Tell me About a Time You Went Above and Beyond to Get a Job Done

The remainder of this chapter contains typical interview questions, both behavioral and traditional, and sample story-based responses to them. The question is in the headline. Note that many of these stories contain emotional content to draw the interviewer in and help him or her identify with the interviewee.

We had to lay people off a couple years ago, and the vice president asked me for my recommendations while I was out on vacation. Because I had been meeting regularly with the directors and had been leading a workforce planning effort, I had very clear data from them regarding those areas where reductions could be made with the least disruptions to key services. I took the time during my vacation to share that data with the VP. The result was that the decisions were made in a timely way and the impact on services was minimal.

Although I had already punched out, I stayed behind to help a colleague solve a problem. A customer was very angry, as he had waited a long time for his coffee. My colleague was new, and she was quite slow. I came out and explained things to the customer. Although he was very angry at first, I just listened to him and told him that we try to bring our best out to each customer who walks in to our store. After a one-hour discussion, he left with a happy face and was satisfied.

While working at a large retailer, I was one of three people to work in the electronics department. One day upon arriving at work, I was told the district manager was coming the next day to do a store inspection. The two other people who worked in electronics were both over 55. Neither could lift heavy objects, and one refused to work at all. As a result, the electronics department was usually left to me to keep in order and stocked with product. I had about five hours of work time to get the entire department in order. After the five hours passed, there was still a substantial amount of work to be done. I asked the store manager if I could stay and work after hours while the overnight stockers were there. He said that because of the employment budget, he could not let me. So I was faced with bringing the entire store’s rating down or not getting paid. I worked without pay, and three hours later, the department was in tip-top shape. The electronics department got a score of 95 out of 100.

I don’t believe in trying to get by with the least possible effort, and I am always willing to go beyond the call of duty to perform an assignment successfully. My anthropology class was given a group project in which each group had to teach a topic to the class for 50 minutes. I was a freshman and everyone in my group was either juniors or seniors, so I was very nervous and felt that I needed to prove myself. My topic was Botswana. I went online for hours, as well as to the library trying to find as much info as possible, but there just wasn’t enough to fill a 50-minute presentation. Instead of working with the little material that I had, I continued to search in other libraries. I ended up writing a very good paper. In addition, I taught myself how to use PowerPoint, and came up with a substantial slide show. I met with my group, and they were amazed at the work I had done. My team earned an A for the project.

Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling that Propels Careers, Quintessential Careers Press, ISBN-10: 1-934689-00-9. Find out the ways you can own the entire book.


The new, improved edition of the book, Tell Me About Yourself, is now available. You can order it on Amazon.

About This Blog

This blog serializes the first edition of the book, Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling that Propels Careers (shown below). It is a blog-within-a-blog, and its parent blog is A Storied Career.


You can read the new, improved edition of Tell Me About Yourself by buying the book.

You can read the first edition of Tell Me About Yourself on this blog, as follows (Follow each chapter sequentially through the dates after the opening entries for each chapter):

You can read the first edition, page by page, here.

May 2012

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