How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Went Above and Beyond”

How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Went Above and Beyond”

What does “Going Above and Beyond” Mean?

Going above and beyond simply means putting in extra effort and whatever else it takes to get the job done. Behavioral interviews can get complicated when recruiters pose such questions that probe deep into a time when a potential candidate has gone above and beyond the call of duty. The idea is to understand the candidate’s attitude, work ethic and several other behavioral traits. No recruiter would want to settle for an employee who has impeccable technical skills but is unwilling to volunteer and do more than is required to get the job done. 


HiCounselor is here to help you out on how to handle this question delicately and impress future employers. Just make sure you don’t blame your team or sound angry and frustrated as you describe the time when you went above and beyond.


How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Went Above and Beyond”

This is one of the innumerable behavioral interview questions that are designed to measure a candidate’s capability and accountability as an employee. Recruiters judge how well you perform under pressure when you tell them about the time you went above and beyond. They are also trying to figure out your problem-solving skills when you face a deadline. 


Follow these 4 steps to answer the aforementioned question quite effectively:


  1. First and foremost, describe a work-related situation, preferably a recent one with a positive impact. Answering this question with a personal anecdote will not prove to be effective with a recruiter.


  1. Then explain the task and emphasize the challenges that you had to overcome. Add in interesting details wherever possible. Make sure you mention tasks and challenges that are quite similar to the ones you are likely to encounter at the organization you are interviewing.


  1. After that, you need to explain the specific plan of action you chose to deal with the situation and why you chose it. Emphasize the areas that you volunteered to take up which were not part of your job description.


  1. Finally, describe the outcome taking care to mention that the result far exceeded your expectations and immensely benefited the organization as well as its stakeholders.


Examples of Going Above and Beyond


  1. Mention the time when you stayed late or adjusted your schedule to help the organization, despite the fact that it was inconvenient for you. 

  2. Talk about the time you filled in for a manager or boss who was not in a position to attend work due to unforeseen circumstances. 

  3. Say how you went out of your way to fulfill a special request for a customer. 

  4. Mention anything else you did beyond your typical job duties. 


Before you attempt to answer how you went above and beyond, you have to make sure that your answer complements the organization’s work culture and job description. Think about the company’s needs and then answer how you went about doing more than what was required of you at your previous organizations.


Here is a sample answer to the question “Tell Me About a Time You Went Above and Beyond”


Well, I was offered an assignment at my previous job and my manager explained the parameters to me. Based on the information provided to me, I began working on the assignment but soon started to realize that the parameters did not exactly fit in with the expected end result. I had a hunch that something was wrong. But instead of just following orders and mindlessly doing exactly what my manager had asked me to do, I decided to find out what changes I could make to the parameters to achieve the expected end result. I then went to my manager to explain my findings. I also wanted to make sure we both had an understanding of the ultimate goal of the assignment. My manager was really glad I approached him and together we found out that the initial calculations on the project were actually wrong. My manager gave me the green signal to go ahead with the project based on my findings and thankfully, the project turned out to be a great success. For me going above and beyond means putting my best foot forward to achieve the best for the organization, even if it means having to make a few changes in what has been already approved.



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