How Do You Define Success? (With 10 Sample Interview Answers)

Every person has his own definition of success, for some people, it means reaching the goal that they set for themselves, for some people, it is achieving small targets, for some people it is just to accomplish a task, for some it is fulfilling certain roles and responsibilities. In essence, everyone has a different picture of what success looks like. Success means achieving something worthwhile and it is connected with the actions of a person. It means that you accomplish something in your life that inspires other people to do what you do.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

“How do you define your success?” is a question that is asked by almost every employer in an interview. It is one of the most common interview questions and it can be hard to put your thoughts on success in words in an interview. In this article, we will discuss all that you need to know about answering this question.

How Do You Define Success

Why Does the Employer Ask this Question?

  1. To see how you measure and define success.
  2. Your answer to this question gives them an idea of how you set your priorities.
  3. To judge your values and traits through your answer.
  4. To see if your definition of success aligns with that of the organization or the company.
  5. They are trying to gauge you to know how you are when it comes to achieving objectives and goals.

How to Answer This Question

Each one of you will have a different approach to answer this question, but one common approach that you may follow to give an answer to this question is listed below.

Show what success looks like to you

As we discussed above that success is the person and everyone will have a different definition to it, but after you have defined your success to the employer, do not leave it there, Show and explain to the employer what factors had driven you to define your success that way. Quantify your answer to give an answer that can make an impact in front of the recruiter.

Demonstrate the success attributes

To give a smart answer, gauge what employers look for in an ideal candidate, and how they define their success. Try to give an answer that gives the employer an idea of your abilities and skills. Explain factors that you think contribute to your definition of success. This will help you win some extra points from the employer.

Research about the company objectives and use them as a reference

Your answer should portray that you did your research well enough to align your definition of success to that of the company. This approach will highly impress the hiring manager and help you secure your place for the job position.

To give your answer a practical touch, use examples of the time where you set a goal and got positive results. Share the relevant experiences and include your personality aspects to remind the hiring manager of what skills you can contribute to the company.

Sample Interview Answer

Sample Answer 1

“To me, success means to be able to achieve targets and exceed my manager’s expectations. I do not evaluate success as achieving personal objectives, I believe a person can be successful when the company he works for is successful. I look at it as a team effort in achieving what’s best for all of us. I thrive to work as a team because that doubles the productivity and helps in achieving the goals at a fast pace.”

Sample Answer 2

“I believe that success is an outcome when your hard work finally pays off. It is a continuous process as after achieving a target that I set for myself, there is something else in my mind that I will want to achieve after that. It’s a never-ending journey and the destination can be reached only when you have achieved self-satisfaction. To me, it’s about developing my skills, self-growth. This is why I want to work with your company to contribute my skills and grow professionally.”

Sample Answer 3

“Being a marketing manager, every time we develop a product that satisfies our customers is a moment of success for me. Customers are the kings of our business. And I know what is the importance of a happy customer in our field. Customer satisfaction is the only path to success for me and I am willing to contribute everything that I can to achieve the company’s goals.”

Sample Answer 4

“According to me, success simply means achieving whatever I want. It could be monthly sales targets or yearly sales turnover. Success could be both for the long term and for the short term. To achieve this success, time management skills are really important, without them, you can miss the target that you have set for yourself and the one that the company has set for you. I think my attributes to success are my time management and the organization skills that help me achieve my goals on time.”

Sample Answer 5

“My definition of success is to get certain desired results. For example, being a financial consultant in my previous job, my goal was to reach 50 clients for the session and we successfully reached out to 56 clients at the end of the year. It was a big achievement for me and for the company and achieving targets that are set for me is how I define my success. In essence, to me, the meaning of success is to meet the needs of my clients and the company. I think all of the skills that I will bring to this role will definitely help me achieve the company’s goals as well.”

Sample Answer 6

“Being a part of this industry, where we have to work on back-to-back projects, I tend to find my success in the numbers I achieve i.e., the metrics, I always try to measure my achievements by quantifying them. This gives me a practical picture of where I stand and which areas do I have to work on. Being a departmental head in my previous job, I was praised by the employees working under me for my team management skills and goal-oriented approach.

Sample Answer 7

“To me, success means achieving group goals. When you are a part of a team that helps each other to navigate any challenge that comes ahead in the path of success, success is achieved. In my last job, I was appointed as the team leader of a project, working as a team doubles productivity. By working as a team and creating skillful strategies, we were successful in completing the project before the deadline and by saving 15% of the given budget. Our manager was pretty impressed by our performance.”

Sample Answer 8

“My outlook on success is self-development. I try to measure my effectiveness after each target that I achieve. It is my way to measure my success by looking at my self-growth. I keep learning new business skills to increase my effectiveness. I know this company has a similar approach towards measuring the success of each of their employees by looking at overall development of them, this is why I am really looking forward to work with you and this company.”

Sample Answer 9

“One of the reasons why I have applied for the job in your company is because I can see my goals to be achieved here while I contribute to achieving the company goals. Success, throughout my professional life meant to accomplish something worthwhile, I thrive to be a better version of myself by putting all my efforts to achieve these goals. I am a leader and the role of a leader is to create a pathway to success and that is exactly what I want to do by being a part of this company.”

Sample Answer 10

“Touching the benchmarks set for me is what I call success. Being a designer, I am aware that there are so many people who look up to me and expect creativity from my side. Being a role model for my clients is what keeps me motivated to achieve the targets and create unique designs that make my customer happy. Meeting deadlines, achieving targets while maintaining a perfect work-life balance is how I define my success. I believe I am a perfect fit for this role as my values fit well with those of this company.”

Points to Keep in Mind 

  1. Remember, through answering this question, you are showing your potential to work as an employee for a particular job role in a company, so craft your answer well enough to impress the potential employer as one unconvincing answer can leave the employer in confusion to hire you or not, and how you answer this question can cost you a huge opportunity to work in that company.
  2. Be contextual and professional while you answer this question and you will be good to go.
  3. Research about Star as well as Tailoring Method to stand out from the other applicants.
  4. Avoid talking about any attribute of success that relates to your personal life and even the political views that may shape your success factors.
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