In this post We will answer the behavioural interview question ‘Tell me about a time you went above and beyond’
A sneak peek into the mind of the interviewer and WHY they ask this
What to say when you’re answering
And a concrete example of my own experience to get you thinking!
Ok So What’s the point of this question?
They would like to see how you’re different from the average person who’s up for this job. Anyone can ‘do the job’ but what will YOU do that’s special? What will you add? And they want you to give an example of that here.
The question is designed to see a) if you can think of a time you went above and beyond and b) to see what going above and beyond means to you and how you describe it.
How do you answer the question?
You answer it by telling a story
We’ll use The SARI Formula which we’ll go through here. SARI STAnds for Situation Action Result and Interesting Features.
The SARI Formula stands for (Situation/Task, Action, Result & Interesting Features) The formula comes in many forms. Some people call it SAR some people call it STAR
but it’s essentially the same thing.
Let’s get into it.
STEP 1: Situation Set the stage and paint a picture.
Describe the situation/job you were in. For example: I was working as a receptionist a busy downtown law firm and I knew an important potential client was coming in for a meeting later on that day. The firm owner asked me to make sure this gentleman was given the VIP treatment when he arrived.
STEP 2: ACTION
What did you do. (Talk about the action you took.)
I prepared carefully for this client, I researched him online and I found out what his interests were, so that while he waited we could have a good interaction with him. I also asked around and found out that he really likes to drink a certain type of coffee. So when he arrived I was ready with a cup of that specific hazelnut coffee that he liked.
STEP 3: RESULT
Explain how it worked out in the end. (What happened as a result of your actions?)
Every story isn’t complete without a happy ending so make sure it is something positive you choose to talk about in your story.
The result in this case was amazing. He was over the moon impressed. I could tell by the look on his face as he went into the meeting, that he was not expecting such special treatment. He thanked me, smiled and shook my hand. As a result the firm landed the account!
STEP 4: BONUS Interesting Features
Zero in on learning, talk about resources you used to get the result you did, anything that adds interest to the story and makes the story more fun to hear.
For example for the interesting feature, the example would be: I learned that taking a little extra time to make sure someone feels special goes a long way. It may appear to be very small touches but in the end it helped get the company an account worth several thousands of dollars each year. The new client specifically commented on how ‘the receptionist is a keeper’ and how they should treat me well.
All in all someone else when asked to ‘give someone special treatment’ may have just gotten them a regular coffee, and made pleasant conversation with them, asked them if they needed anything etc. This is how I chose to go above and beyond and make it into a different experience. I did some preliminary research which went a very long way in making someone feel very good about coming to our firm for his legal needs.
There we have it:
What does going above and beyond mean to you?
To what level can you take it?
Thank you for reading! Nailing the interview questions is great! But There is a lot more to interviewing than just answering the questions. In fact if all you do is answer the questions alone, you’ve already lost the interview.
There is a whole interview strategy at play and if you’d like to learn more you can click the link below to grab my free guide:
Click the link below to get free instant access To the
Free Guide to situational interviewing.
What you’ll get when you get this guide:
An in-depth look at The SARI Formula (and the psychology behind it)
A series of Concrete Examples for the top 10 most commonly asked situational questions
Fill in the blank templates for each question
& if you are still getting stuck (because preparing your own stories is tough) I’ve also included
25 Questions to come up with your own stories much quicker.
You’ll get all this information immediately, in a beautifully designed workbook, designed specially for you to prepare for your next interview.
By the end of working through the guide you’ll be totally ready for any situational interview question that comes your way.
Click below and grab it now.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week here at my digital house of nataliefisher.ca
In Work & Life