Answering “How Have You Gone Above and Beyond in Your Work?”

Answering "How Have You Gone Above and Beyond in Your Work?" (A man sweating)The question posed in the title of this post is one that is getting asked more and more often in interviews. It makes sense when you think about it. In today’s world, it’s not enough to be average, to just do your job. You need to add value to your employer and to their customers.

Having specific stories about doing whatever it takes to get the job done are good because they clearly illustrate your abilities to put forth an extra effort. By the same token, only having stories could give off the impression that going above and beyond is the exception to the rule. If it is a regular part of your work ethic, how do you convey that?

Consider answering the question in this way:

“I don’t really think of my work as going ‘above and beyond.’ Sure, there are times that have required more effort, but it’s all a part of making sure the work is quality and the customer is happy. That’s doing my job. One example I can give you is when we were working to solve a problem with X product line…”

By prefacing your story with a statement that outlines how you view requests to do work that would be considered out of the ordinary (being asked to finish a product under an unusually tight deadline, or taking on a project that will encompass work that falls outside the scope of your normal job duties), you are establishing your commitment to your work, to the company, and to the customers.

One thing to keep in mind: only answer the question in this manner if it truly reflects how you approach your job. If you are one who sees your work as being narrowly defined by the job description, this won’t apply.

But honestly? If this doesn’t apply to you, then you’ve got bigger problems because you are going to get blown out of the water every time by those candidates who are willing to go the extra mile all the time. And that is a different post for a different day.

Image courtesy of Jeffrey Montes

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