During an interview, you will be asked several behavioural questions and a popular one often asked is “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond to get a job done”.
When you are asked this question, you should be excited as it provides you with an ultimate opportunity to sell yourself.
Through a well-constructed answer that showcases your work ethic and other important traits, you would be able to create a lasting impression on the hiring managers.
In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why employers ask this question, how to answer it, and provide sample answers to guide you in crafting yours.
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Why Interviewers Ask “Tell Me About A Time You Went Far And Beyond”
Typically interview questions are asked to evaluate your behavior and competencies. While you may have prepared yourself to answer questions regarding your work experience, a question like “tell me about a time you went above and beyond” may throw you off balance for a while.
You might wonder “what’s the need to ask this type of question?’. Here are some reasons why.
The first reason this question is asked is to help them( your potential employers) evaluate your attitude towards work and your work ethic. Going the extra mile to carry out your duties, shows your willingness and commitment to get the job done and exceed set expectations.
Your primary reason for working may be for the paycheck, which is very relatable but employers are looking to employ individuals who are willing, self-invested, and committed to their jobs.
Circumstances may arise where you may be assigned duties outside your job description. In such cases, no employer would want to be stuck with people who are grumpy, sour-faced, and unwilling to work outside their roles.
So during interviews, they want to find out where you stand. Are you going to tell them “ sorry, it’s outside my job description” or you would be willing to do more than your basic assignment?
The second reason interviewers ask “tell me about a time you went above and beyond” is to narrow in on your drive (motivation). There is always room to do more beyond the dictates of your job description but some people settle for mediocrity and are unwilling to push themselves further. The question seeks to know if you fall under the category of mediocrity or excellence.
And as you must have imagined, employers prefer to work with individuals who push themselves to do more.
Finally, it’s an opportunity for interviewers to assess your skills, competencies, and personality traits. They want to see your ability to think outside the box and come up with an effective solution. The question helps them to see how you would cope under difficult situations and your problem-solving ability.
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How to Answer “ Tell Me About A Time You Went Above And Beyond”
“Tell me about a time you went above and beyond” is a technical question and interviews are looking to find something specific in your answer. The best approach to answer this question is to build your answer around their expectations. The following steps can help you achieve that:
1. Select The Professional Attributes You Want to Showcase
The step is to think of what skills or work ethic you want to showcase then focus on them and try to frame your answer around them.
Remember to refer back to the job. For instance, if you are applying for a managerial position, you can answer in a way that highlights your leadership or communication abilities and if the role is an artistic one, let your answer demonstrate your ability to think outside of the box and do more.
For whatever role to are applying for, make sure the skills or competencies you mention will be beneficial to the post or role. Another way to increase your chances is to give specifics like the time it happened and other essential details that could impress your interviewers.
2. Pick A Situation That Applies
After you’ve decided how to present yourself, the next step is to choose a story that will properly and effectively illustrate your skills and capabilities, preferably a work-related story.
The perfect story highlight the relevant skills and directly supports your work ethic. Try to keep your mind focused on those instances you went above and beyond your line of duty to accomplish a task.
But note that your answer does not need to be overly long but that doesn’t mean it should lack substance.
While you try to keep your answers as concise as possible, avoid giving one-word answers or super short sentences.
3. Use The STAR Method
STAR is short for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It is a popular interview technique that will help you frame an answer that will guide the interviewer, provide details and eradicate confusion.
S – Situation is about providing a few details of relevance that tells the interviewer why you were in that situation and why it matters.
T -Task The next thing to do is to explain the task at hand and the challenge you needed to overcome. Here is where you mention your original job description.
A -Action. Here you explain the action you chose to take and why. It is the main point of your whole story so endeavor to clearly state how you went above and beyond in carrying out the task or challenge.
R – Result. Finally, you describe the result of your action and how you exceeded expectations. If the action you took helped save a customer, patient, or client or saved the company from a tricky situation, this is the time put it all out.
The STAR method is a great way to craft an impressive response and it helps to get your points across successfully.
The final step is to practice over and over again as you prepare for your interview. This particular question “tell me about a time you went above and beyond” is not one you can answer just easily.
You will need time to think about a response to avoid blabbering or rambling on and on.
So with practice, you would be able to have the perfect answer at the back of your head and give it out whenever it is asked.
However, try to avoid writing a full-on script. Over-rehearsed answers can come off as untrue. It will be helpful to jot out just the key points you are trying to pass across and frame them in your way.
You will sound more authentic and genuine if your answers are organic. You can have your answer planned and laid out.
The following examples will give you inspiration on how to describe a time you went above and beyond.
In this instance, a job-seeker without any formal leadership is trying to land a leadership role at a marketing company. This would be a big career move and your answer to this question should highlight the needed skills required to excel at the role.
“When I was an assistant copywriter on a small team of 5 for a marketing firm, we were asked to create a marketing pamphlet for a ski resort.
Our team lead would coordinate our work and act as a liaison for the client.
After working on pamphlet models, our lead scheduled a meeting with the client to present our drafts. I was assigned to attend the meeting alongside our leader to take notes about potential copy changes.
On the day of the meeting, we received a call from our project lead informing us that he got into a minor accident and would not be in the office in time to take the meeting. Our group had a brief meeting with our managerial team about possible solutions.
We toyed with the idea of canceling the meeting but because the copy was a big part of the project, and I worked closely with our project lead as we created these mockups, I offered to take the meeting on behalf of our lead.
With support from my team, I gathered the necessary documents and prepared for the meeting with our clients.
The meeting went well and they were impressed with our work. I also took note of all revision requests, handed them off to the relevant team members, and gave our lead with documentation covering the meeting.
At the end of the day, we were able to move forward with the project, and continue working with that client for several years because the meeting wasn’t canceled.”
“ I once worked as a receptionist at a really busy hotel. My duties were to man the front desk, check guests in with their reservation details and address any concerns that arose during evening hours.
One evening, a customer approached the desk late and he explained that he had forgotten his phone charger at home and was somewhat panicking about the prospect of his device losing power during the night. It was pretty late and stores that sold chargers were all closed.
I then noticed he had the same phone that I did, so I lent him my charger for the night and because I had another at home, I left it with him even after I clocked out.
When I went to work the following day, the customer left the charger at the desk and gave great reviews online about my actions. He stayed with us several times throughout the following years, preferring our hotel any time he went through our city.”
“Several years ago, I used to work at a travel agency. My job description was to simply book accommodations and tickets and make dinner reservations. However, one client wanted to learn more about potential dining options. He was a vegetarian and couldn’t eat at most places.
Although I didn’t have the information he needed, I spent almost three hours researching vegan restaurants at his destination. I made sure to call every establishment to ensure that they had vegan options.
After that research, I sent him a mail with the list of restaurants he could visit. The customer was very excited and recommended us to his friends and colleagues. Because of that situation, we received many new customers, and I was proud to have been a part of it.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Good Example Of Going Above And Beyond?
A typical example of going above and beyond is working overtime and/or weekends with or without being asked. Doing something outside your job description and taking responsibility for someone else’s error and resolving it in a positive way for everyone involved is other good examples.
How Do You Say You Go Above And Beyond In Your Job?
‘I often go above and beyond my job description to get the job done well and on time. The last project I worked on, for instance, was a complex project done in a team of 10 and I could tell some colleagues were struggling to complete their tasks.”
How Have You Gone Above And Beyond For A Customer Answer?
To answer, tell a story and talk about numbers if possible like how much you helped someone to save by going above and beyond.
How Do You Demonstrate Going Above And Beyond?
You can demonstrate going above and beyond in the following ways;
Try new methods. …
Communicate an action plan. …
Understand what indicates good performance. …
Negotiate your time. …
Emulate someone successful. …
Keep notes. …
Actively listen. …
Embrace challenges as opportunities.
Write down your goals
Deliver work before the deadline
Learn a new skill
Offer your assistance
What Motivates You To Go Above And Beyond Work?
Leaders are truly looking to tap into employees’ intrinsic motivation to go above and beyond. This motivation is self-generated, by the employee themselves, around what they want for themselves.
Why You Should Go Above And Beyond At Work?
Individuals go above and beyond when they co-create their work environments and feel a great sense of belonging. Going above and beyond benefits both employees and their employers, and they both benefit in ways that satisfy their respective reasons for being.
How Have You Dealt With A Difficult Situation?
Detail your job and responsibility to overcome the challenge.
Detail the steps you took to rectify the issue.
Talk about the “action” you took to overcome the situation.
Explain your thought process for choosing the actions you did, being as specific as possible.
Can You Give Me An Example Of A Time You Went Above And Beyond For A Customer?
There was a time I asked the customer who I had been previously helping if they could please wait for one minute, and then I went to the area of the accident and positioned myself to make sure that no customers would unknowingly walk through it.
What Is The Most Difficult Situation You Faced At Work?
the most difficult situation I faced at work was making a good connection with my supervisor. We had different opinions on many important issues, which resulted in daily conflicts in the workplace.
How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?
First and foremost, listen
Build rapport through empathy
Lower your voice
Respond as if all your customers are watching.
Know when to give in.
Don’t take it personally.
Remember that you’re interacting with a human.
If you promise a callback, call back!
Summarise the next steps.
Like many other interview questions, “Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond” is aimed at understanding your attitude to work, your skills, and your character.
Before answering this question, you must think about it and prepare your answer to reflect the skills needed for the job or post you are vying for.
Remember, beyond an impressive CV and cover letter, your answers to interview questions can directly impact your chances of getting a job offer. Every question should be an opportunity to highlight what you bring to the table.
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