Tell me about a time you surpassed people’s expectations.

Added: 5 months ago
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Ajay Thakur
Ajay Thakur 4 months ago

In your question, employers want to know they are hiring high-quality people. If you have a story about surpassing an expectation, you’ve probably gone above and beyond the call of duty and that’s a great thing!

Check these mentioned below replies to your question:


As a young professional, I was given a small event to manage for my company's senior executives.

We originally expected about 50 attendees, but then the CEO decided to participate too. Suddenly, the event became much bigger with 400 people attending. We had to organize buses, food, scripted content, speeches and the program itself.

I stepped up and designed carefully crafted messaging documents for each stakeholder; had weekly check-ins with each group; and ran volunteer training sessions to be sure that all the logistics ran smoothly.

I learned the importance of careful planning and constant practice; two habits that have paid off on many projects since then. The event is now considered the most successful of our division. My boss praised my work for going far beyond what she expected when the project was first assigned.



In my role as Business Analyst, I was responsible for analyzing and implementing strategies for key products. Due to a combination of organizational restructuring and employee attrition, my team of four shrunk down to a team of two: my new leader and me.

At this stage, I combined some key skill sets. I used my technical expertise to create and automate new models that would capture potential opportunities, and my ability to communicate complicated results in simple language to support our sales team’s efforts.

The automation led to greater efficiency, and my communication and relationship-building skills helped the sales team create client-specific onboarding strategies. This enabled us to continue to keep the business going with minimal impact.

I was recognized by senior leadership for being able to pivot quickly in unpredictable circumstances and make the most of a difficult situation.

Why this answer worked well:

  • The candidate used both soft and technical skill sets to maintain output with reduced headcount.
  • The answer demonstrated a growth mindset by showing adaptability, innovation, and the willingness to rethink how their role can be done.


I had only been in my new role at a leading professional services firm for a few months when I got the call: “Can you make it to Atlanta tomorrow morning for a pitch meeting with a leading telecom company? We need all hands on deck!”

It turned out that the senior management closest to this client couldn’t make the meeting, so I led an 8-figure pitch. I leaned on my public speaking and presentation skills to carry the meeting and make a strong impression. I painted a picture of how we were uniquely qualified as the best partner for this piece of business, and peppered in some humility to make the firm look more “human.”

On our way back to the airport, a senior leader from our firm who had come along for optics told me that people at my level were not nearly this polished and that he would welcome me to future pitches to all of his clients. It felt great to have exceeded the expectations of this very senior leader and this incident set me on a path to success at the firm.

Why this answer worked well:

  • The candidate demonstrated the ability to quickly and reliably take ownership when needed.
  • The answer highlighted strong presentation skills, a positive attitude, and a willingness to be flexible.

Hope this can help you in the best way...


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