When the hiring manager asks you this common interview question, they want more than just an example of a time you went the extra mile. They also want to evaluate your work ethic, your attitude towards your job, and your commitment to the company you work for.
When the interviewer asks “tell me a time you went above and beyond,” you need to be ready. It is a tough interview question to answer correctly, so make sure to do the extra work by taking the tips and samples in this post and prepare your specific answer. A little preparation will help you leave a great impression on your interviewer.
Figure Out What Skills, Qualities, or Experience You Want to Convey
Remember, in addition to your motivation, your answer to this question can also illustrate specific skills, accomplishments, and/or other traits you possess. So take some time to figure out which attributes you’d like to convey. These qualifications can relate to the position you’re looking to nab—for example, “For a sales position, they are [usually] looking for go-getters who will always go the extra mile to land a deal,” Eonnet says. Or they might be relevant to the company you’re hoping to join—for example, “For a startup, they are [often] looking for self-starters who take initiative and spearhead projects without much direction,” Eonnet says. If the person in this role will be in charge of solving a specific problem or completing a certain project, you might want to show the interviewer how you went above and beyond while doing similar work in the past.
To figure out what skills, experiences, or qualities are important for this position, review the job description, think about anything you learned about the role or company from earlier interviews, and do some research on the company’s website, social media, and Muse profile—if they have one. Then, match the qualifications they’re looking for with attributes you possess to nail down what you should be emphasizing—both in this answer and others throughout your interview.
Choose What Professional Attributes You Want to Showcase
One thing you should never forget when forming answers for interview questions is that this will directly impact your chances of getting a job offer or not. You should use every question as an opportunity to highlight what skills you have to offer, and this question is no different!
Start by thinking about what details about your work ethic and attitude you want to focus on the most. As always, link it back to the job. Turn to the job description if you need a little guidance.
If the job is for a managerial position, you can highlight your leadership or communication skills. If it’s for an artistic role, you can choose to talk about how you like to think outside the box and do more. Whatever the case might be, try to choose something that matters to the job at hand.
Naming a time when you went above and beyond is an excellent chance to show off a little bit. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and think about the accomplishments and brag-worthy experiences you’ve had in the past. As long as your story revolves around those key skills and compensations, you can hit this question out of the park!
How do you go above and beyond at your job?
When an interviewer asks this specific question, he or she is likely trying to gain insight into your work ethic and understand how you define going “above and beyond the call of duty.” You answer by focusing on your stellar work ethic, and by presenting a concrete example from a past job that shows how you went “above and beyond.”
Another challenging thing about interview questions is some employers phrase their inquiries in different ways. You could hear ‘give me an example of a time that you went above the call of duty at work’ instead, but no matter how the query is phrased, the hiring manager is likely trying to get the same information. Giving an impressive answer requires some preparation and an understanding of the STAR method.