One of the most common interview questions a hiring manager asks is, “Can you tell me about a time you went above and beyond expectations at work?” 

Because of this, it is very important that you have a simple answer in the holster.

This question is common because a company does not want to hire real average employees!

By following the below guidelines, you will ensure that you provide a quality answer that leaves a positive impression.

Why They Are Asking

Knowing why an interviewer is asking a question can better help you provide the answer they are looking for.

With this question, the answer is simple… Are you hardworking?

The problem you may have is understanding what the hiring manager’s definition of hard working is.

When rehearsing your answer, make sure that you did, in fact, go above and beyond!

If you worked at McDonald’s and gave a customer two napkins instead of one, pick a different example. If you have trouble thinking of a good story, see our example towards the end of the article!

For other interview questions and answers, see our article 50 Top Interview Questions And Answers!

Pick One and Nail It

I am sure you have a great success story in mind, but if you don’t, that’s okay!

Remember, you just need to show that you are a diligent worker.

The story does not matter, your definition of going above and beyond does.

Pick a story and rehearse it until you can deliver with confidence.

This will ensure that you leave a lasting impression and show you are qualified for the position.

Customer or Management Oriented

Focus on the type of position you are applying for… “No, kidding!”

I say that because this will determine what type of scenario you describe.

If you are applying for a position that deals with customers, describe your success with assisting customers.

If you are an associate reporting to a manager, describe positive impressions you have had with past managers.

Relating your answers to the job description will display focus and preparation skills to the hiring manager.

Sample Answer

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Hiring Manager:

Describe a time you went above expectations at work.

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While working with my last company as a sales representative, I had a meeting with a potential client. In earlier discussions, the client had expressed their love for jelly beans. On my way to their office, I picked up a bag of jelly beans and a gift bag and wrote our company name on it. Because of this, I was able to close the deal without using my normal pitch! My supervisors were very appreciative and as far as I know, the company still serves that client to this day.