Job Interview: How to Talk About a Time You Went Above and Beyond

Do you feel like the standard interview questions are redundant? Is there a way to answer the cliché “tell me about a time you’ve gone above and beyond at a job” interview question without sounding arrogant? How can your answer stand out from the many other candidates that are interviewing for the same position? There are various ways that you can prepare your answer beforehand to impress your interviewer and provide an insightful answer this commonly asked question. Check out the tips below and apply them the next time you are asked to discuss a time you went above and beyond,

First Things First

Let’s take a step back and think of why the interviewer may be asking this question. It’s not necessarily to kill time, they want to see if you’re the type of employee that will do exactly what is requested of you and leave it at that or if you are willing to go above and beyond and do more than required. If the company is in a predicament, are you the type to say, “I’m willing to assist” or will your response be “That isn’t my job”? An employee that is willing to go beyond the call of duty or beyond what their written job requirements are will benefit the company and that is the type of employee an employer wants to hire. Is that you?

This question is also a way to gauge how you solve problems and adapt to difficult situations. Are you able to creatively and effective devise a solution or do you crumble when facing a challenge? How well can you handle the pressure of doing something that may be out of your normal scope? You don’t want to take this opportunity to fabricate a false story, embellish your abilities, brag, or talk down on previous co-workers, bosses, or company policies. It is best to demonstrate your teamwork skills with authenticity.

What if You Can’t Think of Anything?

Are you at a loss for relevant examples? There are many ways you can demonstrate a previous instance where you went above and beyond, it doesn’t have to be an extreme situation where you saved a life. It can be as simple as being flexible in your schedule to meet a project deadline or covering for a co-worker who was out to ensure that the workflow wasn’t interrupted. Can you think of a time you took ownership of a failed project or mistake when it could’ve been considered a team failure? These are all great examples of going above and beyond.

What Your Answer Reveals

The way you answer this question will showcase your commitment to duty and your personal values. It shows whether you are consistent in seeking ways to improve and how you handle new challenges. It is best to find an example of a time a former or current boss asked you to complete a task with a clear goal, talk about the requirement of the task and discuss why you chose to go above and beyond. This will give insight to your personality and how you approach opportunities to exceed. After that, discuss the implications of your actions and what your efforts resulted in. Did you receive positive feedback? Did you secure a client? Conveying how you provided a benefit to your company by exceeding expectations will give your interviewer insight as to how effective your actions were and how effective you may be on their team.

Tie Your Example to the Current Position

Another way to nail this interview question is to relate it to the requirements of the position you’re currently interviewing for. If this position requires you to have the ability to multitask you can discuss a situation where you went above and beyond by juggling additional duties. You can mention how these additional duties resulted in an achievement for your team that may not have happened if you didn’t step up to the challenge.  This will show the hiring manager that you are not only willing to do more than required but that your actions yield positive results. They will also be impressed that you took the time and effort to study the job requirements and demonstrate how your previous experiences will be an asset to their team.

Talking about a time you’ve gone above and beyond shouldn’t result in silence or a brag fest if you take the time to properly prepare an answer. A focused answer detailing the situation, your action, your why and the result will provide the interviewer with the insight they need to make a hiring decision. Bonus points if you can tie your example to the position you’re applying for! Try this method the next time you have an interview and see how the hiring team responds.

This article was written by Launa.
Launa is a writer/actress currently living in the DC area. She loves performing, traveling, trying new restaurants and mommy-daughter time with her baby girl. If you need talent or content for your project you can reach Launa at contactlauna@gmail.com.

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