Job interviews can be nerve-racking experiences, but you can make things easier on yourself by preparing for a few frequently asked questions. Most interviews include questions about past work experience, education background, and specialized skills.

In this blog post, I explain how to respond to the “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty at work?” related questions. When you’re ready, scroll down and take note of the sample answer that resonates with you.

Examples Answers of Going Above and Beyond at Work

prepping for interview

Me when preparing for an interview.

  • My boss and I were scheduled to attend a meeting with heads of different departments when he suddenly advised me that he can not be in said meeting due to something urgent had come up. I went to the meeting all by myself and could proudly say that I was able to successfully discuss not only the issues under my section but also those in the other areas that I did not supervise. I took diligent notes and provided an overview to my manager up her returns.
  • My place of work is a two-hour ride from home. Despite the distance, I willingly stay in the office late at night to finish projects ahead of their deadlines. I don’t want to cram or rush things since this could lead to mistakes. Neither do I want to delay others because of delays on my end. On average, I work 50 hours per week instead of the standard 40 due to my dedication.
  • A coworker often encountered run-out problems with the materials she was handling. I asked her to show me the file she was using to compute delivery requirements based on inventories and safety-stock levels. In the file, I saw that she had no safety-stock levels considered in the computation, hence, hand-to-mouth situations arose most of the time. I taught her how to revise her file to ensure zero or at least minimal run-outs. This helped save the company 20% of food orders since we were able to project inventory needs better.

Doing workflows was one of the things I did in my other job. When this was needed in my current work for systems improvement, I reached out to do it even if this was very different from my present task. By doing so, our department was able to complete the data needed by the systems team.

  • The inventory section of our company had problems ensuring that all items are to be used up before they age. Though I belonged to another group, I volunteered to help by giving them additional manpower and overseeing operations in detail. With this, goods did not become obsolete and millions were saved.
  • One of my coworkers always had delays in finishing projects assigned to her. I tried to analyze in what area she was having problems and helped her come up with Excel files that could improve what she was doing. This helped cut her manual effort by 50% and allowed her to take on additional duties in the company.
  • A new team member found it difficult to adjust, causing some problems at work, especially with her boss. I went out of my way to ask her what was troubling her and after understanding the issues, I was able to suggest ways to improve her tasks and give her the confidence she needed. I uncovered that some setting were incorrect on her laptop and the area she worked was too noisy. After implementing these changes, things changed for the better afterward.
  • In one of the meetings I attended, I noticed some errors in the file presented by another team. I discreetly discussed this with the one in charge so that they can arrive at a correct conclusion. This prevented the company from spending money unnecessarily.

Going Above and Beyond for Customers

  • There was a customer who had problems with a unit he recently bought from our store. Unfortunately, our technicians were both out of the office at that time. Being a cashier, I didn’t know anything about the technicalities of the product but I tried to solve the problem by contacting online help. The problem was solved after a few minutes.
  • A customer was having problems with a phone she just bought. I attended to her even if I knew that she bought it from a different store, not even another branch like ours, and even if I had other customers in line. I went out of my way to meet this customer on a Sunday outside of regular business hours and didn’t expect to be compensated for the work.
  • An angry customer was so disgusted with the product she purchased from a section of our department store that she was shouting so loudly and embarrassing the salesgirl attending to her. Although I was in charge of another section, I came in to intervene and calm her down. I listened to her issues and realized that the customer was having a tough day and had been through a recent break up. We chatted about her relationship, hugged, and the customer apologized for her actions.
  • I remember a time when I had to wait for our bank’s customer past office hours. An important account was supposed to be in our branch before closing time but due to the traffic, she did not make it. I suggested that she still come so I just waited patiently with my boss and another colleague. She truly appreciated the sacrifice we made and the experience encouraged her partners to become clients of our bank, too. This simple action resulted in 3 new 6 figure investment accounts with the branch.

Related Reading: 101+ Smart Thank You Messages to Send after a Promotion 

  • Our department store had a no-return, no-exchange policy if the receipt cannot be presented. One afternoon, an old woman approached me to ask if she can have the new pair of shoes she purchased to be replaced because of a tear in the inner sole of one shoe. She lost the receipt but was really pleading that the item be replaced. I asked my supervisor if this was possible. We went to the sales persons in the shoe section and one confirmed that she remembered this lady buying the shoes. The replacement was allowed so the lady left the store with a smile.
  • Airports are places where the stress level of people is really high. A clear example was when a woman in her fifties arrived to check in her luggage almost near boarding time. When she realized that she was really late already, she started to shout and cry. It’s good that I was at the right place and time. After asking what the problem was, I called up all the necessary personnel to advise of the delay and make adjustments. This lightened the woman’s stress.
  • One of our bank customers needed documents to be picked up at a branch that’s far away. To make things easy for this customer, I called up the branch concerned to ask if they can just send it to our branch. Luckily, there was someone who was going to our branch the next day. The customer was so happy and relieved that he need not travel far to get the documents he needed.
  • I’m a sales lady in the gown section of a department store. One day, a woman in her sixties tried on a gown she has been eyeing for days. She was so dismayed to find out that the gown did not fit her perfectly. I helped her and saw that only a few adjustments had to be made. I even accompanied her to where the gown can be sewn. She was so happy for my help.

Going Above and Beyond for Customer in Restaurant

  • In the restaurant where I work, there was an instance when a couple came in and the wife was looking for vegan dishes. We did not have any on our menu so I suggested the restaurant next to us. But since the husband wanted to eat at our place, I borrowed the menu of the vegan restaurant and placed the wife’s order where she ate it in our restaurant.
  • Customer complaints in restaurants are very common. One complaint that I remember was from a man who saw a dead fly in the bottom of his glass after finishing his soda. I gave him a full meal in exchange for what happened, and also added coupons for his kids.
  • A customer wanted to have gluten-free food. Since we didn’t have this on our menu, I asked the kitchen staff to prepare one for the lady. She thanked me profusely after.

One of our customers asked where she could buy a cellphone charger since she had to make a very important call. I noticed that we had the same phone model so I lent her mine. She was so thankful that she bought a lot of food to be brought home.

  • Tourists often come to our restaurant. While they are enjoying their meals, we suggest places that they can visit. We also go the extra mile by giving them free snacks like cookies that they can munch on while traveling. They are so happy that they have recommended us to many of their friends.
  • In our restaurant, we try to remember not only our customers’ names but their birthdays and anniversaries, as well. We prepare special desserts for them if they celebrate special occasions with us.
  • We make it a point that each and every customer in our restaurant need not call us. We are at their service in a blink of an eye. Their water glasses are refilled at once when necessary. Also, we always serve with a smile. They show their appreciation by thanking us profusely and by giving generous tips.
  • We serve our customers with love. We ask if they want their dishes to be reheated if they need more ice for their drinks, or how they want their coffee to be served. We pack foods to go in separate small bags and just ask them if they need one bag to hold all. We always serve with a smile and a gentle bow.

Confidence is the X factor in an interview.

Going Above and Beyond for Coworkers

  • When one of my coworkers passed away, all of his responsibilities were transferred to a coworker who already had too much on her hands. To make things easier for her, I offered to help. I did some of the tasks until a new person was hired.
  • Due to the floods that made our office not anymore fit to work in, we were transferred to a new location that was three hours away from our homes. Because of the distance, I noticed that my coworkers were not motivated and were really devastated by what has happened, especially the long travel time. I planned to have team-building activities to bring back their morale and motivation. But since the company did not have the funds for these, the money for these came out of my pockets. Well, at least, I made them happy again and eager to work.
  • Our team had to migrate to more modern technology to ensure an optimum inventory level for all materials we handle. Though I was not a member of the technical team, I suggested ways of how the integrators can easily understand what we are doing and thus be able to really improve our system. It’s good that I had a good background in systems analysis in my past work.

Hiring chefs?

  • In our kind of work, problems arise even beyond office hours. There was an instance when a coworker who had to finish some tasks had to go to the hospital due to an emergency involving a relative. Since I was familiar with his work, I volunteered to stay and finish his work so that he can leave.
  • We have weekly meetings wherein managers lay out their team’s objectives, problems, and solutions. In the past two meetings, I noticed that one manager always presented the same problem but was not able to find the correct ways to solve it. I suggested some corrective actions from a proactive insight, and it turned out that what I proposed was the right solution to the problem.
  • I had a teaching background since this was my first profession. When the time came when my teaching skills were needed, I did not hesitate to put them to use. I was very happy to be able to contribute to our company.
  • Mentoring coworkers who have difficulties in their job is not an easy task. However, to make matters easy for all, I went out of my way to train a coworker who was relatively new to our group.
  • One of my coworkers failed to save an important file on his laptop. Since only a few minutes were left before the start of the meeting where the file will be used, I helped him do it. It was so challenging that we finished it just in time for the meeting.

Going Above and Beyond for Clients

  • There was a walk-in customer in our insurance agency who wanted to place an heir’s bond. After going through the requirements, she asked how much the bond would be. This is normally given around two weeks after the requirements have been passed and are computed by the finance section that holds office far from ours. Since the customer was insistent on knowing the estimated bond amount, I went out of my way to ask our finance team that this be computed at once.
  • I sell homes. Most of my clients are from different parts of the country and some are even based abroad. To make things easy for them, I help them process papers and pay for the necessary fees.
  • In our salon, there was a lady who spilled coffee on her top. She had an important engagement afterward, hence, was stressed out. I suggested that I buy her an outfit in the boutique nearby. She was so thankful for my gesture.

Related Reading: 97+ Critical Thinking Questions to Test Employee Decision Making 

  • Being able to empathize with clients is very important. A client called us up past 6 pm to ask help for with a laptop that does not work. Files for his next day’s meeting are in said laptop and the client was so afraid that the files would not be recovered. Though I am part of the sales team and not the technical team, I asked him to bring the laptop to our office so I can check on it. With the help of our technical people and some online references, I was able to make the laptop work.
  • Clients are the heart of a business. In our bank, we make our clients feel that they are part of our family. Snacks are offered, updates are given through email or text regarding high-interest deposits or trust funds, and we give high-value presents, not just the ordinary giveaways, to let each of them feel that they are important. There are times when some expenses come out from our pockets, but we do not complain just as long as our clients are happy and growing in number.

Taking notes during an interview.

Going Above and Beyond for Customer Service

  • Our diner does not deliver customers’ orders. This has been our rule from the start. I broke this rule when someone in distress called asking if we can deliver her order since she can’t leave her place because she was incapacitated at that time. She was so happy and gave me a generous tip.
  • A customer went to our store to complain about a unit she bought. I really had no idea how her problem can be solved so I asked the help of others. After an hour, luckily, I was able to solve the problem.
  • I’m a manager in our department store. When I was doing a general inspection one day, I came across a disgruntled customer. I handled the situation myself knowing that immediate solution to the problem is necessary.

We manage a pet grooming service center. There was a time when a dog was mishandled by one of our staff. To abate the owner’s anger, we wrote a sincere letter of apology and offered free services for 6 months though this was not really our protocol.

  • We show that we value our customers by messaging them to confirm the stocks they ordered, by informing them when their order will be in transit and the expected time of arrival in their place, and by asking them, upon delivery, if our goods met their expectations. We don’t just send what is ordered. We communicate with our customers to show that we value them.
  • With the high competition in eating joints, we offer different services to our valued customers. Repeat orders are given discounts. Valet service is provided when parking is difficult. Delivery is done when loyal customers cannot come to our place. This is not a standard protocol, but we go beyond our duty to make our customers feel important.
home chefs

You’re hired.

  • As a barista, I often ask the customers how their day is. Though not all take my question seriously, there are some who give an indication that they have had a rough day. I try to lighten up their mood by surprising them with a free cookie accompanied by a little note. I know that this is just a sweet gesture from me, but their smiles show how thankful they are.
  • I am close to my grandparents which is why when old people come to our hostel, I really pay close attention to their needs and do my best to make their stay very comfortable. I see to it that they have water and coffee or tea and biscuits all the time. I communicate with them and ask them where they are headed to so that I can make their trips easier and more fun.

Related Reading: 40+ Sample Thank You Message Emails to Send After an Interview 

  • We have a new coffee shop branch so we made the best we can to let each, and everyone enjoy his stay at our store. Aside from offering free upgrades to their orders, we gave free bags of coffee beans, too.
  • Being a barista of a famous coffee shop, I make sure that the drink ordered comes up to standards. When a customer is not happy with what he ordered, I change the drink until it meets the customer’s satisfaction.
  • I make everyone who enters our restaurant feel important. I try to remember their name and their order. On their next visits, I make it a point to call them by their names and ask if they would order the same meal or drink as what they ordered before.
  • Our company has been using an old computer system in generating the material requirements for Production and in coming up with the quantities to be purchased. It was so slow that it came to the point that we had to migrate to an updated and a newer system so that work will be faster and the output will be more reliable.Although I was not a part of the technical team, I managed to provide valuable inputs so that those in charge of making the new program will clearly understand what our needs are, and how the computation should happen. I gave them a workflow & process presentation, with all the necessary details. They thanked me a lot since what I did made them understand everything clearly and faster.

Why do employers ask this interview question? What’s an employer trying to find out?

In an ideal world, businesses would only hire rock-star employees that are extremely efficient, smart, and hard working. This interview question is a test to determine if a potential employee has gone above the call of duty in the past at work. Here are a few reasons this question is asked in so many interviews.

  • The question demonstrates if a person is committed to his job and is not the type who will just be doing what his basic responsibilities are.
  • The response gives the interviewer an idea if the person is willing to do his best for the company. Sacrificing for the company’s sake, setting aside one’s personal preferences for the company, putting the company as the top priority, doing everything possible to for the company’s improvement – all of these can be seen in the interviewee’s reply.
  • The question allows job seekers to paint a picture about the type of employee they will be. Highly motivated? Proactive? Will the applicant exceed goals or just scrape by.

Want to start your own food business?

Hey! 👋I’m Brett Lindenberg, the founder of Food Truck Empire.

We interview successful founders and share the stories behind their food trucks, restaurants, food and beverage brands. By sharing these stories, I want to help others get started.

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