Always included among my sample interview questions and answers is a situational question about your willingness to go the extra mile to resolve a problem or get something done.
In today's workplace, people are expected to wear more than one hat and go the extra mile to contribute to the success of their company.
Going above and beyond the call of duty doesn't necessarily mean repelling out of a helicopter or bungee jumping off a bridge. Often times it's adapting to changes in a shifting business climate or solving a problem before it gets out of hand.
Companies want to employ flexible people who are easy to manage and can make good judgement calls when the situation warrants. All of us have done this at some point in our careers.
Lori was a sales administrator for a highly successful Fortune 500 company.
When the economy took a nose dive, Lori's position was eliminated; however, rather than lay her off, the general manager asked her if she would consider stepping down to a receptionist.
Rather than turn her nose up at this offer, Lori decided to accept it...and made a commitment to make the most of it.
Before Lori took over this job, they couldn't keep a receptionist for more than a few months. It's was a thankless job that few could tolerate.
The phone rang constantly all day long.
80% of the callers were civil. The other 20% were upset, pushy, inconsiderate...or just plain rude.
Lori decided she wasn't going to take any of this personally. She was warm and engaging to everyone...especially customers.
And they loved it.
Lori literally became the face of this company.
She made it a point to know something personal about each customer which made them feel valued and appreciated.
If a good customer called in, and was noticeably upset, Lori occasionally made the judgement call to interrupt a manager in the middle of a meeting to assess the situation and take action.
Lori's attitude paid off handsomely for this company.
Members of senior management regularly received calls and emails mentioning Lori by name for her outstanding service and attitude.
If Lori were preparing for a job interview, how could she convey her story without sounding like she was bragging?
"One of my strengths is my willingness to adapt to change. I understand that during a business downturn I may be needed more in another department, or asked to make other sacrifices."
"As a matter of fact, when my current company was hit hard by the recession I was asked to step down as a sales administrator to a receptionist in the lobby."
"No one wanted this job because of the frantic pace and the challenges of dealing with the public. However, I gladly accepted the position and excelled at it."
"If hired by your company, you can depend on me to adapt well to change and to put my best foot forward."