Question forms part of
Other interview questions that are similar
- Can you describe a situation where you demonstrated exceptional effort to meet a client’s needs?
- Give me an example of a time when you took the initiative to go beyond your job responsibilities.
- Have you ever taken a risk to accomplish a task? Can you tell me about it?
- Could you tell me about a time when you had to work outside of your comfort zone to achieve a goal?
- Describe a situation where you had to overcome a significant obstacle to complete a project.
- Can you share an instance where you had to make a tough decision to accomplish a task?
- Give me an example of a time when you exceeded expectations to help a colleague or team member.
- Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a new situation to complete a task successfully.
- Have you ever gone the extra mile to achieve a personal goal? Can you describe it?
- Could you provide an example of a time when you received positive feedback for going above and beyond?
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.
This question is looking to see if you are someone who will go ‘above and beyond’. It is seeing if you are someone who is not content with the status quo and will seek to make things better. This is speaking to your motivation (no. 2 above).
The interviewer is looking to see if you have in the past put in the extra effort in the workplace. This could be something like going the extra mile to land a new customer, or if you are technical it could be creating a tool or piece of software that helps your, and your colleagues, processes.
How Best To Answer ‘Tell me about a time you went above and beyond’
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.
For this question it will look something like this:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? – The interviewer is looking for people who go above and beyond, make sure you talk a little bit about how you are not content with doing an ‘ok’ job, say how you always look at ways you can produce exceptional work and are not afraid to put the work in to achieve quality.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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
Tell me about a time you went above and beyond – Example answer
I recall a project where my team and I were tasked with launching a new website for our company. As the lead developer, I went above and beyond by not only completing my own tasks but also helping my team members with theirs. I held extra training sessions and provided one-on-one support to ensure everyone was comfortable with the new technology we were using. The result was a successful launch that received positive feedback from both our colleagues and customers.
In my previous retail job, there was a busy holiday season where our store was short-staffed. Despite having my own tasks to attend to, I voluntarily assisted my colleagues by covering their breaks, restocking shelves, and helping customers with their purchases. This allowed my coworkers to take much-needed breaks and improved the overall shopping experience for customers. As a result, our store was able to meet its sales targets and received positive feedback from management.
In a previous construction job, I was part of a team responsible for building a multi-story building. During the project, we encountered unexpected soil conditions that required additional support for the foundation. Instead of waiting for instructions from the project manager, I took initiative and discussed potential solutions with the team. Together, we came up with a plan to reinforce the foundation, ensuring the stability and safety of the building. This extra effort resulted in a successful project completion and earned recognition from the client and project manager.
Customer Service Example
In my previous role as a customer service representative at a bank, I encountered a situation where a customer had an issue with a fraudulent transaction on their account. The customer was understandably upset and had been on hold for a long time, speaking to multiple representatives without finding a resolution.
My first action was to apologize to the customer for the inconvenience and frustration they had experienced. I then requested all the necessary information to investigate the transaction. After reviewing their account history and the transaction details, I determined that the transaction was indeed fraudulent.
Next, I informed the customer that we would need to cancel their existing card and issue them a new one. The customer was worried about the length of time it would take to receive the new card and access their funds. To address their concerns, I assured them that I would work with the team to expedite the process and make sure their new card was delivered to them as soon as possible.
In the end, the customer felt heard and valued. They expressed gratitude for the extra time and attention that I gave them. They also felt confident that their issue had been resolved and appreciated the proactive steps I took to ensure they could access their funds as soon as possible. My supervisor commended me for my efforts, and the customer left a positive feedback, which was a great feeling.
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