Give Examples Of Times When You Showed Initiative At Work? (With 10 Sample Interview Answers)

A responsible candidate possessing natural leadership abilities is always admired by a prospective employer. Taking initiatives at one’s workplace shows how much an employee believes in his capabilities and have respect in his primary trade. Such an attitude is always a trait of a stand out employee which is always on the radars of hiring agencies and interviewers. Thus, this question becomes a frequently asked one, which must be focused and emphasized on.

Give Examples Of Times When You Showed Initiative At Work

Three Tips To Excel In This Interview Question

1) Narrate An Honest Story

Just concocting a random story is not wise. Such stories are easily caught by interviewers within a matter of few seconds from starting. Hence, planning to narrate a story, in which you are the daunting hero and your initiatives your partners, then just ponder again.

2) Don’t Exaggerate

Use limited self-praising adjectives. No interviewer wants to listen to your long list of self-praises. Instead, considering the nature of the question and expected model answers, it is advised that you use a maximum of 1 to 2 adjectives in your praise.

3) Self-Initiative As Well As Tough Task

There are two types of situations associated with showing initiative at workplace.

  • Type I: You are given a tough task to perform. Even though it was tough, hectic, and required a lot of effort you accepted it voluntarily.
  • Type II: You self-initiated a task, which was unique and distinct.

Both these types of situations can qualify for this answer, though, Type II is more impressive and engaging from the point of view of the interviewers. hence, your story or possible answer to this question must fall within these two types.

Ten Best Answers To Read

Sample Answer One

Sir, there have been several similar instances throughout my professional career, but I will pick one from my previous employment with ABC Accounting services. There was a new upgraded and better accounting software in the market and we were supposed to make a quick move. This required all the client’s data to be transferred within one week. It was decided that only one employee will do this. I took the initiative to do this hectic task while no one was willing to perform it.

Sample Answer Two

I believe, taking initiatives makes you bold, and completing them in a time-bound manner makes you successful. I remember a time during my previous employment when a group of employees was asked to complete the digitization of all the manual files. The participation was voluntary and had a quota of a maximum of two. Everyone was backing out, but I and one more peer of mine stood the ground and accepted the responsibility. As a result, we were able to nail the task and earned quick promotions too.

Sample Answer Three

A person who takes initiative can boost his self-confidence immensely. I remember, when I was working as a customer service representative, during my previous stint, I was given a tough task to manage the workload of 2 of my peers for the next 10 working days. Initially, it seemed daunting and stressful. But, I did not quit and accepted the challenge. The first two days went in utter frustration, but slowly and gradually, I got into the groove and to my surprise was able to complete all the tasks in a time-bound manner.

Sample Answer Four

If you are looking for career advancement and want to impress your boss, start taking the initiative. I got my first opportunity while I was undertaking an internship in administration. There were lots of unsorted files of the customers of the company. I self-initiated and gave myself a target that, I would complete the sorting procedures within 5 days. Eventually, it took me 7 days to complete the task, but my boss got seriously impressed with this attitude of mine and gave me a very strong letter of recommendation.

Sample Answer Five

A lethargic and casual attitude demotes an employee whereas an attitude of taking initiatives promotes an employee. There was an instance during my industrial training when there were riots going on. Our company was short on cash and told all its daily laborers to defer the wages by 10 days. They were not ready to listen, then I took the initiative and explained to them the situation in the most lucid and fluent way. This time they got it and were ready to defer the payments for even 15 days.

Sample Answer Six (For Freshers)

Since this is my first job application I won’t be able to narrate any real-life workplace incidence. But I still remember a time during my school days, when I saw two senior boys bullying their junior. At first, I ignored it, but then I gave myself a rescue objective and took the self-initiative to complain against those boys with my principal. No one dared to complain of those boys as they were influential kids. But I took the initiative, and as a result, they both were shifted to a boarding school.

Sample Answer Seven

Taking initiative has always been my natural instinct. I remember so many similar incidences starting from my school time. During my previous stint with ABC Customer Services, I took the initiative of responding to all our happy customers with a Thank you letter, which was customized and tailor-made for everyone. It took me a lot of extra time and I was supposed to work late nights in the office. But the customers loved this gesture of ours and as a result, we saw an exponential increase in our customer base.

Sample Answer Eight

During my previous employment, I was a production manager managing the evening shift of the day. We were lacking marginally with the production targets, which was even within the acceptable limits. Being a meticulous person, I decided to remove even the slightest defect and took the initiative to improve the production processes by tweaking the workforce and the tasks assigned to them. This worked wonderfully, and we starting operating at the highest efficiency.

Sample Answer Nine

Taking self-initiatives is an exceptional trait that shows how responsible and serious a person is in his or her employment. I remember, during my previous tenure with ABC Sales corporation, I took the self-initiative to improve the sales targets by framing appropriate employee appraisal policies, even though it was out of my ambit of work. I submitted the plan to the sales head, and it even got approved. This boosted my confidence to a great extent.

Sample Answer Ten

Taking initiative is a double-edged sword. A successful task can give you a sense of satisfaction and on the contrary, you can get embarrassment and monotony. Whatever it may be, one must strive to take initiative. I remember how I self-initiated the cleaning program within my office during my previous tenure. Soon everyone joined me and I was awarded a prestigious award too.


An interview is a set of deftly framed questions, in order to elicit responses that would enable an interviewer to carefully analyze and examine you. This is a common interview question, appearing in several job interviews. One can’t afford to leave this question unprepared. For better selection chances, read lots of model answers to this question. If you like our articles then don’t forget to share them with your family and friends. Also, do let us know through the comments section below, how much you like our articles.


One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️