Imagine a typical New Year’s Eve. Daydreaming about the year ahead, you come up with some resolutions. Finding a new job, or a new love, starting to exercise regularly, losing weight. Everything seems easy, or at least doable, especially if you’ve already had a glass of wine or two. Life seems a beautiful promise, an adventure… Two weeks ahead, and you’ve already forgotten on your gym card. With work and other obligations you barely find time to do any exercise, and new job (or new love) will have to wait another year. You made commitments to yourself, but didn’t deliver on any of them… Does the story sound familiar to you? And won’t it be the same story in your new job?
Hiring managers know that people love to commit to this or that cause, promising to do this or that thing. Perhaps it helps us feel good about ourselves, it helps us find the meaning in our routine life, and routine job. But what matters is not the goal or the promise. It is our discipline, the day after day grind that is necessary to achieve any worthy goals in life. Hiring managers wonder if you have this in you, because the managers and employees do. That’s why they inquire about a time when you delivered on your commitment, whatever it was.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting interview question. I tried to include on the list also answers for people with no working experience, and also some unconventional and rather philosophical answers. I hope at least one of them will resonate with you, and with the message you try to convey in your interviews.
7 sample answers to “Give an example of a time when you delivered on your commitment” interview question
- My last job is the best example. In my previous two roles I always struggled with relationships. Somehow I could not build a good working relationship with my colleagues, and conflicts happened on a daily basis. And it impacted how I felt in the job, and was one of the reasons why I left one time, and they sent me packing another one. After it happened, I made a commitment to myself that I would be more proactive in building relationships with my colleagues. Before I always waited for them to make the first move, thinking it was right since I was a new force in the company. But now I was determined to take the initiative, to talk to people, to take interest in their needs and feelings, to look for things we have in common. And I delivered on my commitment, though it wasn’t easy to do so, and I had to overcome my fears. Taking honest interest in people and building bridges instead of fences, I finally managed to enjoy my time in the job, and make friends. But every story has a beginning and an end… I relocated and could not do this job anymore. That’s why I am here with you today.
- In my last job in sales I made a big commitment. I decided to make at least 50 sales calls a day–that means calls when the person on the other end answers the phone, and doesn’t hang up immediately. It was an ambitious commitment, but I knew that sales is a game of numbers, and in order to achieve my monthly sales targets, I had to make a certain number of calls. Well, I can tell you it was really hard, especially when I didn’t have enough leads, had to stay at work overtime to make 50 calls, or when I had to deal with some nasty rejections on the day. But I stuck with it, day after day, and eventually became the second most successful sales person in the company. I think it proves my discipline, and no doubt I hope to benefit from it in my new job as well.
- I made a commitment to donate 5% of my income to charity each month. Working as a an engineer and earning a pretty good salary, I just felt it was the right thing to do, seeing the situation in the world, and how many people struggled with food, drinking water, etc. So I made my research and found three charities I wanted to support, one in US, one in Africa, and one in the Middle East. Then it wasn’t hard to deliver on my commitment. I just had to set things with my bank, making sure a certain amount of money goes to each charity every month. This happened two years ago, and I am still sending the money, regardless of the economic crisis and the fact that I am now looking for a new job.
- I am actually delivering on my commitment right now. I’ve been with my present employer for over a decade, and I really feel that I am stagnating in the job. The same routine, same people, no room for progress, no opportunities to learn something new. On New Year’s Eve I committed to myself that I will look for a new job, despite the fact that I earn well, and have good relationships with my colleagues. Here I am in the interview with you, following my New Year’s resolution.
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- This is my first job application, hence I cannot talk about commitment made at work. But I committed to doing something more during my studies, meaning that I didn’t want to waste all my free time just drinking and watching TV series in the dorm. I decided to enroll in some courses outside of my curriculum, and also to read two books a month. I managed to do so for my entire time at college, and I believe it helped me a great deal with my writing skills, which I hope will help me a lot in my professional career.
- To be honest, more often than not I did not deliver on my commitment. For example, I tried to quit smoking about a dozen times. Sometimes I managed to live without cigarettes for a day, sometimes for a week, and perhaps my longest span was a month. But I’ve always failed to quit permanently, and eventually returned to my bad habit. I think I learned some important lessons along the way though, for example how important it is to share your commitment with someone, to have someone supporting you on your way. I have never had such a person on my side, and that’s perhaps the reason why I failed. Anyway, I prefer to focus on the future, instead of dwelling on the past. I definitely want to set some goals in my new job, and will try my best to meet them, with the support of my colleagues.
- What does it really mean, to deliver on your commitment? I feel that it is often overrated, because how hard it is to do something always depends on whether or not we have to venture outside of our comfort zone. What I try to say here is that delivering on a commitment to stay 1 extra hour art work each day isn’t a big thing, if you spend that extra hour chatting with your colleagues or drinking coffee in the kitchenette, or browsing social media. In my opinion, in order to grow both personally and professionally, we have to set big goals, bordering our possibilities. In such a case it often happens that we do not deliver on the commitment, even though we gave it our best. But to me, it is much better than actually achieving a goal that is easy to achieve… In my life I mostly haven’t delivered on my commitments, but it doesn’t mean I am lazy. I simply “aimed for stars and reached just the Moon”, if you know what I mean.
Attitude and effort counts the most
At the end of the day, hiring managers do not care much about a particular situation you narrate in your interviews, though they certainly enjoy more hearing an interesting story, or reflection, than a boring one. They care mostly about your attitude.
As long as they see that you enjoy setting ambitious goals, that you do not mind to commit to a good cause, to venture out of your comfort zone, that you do back up as soon as facing the first obstacle, they will be satisfied with your answer. Whether you eventually delivered on your commitment or not isn’t the most important thing. Whether you gave it your best effort is…
Ready to answer this tricky interview question? I hope so! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other interesting questions:
- Describe a time when you had to work with someone very different to you.
- What inspires you in life?
- Tell us about a time when you had to meet a tight deadline.