More Interview Questions and Answers
What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Alternative and related questions:
How do you define success?
What exactly does the word 'failure' mean to you?
The meaning behind the question:
This is an interesting question clearly designed to identify how, in the workplace, you define success but also to give the interviewer some greater insight into your psychology and the way you think and feel about success – and what your 'value system' is.
Everyone knows what success means – and the Oxford English dictionary defines it formally as 'the accomplishment of an aim or purpose' or 'the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.' This question, however, is asking what the word means to you in particular. So what does it mean to you? Everyone defines success slightly differently. For some it may be a job well done. For others, it may be reward and recognition for their efforts. What is it for you?
There are no right or wrong answers to this question but do be sure to keep your definition restricted to the workplace, unless of course your interviewer has specifically asked you for a broader definition, not just related to the workplace.
For me, success has a number of different elements. On the one hand, it's clearly having achieved a specific goal or goals – the satisfaction of a job well done, having achieved one's purpose. On the other hand, it's also the recognition of that achievement by others. Ultimately, success is a significant motivator for me – the desire to achieve success in all that I undertake and to contribute to the best of my ability.
Word of warning:
Be prepared for the interviewer to follow up this question by asking you for an example of when you've personally achieved success.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organization?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organization for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organization for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes