Tell Me About A Time When You Went Above and Beyond? (With 10 Sample Interview Answers)

To leave a good impression in front of the employer in an interview, you need to prepare for all the common questions that are asked in an interview. To answer a question like this requires preparation as such open-ended interview questions can be challenging if not answered smartly and effectively. This article will discuss why employers ask this question in an interview to answer such questions with some sample examples. We are going to cover the following mentioned topics:

  1. Why does an employer ask this question?
  2. How to answer an open-ended question like this?
  3. Common mistakes to avoid while answering such questions.
  4. Sample interview answers to this question.

This question can be asked in multiple ways like,

  1. Describe a time when you went beyond expectations.
  2. How do you try to exceed or meet the expectations that are set for you?
  3. Describe a project in which you were rated on your performance.
  4. Can you give us an example of a time where you had to go above and beyond to satisfy a client or a customer?
  5. Have you gone above and beyond the call of duty?
  6. How do you exceed someone’s expectations by anticipating their needs?

All of the above questions that are asked by the potential employer are similar to each other and have a similar way of answering.  

So, let us get started.

Why Do Employers Ask, “Tell Me About A Time When You Went Above and Beyond?”

  1. To learn more about your working style.
  2. To get an idea of your work ethics, personal values, and work commitment levels.
  3. To see your potential to use the best of your skills to outperform the expectations set for you.
  4. To check whether or not you are willing to take new challenges and have the potential to rise out of them.
  5. To see how your performance level has improved over time.  
  6. To check a candidate’s ability to exceed baseline expectations.

How To Answer This Question

Learn about STAR METHOD of interview

The STAR Method stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This method is a structured interview technique that offers us a format of responding to the tricky behavioral-based questions asked in an interview in which we discuss a specific situation that could be a real-life example, a task and the action you took to resolve that situation and the after results that you accomplished through your efforts.

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To answer questions like this, preparing for a STAR method interview can be extremely beneficial as you will get an idea of how you can craft your answer and impact the employer. So, you can use STAR behavioral response technique to outline the situation, your response to that situation, and the results and outcomes of that situation.

To learn more about the STAR METHOD you can read our article, https://prepmycareer.com/star-method-interview/, to strengthen your preparation for giving such answers in an interview.  

Prepare a list of some projects that you have worked on

Think about some projects that you completed or were a part of and how you contributed to make those projects successful. Explain the project and the situation clearly to the employer to give them a picture of what projects you worked on and what were your responsibilities in the projects before directly reaching to explaining how you exceeded expectations and went above and beyond.

Explain how you went above and beyond

After explaining the situation, discuss why you chose to go above and beyond, the need for the situation, and how did it help in benefitting the company from the actions you took. You may also need to provide them the necessary information about the projects while quantifying the results. The employer should get a clear picture of why you decided to go above and beyond and what actions you took to do the same. Back your answer by using examples while demonstrating how much time and effort you dedicated to achieving the goal by exceeding expectations.

Talk about the outcomes

Explain the results that you achieved and how they benefitted the company. Close your answer by showing how you put efforts to go above and beyond.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Answering Such Questions

  1. Do not give vague answers to the employer, be specific.
  2. Do not lie while giving the answers as they can catch you off guard being experienced in this field.
  3. Do not rush into answering and moving to the next question, take your time.
  4. Avoid exaggerating the answer.
  5. Do not panic in giving a perfect answer, a good answer is well-enough.

10 Sample Interview Answers

Sample Answer 1

“At my last job, I was given a project and the expectations that were to be met by me. The project was about creating personal finance needs for the clients and I knew that with the minimum requirements, the project will not be done in time, so I worked overtime, without taking week offs to complete the project.”

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Sample Answer 2

“I was once the campaign head of the marketing department and I saw that my teammates are struggling in completion of the tasks due to the workload, so I approached each one of them and assisted them in their tasks to meet the campaign goals. We were successful in reaching out to 500+ consumers in this campaign, while the expectations were set to reach out to 300 customers.”

Sample Answer 3

“At my last job, I was asked to design a financial report of the company as a power-point presentation. The requirements were basic to show numbers and growth by displaying sales and profit achieved in that month. I saw it as an opportunity to present my creative side to my manager and went above and beyond with the duty assigned to me by adding charts and graphs and even compared the company’s performance with our competitors. My manager really appreciated my effort and have me a performance appraisal.”

Sample Answer 4

“Exceeding a client’s expectation is what our top managers want and therefore as an after-sales service I always keep a check up on the business clients to see how they are doing or if they need anything or if they are facing any issues in the products and the services that were provided to them. This helps in maintaining client retention and this is how we exceed our clients’ expectations.”

Sample Answer 5

“I was a sales associate in the previous retail job and the third party was not accepting our contract to purchase from our company. It was my responsibility to close the deal and meet the expectations of the normal order that the third party used to place with our business. I sent a letter to the party asking why are refusing to accept the contract and what issues were they facing, they were facing some financial crisis themselves. To be able to close the deal I cut the extra cost by charging minimum profits so that our client won’t go empty-handed and convert them into loyal customers.”

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Sample Answer 6

“My manager was working on a huge project and faced some last-minute issues and was unable to show up to the meeting that was set with the client. So, I filled in for my manager who couldn’t attend the workshop and we were successful in turning in the client.”

Sample Answer 7

“I worked in a clothing retail store as a designer. One of the customers had a specific request about a dress that was sold out. I asked the customer if they could wait for some days but they were in an urgent need for some occasion. I was not ready to let the customer down and started working on making the same outfit, few more designers assisted me and we were able to finish it within 3 hours. This is how I went above and beyond with team effort.

Sample Answer 8

“We live in a competitive world, and if we do not retain loyal customers, they have plenty of other options to go for. I am at the initial stage of my career and my idea of going above and beyond is to work for our customers and outperform to meet their demand by providing the best quality products and services.”

Sample Answer 9

“I worked as a manager in my previous job. I had subordinates working under me. To go above and beyond for my subordinates I always try to organize events to raise employee morale because they give their 100% when they feel motivated and important. It helps a lot and I have seen the productivity increase as kept organizing these employee motivation programs.”

Sample Answer 10

“I try my best to go above and beyond in my job because being a medical assistant comes with a lot of responsibilities. My co-worker was on sick leave for 10 days and to cover for her shift I worked overtime for all of these days so that our physician won’t suffer any setbacks administratively as well as while treating our patients. I was paid for exceeding my expectations as well.”

Conclusion

So, that was all about this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and you no more fear answering questions like these. Comment below what you liked about this article and share.

All the best for your interview!

References

  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1993-07580-001
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1995.tb01758.x