Showing Initiative: Work and Job Interviews

Good employees get the job done well, exceptional employees think outside of the box. This is why showing initiative at work is a skill that’s so highly prized by managers and employers. Whether you’re chasing a pay rise or promotion, or trying to get a brand-new job, showing initiative will significantly boost your chances.

Showing initiative at work


When considering you for a promotion or pay review, your bosses will want to know what value you add to the business. No one wants to lose a worker who really has a noticeable positive impact on the department or company as a whole!


There are many ways you can show initiative at work. The general idea is to be proactive while demonstrating your passion for the business and your ability to think creatively without being asked to. If you want to impress your manager by showing initiative, try the following:

  • Regularly try and suggest new and more efficient ways of working
  • Get used to sharing your ideas – don’t keep them to yourself
  • Seek alternative solutions to problems
  • Go above and beyond your job role
  • Think and act as part of a team, not just an individual
  • Show your confidence – even if you have to fake it!
  • Ask questions and seize any opportunity to learn

A few important things to remember

If you’re showing initiative at work, make sure your managers are seeing it. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you are doing and promote yourself a little. Be careful though, overstepping your mark or being cocky could rub other team members up the wrong way! Also, don’t get carried away with all of your good ideas and additional projects if they affect your ability to do your normal duties, otherwise all of your hard work will be undermined.

Showing initiative in an interview

Job interview questions about showing initiative

Recruiters and interviewers love it when you can provide evidence of your skills and achievements. The job market is a competitive place; hirers want to make sure they have the right person for the job, not just someone making empty claims. As such, a common way to start a job interview question is “Can you provide an example of when/how you…?”.

Your ability to take initiative may well be questioned in this manner, so it’s always wise to get a couple of examples ready as part of your interview preparation.

How to talk about showing initiative in an interview

If you’re asked to provide an example of how you have taken initiative in the workplace, make sure that you really sell it! It’s not enough to say what you did, try to tell a story. Choose an example of something that you achieved, explain how you did it and also, more importantly, talk about the positive effect it had on the team or business.

Show that you can take initiative throughout your interview

Since individuals who take initiative are so highly sought after, don’t wait to be asked about your ability to do so during a job interview – show it! Talk about how you show initiative and work proactively throughout the interview by tying examples into other interview questions.

In addition to this, going the extra mile by bringing supporting documents that highlight your achievements or any recommendations is a clever move! So, too, is asking good questions at the end of your interview.


Showing initiative is essential to career success. Demonstrating your ability and willingness to do so could land you your dream job, promotion or pay rise! Remember to go beyond the call of duty and tell others about what you get up to.

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