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Tell Me The Difference Between Good and Exceptional


Interviews are one of the few events that make people nervous, anxious and whatsoever. The people who are in search of a job for more than 3 years would know the importance of preparing beforehand for an interview.

It is a struggle when you have no source of bread. Therefore, job seekers, you should focus on preparing for important questions beforehand.

For example, questions like ‘how do you feel when you get a no for an answer’ or ‘List the qualities of a good leader’ or ‘difference between good and exceptional’.

Here, in this article, I will try to list down a few ways to come up with a good answer to ‘the difference between good and exceptional’. Stay relaxed, for designing a good response does not take an eternity.

Difference between Good and Exceptional

How to Answer, “Tell me The Difference between Good and Exceptional”

Let us follow certain steps to get a better idea of how to construct a better answer that captivates your interviewer’s attention. Well, attention is the only thing you need to capture. Once you have the attention, your interviewer will serve you the opportunity right away.

1. Objective, perspective, and intention’s evaluation (of manager):

Questions like these are generally asked to make your viewpoint stand out. These questions at times bring the unconscious preference out for your interviewer to evaluate you.

The interviewer may ask this question based on the situation or the order of the question may vary depending upon your behavior. If you are someone whose family matters more than the career and you have not thought about this question thoroughly then you might end up answering it in the following manner.

Good is to provide the requirements to my family and to be exceptional is to provide everything I possibly can to my family.” Well, that is where you might end up losing the job. This is because the interviewer is trying to look for a person whose priority revolves around the progress of the organization.

2. Objective, perspective, and intention’s evaluation (of yourself):

The hiring manager’s perspective should match with what you are thinking. Never feel embarrassed for not starting your answer two seconds after the question was asked.

If you have not thought of the answer already or have not prepared for it then, at least take a couple of seconds (10-15 seconds) to frame the answer that you will provide. Secondly, your interviewer is here to investigate whether you fit perfectly in the workplace.

Moreover, the employers spend a good amount over the recruiting process; thus, they at least expect the employee to be up to their bar of expectation. If you perform a little less than the expectation then bid a farewell to this opportunity.

Think in the interviewer’s shoes and try to come up with a good and exceptional definition of a ‘good and exceptional’ employee in the workplace.

3. Let your answer set before vocalizing it:

Now that you have thought your answer through, let it set into a frame. Messy hair is avoided when you appear for an interview. Do you know why? It is because they are a part of casual wear; moreover, they make you look lazy and whatsoever.

On the same note, an answer that is messy in the presentation may also ruin your chance. If you came up with the best definition of a good and exceptional and hurriedly you stammer the answer then it would not do you any good.

You may be a good employee who always tries to complete the task according to the expectation in a fixed period; however, you need not mention it directly. Try to keep the reality at bay when you answer this question. You are not lying; instead, you are simply defining something according to you.

4. Support your answer with evidence (evidence of an example):

Coming up with a definition was indeed a good thing. Now let us move on to the next vital part of the answer. The example does matter a lot. Let us take an example to understand it better.

Imagine that your definition is ‘being good means being up to the mark while being exceptional means fulfilling every need without being told’. Well, now that I am talking about employees, employers, and interviewers the first thing that will come to your mind after hearing (reading) this definition is that it is about an employee.

However, your interviewer would not think the same way. He would need you to give a suitable example that fits well with his consent. He does not want any confusion regarding his objectives.

Perhaps it might be one of the requirements (expectation) that the candidate may fulfill. Moreover, giving an example is portraying your logical and analytical thinking. Therefore, make sure to add at least one example.

How Would You Prepare a Perfect ‘Example’?

Often we come across people who have mastered the written aspect of the language. They can form any answer well by proceeding systematically, one at a time. During the school days, we are often asked to write answers in a flow to gain full marks.

Therefore, we not only had to come up with an answer but also express it in a flow. However, some of us were never able to figure out the success mantra of the perfect formation of an answer. Well, you do not have to worry about it now; however, you would need to form a perfect answer verbally. Now, how would you do that? Keep in mind the following aspects to express your answer.

1. Definition:

Your definition should not be huge and filled with dictionary meanings. They should be basic and simple. The terms you use for defining both aspects need not be huge or technical.

As long as your definition serves the purpose of letting your interviewer know about your view, it will work. For example, you can say that a good performance is fulfilling the expectations of the management whereas exceptional performance is successful productivity, which exceeds the management’s expectations.

2. Evaluation with reality:

This is the fun part of your answer. All you need to do is evaluate the real instance and frame it for your answer. When the interviewer asks you this question, he somewhere is expecting something of your experiences. If you are a new hire i.e. a recent graduate, then, of course, you might not have the experience of working in any workplace.

However, you can come up with things like how you completed a given task by your teacher by working exceptionally hard. That may be about how you exceeded the teacher’s expectation by your not-so-ordinary work. However, if you have been a former employee then you must have at least one such incident that portrays your hardworking and ‘beyond the call of duty’ skills.

3. The actual implementation:

Now comes the final part of the process. Take your framed definition and combine it with the evaluated example of yourself. Portray your viewpoint and understanding regarding the topic.

You can also add the benefits of workplace productivity done by an exceptional employee and relate it with your skills. This answer will indirectly answer questions like ‘Why should we hire you?’ or ‘Why you are better than the other options (candidates)?’ Compare the qualities of the exceptional employee with yourself indirectly.

For example, you can say that ‘an exceptional employee is the one who balances both the management expectations as well as professional aims. On the same note, I always strive hard to exceed and excel in the management’s expectations along with my professional achievements.

Therefore, when your interviewer shoots this question at you, do not get nervous and mumble. Do you remember? In school times, the teacher used to ask the one who did not know the answer.

Thus, that person would start mumbling anything and it would irritate you (because you knew the answer yet you had to listen). That is the exact feeling of the interviewer. Therefore, do not stammer and nail it!

Errors That You Need To Avoid:

The following are the errors that you need to avoid while answering the difference between good exceptional. It is important to balance your answer. Try to show your interviewer that you are not a good employee but an exceptionally good one.

1. Never say that there is ‘no’ difference:

While answering any question (specifically this one) never start with negation or by saying that there is no difference. The dictionary definition will immediately deny. Moreover, your interviewer has asked the question that means there must be a reason for him to waste 10 seconds of his life. Think carefully and avoid answering any negations.

2. The example can justify the answer or definition 10x times better:

Do you remember your school days? Remember, when your teacher gave you innumerable definitions of the topic he taught without any example. The only thing that gave you an insight into the definition was a perfect example.

It not only made it easier to understand better but also to remember. Similarly, when you are explaining your interviewer, make sure to give him a perfect answer. Do not forget to add a perfect example that not only suits your answer but also tells the interviewer your view on the matter.

3. Example should not be biased (Balance your example):

The worst thing ever is to give an answer or an example with a biased viewpoint. Balance is an important aspect of nature. Similarly, your answers should be balanced equally on both sides.

For example, if you are giving an example supporting the definition of good and exceptional, then make sure that your example supports both the elements. Solely giving the example of good would not be an ideal way to end it.

4. Remember to stick to the company policy:

The excitement and the urge to answer sooner can make you do things unintentionally. These unintentional slips can cause you more harm than you can ever think. Companies have various policies, culture, rules, etc. and the employees are expected to stick to them.

On the same note, even the potential candidates are expected to know the policies well and to act accordingly. However, the unintentional slip up in this case may ruin the entire work altogether. Make sure that you stick to the company policies and/or philosophies, always.

Now that you know, the errors make sure to avoid them. Also, try to do plenty of research regarding the place that you are applying to. If possible, collect information regarding the company culture, workplace employees, policies, etc. This will make it easier to know what they expect from you during the interview.

Before we bid a farewell, let us have a look at a few sample answers that you might add in your answers during an interview (of course, no spoon-feeding).

Sample Answers:

  1. A good employee is the one who satisfactorily completes the assigned work on time. Whereas an exceptional employee is the one who tries to go beyond the call of duty.
  2. To be good is to be dedicated to completing a work, whereas to be exceptional is to be passionate, dedicated, and committed towards the work.
  3. To be good is to live up to the expectations whereas to be exceptional is to exceed and excel via beating the standard bars.
  4. To be good is to work in a given deadline, whereas to be exceptional is to provide quality work within the expected period.
  5. A good employee always makes sure to meet up with the required requests. On the other hand, an exceptional employee goes beyond the call of duty to complete the request.
  6. A good employee is the one who completes a given work for a client. An exceptional employee is the one who makes sure that the client is satisfied enough to visit again.

What is the Difference Between Good and Exceptional?

The main purpose of asking this question in an interviewer by the interviewer is to know what a candidate feels more important. The interviewer would also analyze the type or kind of work one will be performing.

Impressing your interviewer with your answer is very important as failing it can cost you the job opportunity. Now here are few points to consider while giving out the answer to the question in an interview.

  1. Start with explaining the good qualities of the employee like reliability, punctuality and hard work
  2. Brief how you are different by talking about your exceptional qualities like creativity and passion
  3. Tell them that you feel good is medium and you like to be someone beyond that
  4. Share a situation where you were exceptional on your part
  5. Share them a list of differences

Though the above mentioned are the points one should emphasize on while answering in the interview question, one should also have an idea about the mistakes to avoid.

Mistakes You Should Avoid:

  1. Do not brag that you are the only exceptional
  2. Never put down employees who are good
  3. Do not sound like you are the highest among all
  4. One should clearly state the difference rather than mincing the answer

Sample Answer to Tell Me The Difference Between Good And Exceptional:

I feel that a good employee will comply with time constraints, achieve the majority of their function admirably, cooperate with other people and moreover be unquestionably sound. On the other hand, an exceptional employee will show elevated levels of devotion, intelligence, teamwork and will be honorable.

A good employee is nothing to gripe about, but an exceptional employee is something to be pleased with. An exceptional employee will consistently endeavor to better themselves. They always aim high and never stop learning or trying and that makes them the best. They always feel that they need to improve and help the organization achieve success. I’m truly eager to get a chance to work at an organization that feels a similar way I do. I feel I will truly get the boost to turn out to be highly admirable for my work.”


Wherever you go, you would always find a sea of candidates in your way. Most of them may look better (than you are) but do not feel anxious about that. Therefore, use your time to convince your interviewer that you are better than the best (at least for the position that you have applied for). Try to be an exceptional employee rather than just being a good employee.