Tell me about a time you went above and beyond your job responsibilities
- 1 Tell me about a time you went above and beyond your job responsibilities
- 2 Other interview questions that are similar
- 3 What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
- 4 How best to structure your answer to this question
- 5 What you should NOT do when answering questions
- 6 Tell me about a time you went above and beyond your job responsibilities – Example answers
- 7 Other Interview Question and Answers
Other interview questions that are similar
- Describe an instance where you took on additional tasks outside your designated role.
- Can you share a moment when you exceeded expectations in a work project?
- Recall a time when you volunteered for extra work not typically within your job scope.
- Have you ever initiated a project or task that was beyond your regular duties? If so, please describe.
- Can you provide an example of a situation where you had to step outside your comfort zone at work?
- Tell me about an occasion where you had to put in extra effort to complete a work assignment.
- Describe a scenario at work where you had to take on responsibilities outside your normal job description.
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.
When asked, “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond your job responsibilities,” focus on demonstrating your skills and experience, highlighting your drive and motivation, and showcasing your compatibility with the team and company culture. This question allows you to illustrate all three key aspects interviewers are keen to understand: your capability to perform the job, your willingness to put in extra effort, and your potential to fit well within the team environment. Keep your response concise, directly linking your example to these three fundamental areas of interest.
How best to structure your answer to this question
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? In the context of the interview question about going above and beyond, this is your chance to express why you felt compelled to take extra steps and how it aligns with your work values.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. – Try not to spend too much time describing the situation. The bulk of your answer needs to be about you and what you did so keep the situation simple to understand and even simpler to describe. Relate the situation back to the job you’re interviewing for, showing how similar challenges could arise and how you’d handle them.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time it is best that you are taking an active rather than passive role in the encounter. Explain how this role in the task demonstrates your ability to go above and beyond, showcasing skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. – This should take up the bulk of your time answering the question. Focus on actions that reflect your initiative and commitment, directly tying them to the qualities the interviewer is looking for.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible (e.g. we cut costs by $3m, customer satisfaction scores increased 25%, failures reduced to zero, ice cream parties increased ten-fold etc.). Quantifiable results here can powerfully demonstrate the impact of your actions, showing how going above and beyond can bring significant benefits to the company you wish to join.
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 downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have never gone above and beyond.
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.
Tell me about a time you went above and beyond your job responsibilities – Example answers
Example Answer 1
“In my previous role as a customer service manager, I believed strongly in not only meeting but exceeding customer expectations. There was a situation where a significant client was at risk of discontinuing their contract due to dissatisfaction with our service. My task, although primarily focused on team management, expanded to directly address this client’s concerns.
To tackle this, I first conducted a thorough analysis of the client’s complaints and our service delivery records. Recognizing the gaps, I organized a cross-functional team involving members from sales, technical support, and service delivery. We developed a customized action plan that addressed each of the client’s specific issues. I led the implementation of this plan, which involved training team members on new service protocols, establishing a direct communication line with the client for continuous feedback, and introducing regular internal reviews to ensure we were on track.
The result was not only retaining the client but also increasing their contract value by 20%. Our team’s response time improved by 30%, and the client’s satisfaction scores rose significantly. This experience showed me the value of going beyond traditional responsibilities to foster client relationships and drive business growth.”
Example Answer 2
More Sample Answers…
The examples provided above 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 250 answers to all of the most common interview queries.
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