3 Best Answers To “How Do You Measure Success” In An Interview

When the interviewer asks you “How do you measure success” you might immediately jump to conclusions and say something along the lines of, “I’m here to make sure results are made.” But the question is a little more complicated than that.

We’re going to dig into what the interviewer is looking for when they ask you this question and how you might be able to strategize an accurate answer that will align with the expectations of the interviewer.

Let’s go ahead and get started.

What The Interviewer Wants To Know When They Ask “How Do You Measure Success”

Interviewers ask you this question not because they want to know that you measure success, but that you understand what measurement your particular job is aligned to. For example, let's say you were in a sales position, success is then sales or revenue. But if you were in a project management position, that would not be the same measurement for success. Instead, it would be the number of projects that are delivered on time.

The importance of this is that you are aware of what the job requires and what you should be striving for on a regular basis. Ensuring that you are clearly communicating to the interviewer that you understand what those factors are will make you appear knowledgable and skillful in your line of work.

Strategically Align Success Metrics And The Job Function

Like mentioned above, you need to spend time thinking about what core metric is driving your job function. It might not be revenue, it might be teamwork. Or if you are in a recruiting position, it could be the number of employees’s that you hire.

Align your job to some of the following core metrics:

  • Conversion rates
  • Employees hired
  • Projects completed
  • Sales created
  • Leads generated
  • Revenue sustained
  • Revenue gained
  • Employee retention rate
  • Employee happiness
  • Team morale

Those are some starting points when thinking about what your line of work is going to impact as it pertains to the company as a whole. You can absolutely use one of those to help you craft the perfect answer. Let’s go ahead and take a look at a few sample answers.

Best Answers To “How Do You Measure Success” By Department

Each department and job function will have a variation of the type of measurement for success we have. It’s important that you aren’t telling the interviewer how you personally measure success. For example, how many people like you. The measurement for success should always relate to the job function itself and nothing else.

Best answer for the marketing department

“I measure success by our average conversion rates, the amount of traffic coming to the site, the leads our work generates and our ability to collaborate as a team to continue to drive growth for our business.”

Best answer for the sales department

“I measure success by the number of emails I send each week, how that turns into phone calls or leads and then how those turn into sales that meet our quarterly and annual goals. For me, my success measurement is absolutely driven by the sales figure.”

Best answer for the creative department

“I measure success by the number of projects we have active and how well our team is able to execute on those. That means accurate work that is driving results for our marketing, sales and operations teams. Of course, the byproduct of our success is usually collaboration and communication, which is a secondary indicator of success in this role for me.”

What To Avoid In Your Answer

The best things you can avoid when trying to answer this question are factors that are focused on yourself. Meaning, an answer like, "I see success as my manager appreciating being able to work with me." That's great and all, but it isn't a true measurement of success for the job function. It's more of a measurement of success for how well you are fitting in with your colleagues. That's not exactly what we should be saying with this interview question.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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