You are proactive, and try your best in the job every day. You give your heart to the tasks you work on, and do not let your colleagues down. In your life outside of work, your friends can rely on you, and you are the one who picks the phone, instead of waiting for the others to call you. Showing initiative comes naturally to you, yet you are not sure how to describe it in an interview. How to describe it in a way that the hiring managers will get the right impression, and that they will eventually give you the job. If that’s the case, you have come to the right place, because I will show you now 7 great example of showing initiative in the workplace, including some answers for people with no previous working experience.

Before we start though, I want to make sure you remember two things: First one is enthusiasm in your voice. They should get an impression that you have passion for what you do, that showing initiative and being proactive is very natural to you. And secondly, the more details you provide the better, since it makes your answer sound more trustworthy. Take the list below as a guide. Choose one of the answers you like, and than change it a bit to make it unique, and to fit your job and life situation. Enjoy!


7 examples of showing initiative in the workplace

  1. It may seem like a trivial thing, but in my last job I noticed the we missed flowers in the office, something green. The space was rather dull, and since I believe that such things impact the productivity negatively, I suggested to my manager that I will bring some flowers and plants, and that I will take care of them. Gardening and growing plants is my hobby, so I didn’t find it as something hard to do. They really liked the idea, and it made the office much more beautiful. I do not work for the company anymore, but I believe I left my mark there, and that the plants are still in place, and make the workplace nicer for everyone.
  2. In my last corporate job I came to a conclusion that some processes were rather outdated, and that we actually wasted time with certain tasks. You know, it was a smaller company, family run, not some big corporation where many process managers work and make sure everything works exactly as it should. Instead of complaining and following the processes in place, I came out and suggested improvements. Prepared a presentation for the owners and managers, and clearly demonstrated that we can save a lot of time with a few simple changes. They liked some of my ideas and did not like others, but I am still happy that I was proactive and tried to change something in the company for better.
  3. This is my first job application, but I want to ensure you that I am someone who shows initiative. At school I participated in organizing the yearly carnival, and also volunteered as a resident assistant. What’s more, I am the one of my friends who comes up with ideas on how to spend the evening, or where to go for a trip. You can be sure that once you have me in your team, I will show initiative, from day one in the job.
  4. Up to this point I had only simple part-time jobs, like cashier for example. However, even there I showed initiative. For example, where there weren’t any customers waiting in front of my stand, I went and helped the stock clerks with their job, or took a broom and cleaned the floor. I am someone who likes to be busy at work, someone who doesn’t like wasting time or playing with their smart phone. It is also true that time flies more rapidly when you are working, and that’s why I always try to work on the shift, or at least help someone else, regardless of how busy the store is at the moment.
  5. I’ve never worked anywhere, but I believe my sporting career is a good example. When others were already in the showers after the training, I stayed on a pitch for a bit longer, practicing the throws, running sprints. I also trained on my own, in my free time, just to make sure that I will maximize my potential as an athlete, and get the desired result. It still wasn’t enough to reach the professional level, and now I am looking for a job, but I can assure you that I am one of those guys who always gives his 110% to anything they devote themselves to. And I want to do the same in the job.
  6. Working as a nurse, I consider my job more as a mission than only as a profession. I believe this reflects in the way I treat the patients, my colleagues, and basically everyone I come in contact with in the place where I work. What I try to say here is that I do not limit my activities to the list of my working duties. If I have some spare minutes, I will go and talk to the patients, trying to make their time at least a bit better. Or I see something that’s not well cleaned and I pick a mop and clean it myself. I do not know if you call this showing initiative, but it is what I do at work, and what I enjoy doing. It just gives you a good feeling from the job.
  7. In my last job in a book store I showed a lot of initiative to make sure people get the best possible level of customer service. You know, just approaching them, praising some books they were looking at, giving recommendations, being nice. I did not have to do it, it wasn’t on the list of my duties. Could have just waited until people approached me with their questions. But I opted for a different approach, and believe that it showed on the number of sales I generated while working there. Books are my passion, and it is definitely one of the reasons why I want to work in a library now, applying for a job with you.

So that’s it! I hope that after reading the answers you have some idea on how to convince the hiring managers that you like to show initiative, and have proactive approach to work. If you’re still not sure, I suggest you to check the following articles:

Matthew Chulaw
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