Other interview questions that are similar
- Could you describe a situation where you had to go above and beyond your usual responsibilities to get a job done?
- Can you share a story about a time when you put in additional effort to achieve a work goal?
- Have you ever had to exceed expectations to finish a project on time? Could you tell me more about that?
- Could you provide an example of a time when you did more than what was required to ensure project success?
- What is a situation where you had to go out of your way to meet a deadline or complete a task?
- Can you recall a time when you made an extra effort to ensure the quality of your work was above and beyond?
- Could you share an instance when you had to extend your normal working hours or exert additional effort to get a task done?
- Was there ever a time when you had to take additional steps beyond your job description to complete a task? Could you elaborate on that?
- Can you describe a situation where you had to put in more effort than usual to meet a customer’s expectations?
- Have you ever done more than what was expected of you to ensure a project’s success? Can you detail that experience?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
Let’s look at our question, “Can you provide an example of a time when you went the extra mile to complete a task?” At first glance, this may seem like an inquiry about a specific instance in your career. However, this question has direct relevance to all three fundamental things the interviewer is trying to understand about you.
1 – Can you do the job? By providing an example where you went above and beyond, you’re demonstrating the ability to handle tasks, even those that are challenging or require additional effort. This points towards your ability to accomplish the tasks associated with the role.
2 – Will you do the job? Going the extra mile is often a testament to a person’s dedication, perseverance, and motivation. Thus, your response will give the interviewer insights into your drive and whether you’re someone who will indeed do the job — even when it requires additional time and effort.
3 – Will you fit in? This question can also provide insights about your fit within the company culture. Companies often value employees who are willing to go the extra mile — it speaks to a culture of commitment, mutual support, and pursuit of excellence. By sharing your experiences, you show how your work ethic and attitudes may align with the company’s culture.
While the phrasing and content of interview questions may vary, it is essential to remember that most questions aim to shed light on these three fundamental aspects. Understanding this can help you better prepare for your interviews and craft responses that accurately and positively represent your professional capabilities, motivation, and cultural fit.
How Best To Answer ‘Can you provide an example of a time when you went the extra mile to complete a task?’
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? Here, share your personal perspective or conviction related to the task at hand. For instance, in response to the question, “Can you provide an example of a time when you went the extra mile to complete a task?”, you might express your belief about the importance of going above and beyond to ensure task completion and high-quality results.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. Remember, when addressing the above-mentioned interview question, your goal is to outline a situation where you had to extend beyond the typical requirements of your role. But, maintain brevity in your description, making sure it’s simple to comprehend and straightforward to describe. The focus should primarily be on you and your actions rather than intricate details of the situation.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Ensure you highlight an active role you played in the encounter. Especially when responding to an interview question about going the extra mile, it’s crucial to exhibit how you were directly involved and the key responsibility you shouldered during this time.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. This segment is critical, particularly when addressing questions about going the extra mile. Illustrate the specific actions you took, the decisions made, and why you thought they were necessary at the time. This part should occupy most of your response time, effectively communicating your proactive approach and problem-solving abilities.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Finally, when describing the result, try to quantify your success if possible. Did you save time or resources? Did customer satisfaction scores increase, or were any problems reduced or eliminated? Using tangible figures not only helps to demonstrate your impact but also underscores your commitment to delivering measurable outcomes, even when faced with challenging tasks that require an extra mile. Remember, the impact of your actions is a strong reflection of your dedication and can set a powerful impression.
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action
Can you provide an example of a time when you went the extra mile to complete a task? – Example answer
The examples provided below can serve as a foundation for creating your unique answers. For additional inspiration, our new guide includes five sample responses to this question and over 100 answers to all of the most common interview queries.
“I strongly believe that ensuring the quality of my work and meeting deadlines is absolutely essential, even if it sometimes requires additional effort beyond the regular work hours. A prime example of this would be when I was involved in a high-priority project at my previous job.
The situation occurred during the final phase of a project for a key client. We had a tight deadline, but just two days before the delivery date, we discovered a critical issue in our software that could potentially affect the client’s operations significantly.
My primary role at that time was as a data analyst, but I had prior experience in software troubleshooting, which made me well-equipped to address the situation. Understanding the gravity of the situation and knowing that our usual software troubleshooting team was swamped, I decided to step in.
I volunteered to stay back after office hours and worked relentlessly to diagnose the problem. I scrutinized the software codes meticulously, identified the faulty segments, and rectified the issue.
As a result, we managed to fix the problem in record time, and the project was delivered to the client without any delay. The client was thoroughly impressed and appreciated our team for our commitment and proactive approach, and we retained their business for another three years. It was a proud moment that demonstrated the value of going the extra mile when needed.”
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