!

Example 10

Applying my expertise and experience to the strategic marketing goals that you have set for this company and building on the already existing success.

Example 11

Success to me means completing a given task on time and feeling happy about it, thinking I could not have done it better! This is not enough though - the results should be great and the people involved should have a memorable experience. For example, in a group project, if only two people out of four performed well, I will not call that success. On the contrary, if there is active participation in the team, where everyone took equal ownership, worked hard to meet the deadline, then that is success.

Things to remember while attempting to answer the question

Remember not to commit these mistakes while you are trying to answer the question, “What does success mean to you? Or, How do you define success?” You can consider the following:

  • Do not beat about the bush. The hiring manager want to know about your qualities, tenacity etc. Just stick to what success means to you and what do you to achieve it.
  • The idea is to remain calm, focused and to keep your answer short and crisp. Do not carry on with your answer.
  • Do not try to over smart by saying that you perfectly measure up to your definition of success. This would be an insane answer.
  • Be honest. That always helps.
  • Do not focus on money and power. Think objectively and avoid focusing too much on salary figures and job position.
  • You should be yourself while answering this question. Do not be dramatic.