Interview questions and answers: Give an example of going the extra yard

This is a performance measurement interview question, which is sometimes related to job skills as well. It might seem like a pretty Gung Ho interview question. It's actually very penetrant, because your interview answer is going to tell them what you consider extra effort on the job.

It's now a common interview question, used where high workloads are normal. That interview answer can be very revealing. The interview question is designed to get a good indicator of your work quality, and it's verifiable information about performance.

Choosing a good example of extra effort in your interview answer

The good thing about this interview question is that you have a choice of examples from your past experience. The hardest part is picking a good example. Remember that the interview question is performance-based. Think of an example where you know you performed well, for your interview answer.

To simplify your choices:

  • Select an example where you were obviously doing more than was required in terms of your position.
  • Show job skills which match position criteria.
  • Show that your effort achieved something of value to the employer.
  • Explain your interview answer as a story, start to end, in sequence.

Your interview answer has to show both a positive effort and a positive result. Keep the story very simple, and make sure it's easy for the interviewers to follow.

Example

The job is a customer service job. The employer is looking for an interview answer which shows both practical job skills and extra work value.

The interview question is, 'Give an example of your customer service where you had to do more than the job required to achieve your result.'

'We recently had a customer with a real problem. She had to get an expensive formal gown altered and made up. She'd forgotten the date of the event. She arrived at 1 PM and had to be ready at 7PM.

I checked with twelve local tailors and three seamstresses to get the work done on time. It took me until 6:00PM, and that was five hours' solid work. I'm supposed to clock out at 4 PM, normally.

The customer was so grateful she sent me a bottle of champagne, and a letter of thanks to my manager. She's been a regular customer ever since.'

Analysis

This interview answer demonstrates:

  • Awareness of customer needs
  • Practical approach to the customer's problem
  • Clear extra effort
  • Ability to deal with demanding customer service issues
  • Knowledge of the industry
  • A positive result

The applicant has clearly shown extra effort, covering all requirements of the interview question.