Interview Question: Going Above the Call of Duty To Get the Job Done

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: December 05, 2022

Our customers have been hired at: *Foot Note

Showcase your skills and experience effectively with our intuitive resume maker.

When you walk into an interview you have to be prepared to answer different kinds of queries. The interview could include some behavioral interview questions such as ‘tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty to get the job done.’ This type of inquiry is different from a traditional interview question because traditional inquiries look to concrete facts while behavioral ones explore what you did in the past to help determine what you will do in the future.

What does it mean to go above and beyond the call of duty?

Going above and beyond the call of duty means doing a little bit more effort (putting in overtime), or doing a little bit more than your job actually requires (mentoring a new hire, or helping a coworker finish a project on time). It essentially means the same thing as “going the extra mile.”

Some job seekers struggle to answer the behavior-based questions, but they give you a great chance to highlight the skills, experience and knowledge you have that make you a great fit for the job at hand. You simply need to practice creating responses to this type of question so you can have the confidence you need to wow the hiring manager. When an interviewer asks this specific question, he or she is likely trying to gain insight into your work ethic and understand how you define going ‘beyond the call of duty.’

How do you go above and beyond at your job?

When an interviewer asks this specific question, he or she is likely trying to gain insight into your work ethic and understand how you define going “above and beyond the call of duty.” You answer by focusing on your stellar work ethic, and by presenting a concrete example from a past job that shows how you went “above and beyond.”

Another challenging thing about interview questions is some employers phrase their inquiries in different ways. You could hear ‘give me an example of a time that you went above the call of duty at work’ instead, but no matter how the query is phrased, the hiring manager is likely trying to get the same information. Giving an impressive answer requires some preparation and an understanding of the STAR method.

How to Answer the ‘Tell me About a Time When You Went Beyond the Call of Duty to Get the Job Done’ Behavioral Interview Question

1. Focus on Hard Work

Whenever you respond to an inquiry, you need to think about what the interviewer is really trying to learn so you can properly shape your reply. In this case, he or she wants to hear about your work ethic and dedication to the job. This means your story should focus on these traits if you want to look like a solid candidate for the position. There are a few different ways you can focus on your ability to work hard. You might be able to talk about your willingness to stay late or your ability to finish projects in the time allotted. These are two very different answers, but both give an insight into your work ethic.

2. Think About Your Example

Because behavioral interview questions are designed to look at your past actions as a way to judge what you might do in the future, you need to take the time to think about the example you are going to use. To answer this particular inquiry, you want a story that highlights what you are willing to put into the job. Not only do you have to pick out the right moment to share, but you need to practice telling your story to ensure you include the right details and properly organize your response. Many experts suggest job seekers use what is called the STAR method when answering behavioral inquiries. Each letter stands for a component that should be included in your answer:

  • Situation: You need to give a brief background of the situation so the hiring manager better understands what is going on.
  • Task: In some cases, you need to describe the task you were assigned rather than explain the situation.
  • Action: Describe the steps you took to complete the task or remedy the situation.
  • Result: Finally, talk about the result that came from your actions.

3. Explain Your Definition of Going ‘Beyond the Call of Duty’

Finally, you need to explain what you think it means to go ‘beyond the call of duty.’ For some, it is adapting to the changes of the business or solving problems before they become unbearable. One employee may think it means getting the job done on time, while another may think it means getting the job done and completing additional, related tasks. If you do not define what it means for you, your story might seem incomplete. Giving a solid definition is a great way to give the hiring manager something with which to compare you to the other candidates.

Sample ‘Tell me About a Time When You Went Beyond the Call of Duty to Get the Job Done’ STAR Interview Answer

I was given an assignment at my last job, and the parameters were explained to me. While I was working on the assignment, I started to realize the parameters didn’t fit with what the end result should be. Instead of mindlessly doing what I was told to do, I evaluated the project to figure out what I would have to change to make it right. I went to my supervisor and explained what I found so I could be sure I understood the goals correctly. He was really glad I came to him because the calculations on the project were in fact wrong. For me, going beyond the call of duty means doing what is assigned to me but always making sure to put my best effort in. Thanks to my evaluation, the project was finished on time and done right.

Without the right preparation, behavioral interview questions may stump you during the meeting. Keep the STAR method in mind when you answer any behavior-related inquiries.

Rate this article

Tell Me About a Time When You Went Beyond the Call of Duty to Get the Job Done

Average Rating

5/5 stars with 1 reviews

Related Content