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How To Ace A Star Interview

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How To Nail A Behavioral Interview

How to ACE Your Next Behavioral Interview (don’t use STAR)!

Behavioral interviews focus on a candidates past experiences to assess how theyve navigated specific situations and utilized skills relevant to the position. Rather than asking theoretical How would you handle ___? questions, your interviewer will focus instead on concrete How did you handle ___? prompts.

  • Come prepared with examples of your past experiences. Questions asked in behavioral interviews should be based on the core competencies for the position, so give the job description a close read and think about experiences you have that demonstrate your abilities in desired areas.
  • When answering prompts during your behavioral interview, use the STAR format to effectively demonstrate your experience and impact. Heres how Allstate, which hires many students and recent grads on Handshake, suggests thinking about the STAR framework:
  • Situation: Describe and provide relevant details of your example, explain the context of the situation and why it connects to the question.
  • Task: Describe your role in the situation. This can help establish the level of responsibility you had in the previous role.
  • Action: Explain how you addressed the situation and what steps you took to overcome the challenge. A good answer shows how you added value to the situation and made logical decisions.
  • Loving your job is an important step in living a good life. Begin your adventure with Allstate to get the resources you need to bring your vision for success to life.

    What Is The Star Interview Method

    The STAR interview method is a technique you can use to prepare for behavioral and situational interview questions. STAR stands for: situation,task,action and result. This method will help you prepare clear and concise responses using real-life examples.

    Hiring managers ask behavioral interview questions to determine whether you are the right fit for a job. By using the STAR strategy, you can make sure youre fully addressing the interviewers question while also demonstrating how you were able to overcome previous challenges and be successful.

    Why Do You Want This Position

    Hiring teams include this question in interviews to determine how well you understand the job and the company. When you receive this question, you have an opportunity to demonstrate how much you have researched the organization and the job opening. In your answer, try mentioning the companys mission or accomplishments and the unique opportunities that the position offers.

    Example: The role aligns well with my experience and future goals. After working in a supervisory retail sales position for three years, I am adequately prepared to advance to a managerial role in the field. I am enthusiastic about the management and financial skills I can acquire through this position, and I am excited about working for an accomplished company that frequently exceeds its quarterly sales goals by 10% or more.

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    What Is The Star Method For Answer Interview Questions

    The acronym STAR stands for:-


    S: job seekers should clearly explain the situation or the task that requires completion.

    T: the candidate should explain the task that was completed in response to the situation.

    A: refers to action. This response should provide the details in a step by step fashion of the tasks completed to remedy the situation.

    R: is the result that occurred directly due to the actions taken.

    How To Prepare For Your Next Job Interview With Star:

    The STAR Method: How To Ace Behavioral Interview Questions

    Now as you prepare for your next job interview, make sure you follow this formula and you will ace the interview. I will come up with FIVE stories about my past experience & memorize the STAR method for those stories. Then, I will make a list for each of those stories and list the topics that question could be bucketed in to. Teamwork? Conflict? Cross-functional work? During an interview, that makes it so I can easily plug and play.

    What are you going to take to your next job interview? Comment below!


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    What Are Some Tips For Getting The Most Out Of The Star Method

  • Be prepared: Preparation is essential to using the STAR interview response method well. Going in with a solid set of targeted stories will not only make the interview easier for you but will also help the interviewer follow along and notice the specific qualities that make you perfect for the position and that set you apart from other job candidates.
  • Be specific: The STAR method works because it is focused and concise. This goes with being prepared. Before your interview, you should know which skills and qualities the company is looking for and pick stories that are specific and targeted. Remember, the point of this is to highlight past behavior that the hiring manager wants to see.
  • Be quantitative: Metrics tell the best stories. Where possible use data-driven metrics to communicate your success and use qualitative metrics as secondary proof.
  • Be concise: Use one to two sentences per letter of the STAR acronym. Dont add information that is irrelevant to the specific question. Hiring managers dont need to know the entire project history.
  • Be honest: This should go without saying, but a lack of honesty will undermine your credibility down the round. No one wants to hire someone they dont trust.
  • Star Method Example Response

    Example Question: Describe a time when you struggled to build positive relationships with virtual team members. How did you handle that?

    Situation: I was working on a small team tasked with planning a virtual training event for our company. None of us had met in person or worked together before. Difficulties in communication arose almost immediately with differing perspectives and no common ground.

    Task or Target: I had been looking for ways to take on a more leadership role and saw an opportunity in this situation to improve team dynamics so I offered to facilitate our meetings.

    Action: When I prepared for each team meeting, I included brief ice breakers at the start to help team members get to know each other and build trust. In addition, I contacted each team member after meetings to identify areas to be addressed in the next meeting.

    Result: As a result, the team started working really well together and our training event was a great success. Attendance was up 54% over the pervious year and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive.

    Reflection: Because of our teams success we were asked to do the event the following year as well. In addition, this experience has helped me bring together several other virtual teams that were struggling with engagement problems.

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    Describe A Time When You Had To Persuade A Coworker Or Manager

    Part of my role as a marketing strategist involved regular communication with clients and my manager to approve various aspects of their marketing campaigns. On one occasion, the client would not approve the artwork we created and wanted it redone , while my manager thought it met all the requirements and wouldn’t budge.

    After many meetings with the client, I could finally see that we missed a crucial aspect that should have been included. No one in marketing caught it, but the client did. I went to my manager and pointed out all the details of what we had missed–meaning we truly didn’t meet the client’s expectations.

    My manager finally agreed. We reworked the client’s art at no charge, and they’ve continued to use us for all their on-going marketing campaigns.

    Example Interview Questions And Answers Using Star

    How To Use The STAR Interview Method To Ace Your Next Interview

    Example Question #1

    Tell me about a time you had to complete a task within a tight deadline. Describe the situation, and explain how you handled it.

    Example Answer

    While I typically like to plan out my work in stages and complete it piece by piece, I can also achieve high-quality work results under tight deadlines. Once, at a former company, an employee left days before the imminent deadline of one of his projects. I was asked to assume responsibility for it, with only a few days to learn about and complete the project. I created a task force and delegated work, and we all completed the assignment with a day to spare. In fact, I believe I thrive when working under tight deadlines.

    Example Question #2

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    Train Your Brain To Accept New Information

    Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

    One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. Youll also need a specific time of day that youll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so youll notice youre starting to learn much faster by the day.

    What Is Your Greatest Achievement

    S – When I was a manager at Cafe X, we would always get a lot more customers than usual during the summer. It would almost always be packed, and sometimes, there were not enough servers to handle the work. And if someone got sick or unexpectedly could not show up – things were only worse.

    T – So, I had to come up with a system so that we would not get overwhelmed during those 3+ months.

    A – To make sure we were prepared, I realized we needed a better schedule. For the next summer, I had a very strict shift schedule ready, and a reward system in case someone couldnt show up for their shift. If someone called in sick, whoever filled in for them would be rewarded with extra pay. And if there was absolutely no one else available, I would personally fill in for them instead.

    R – Overall, the summer went pretty smoothly with minimal accidents. We didnt get ANY negative reviews on TripAdvisor for the summer .

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    Tell A Story Where You Succeeded

    Keep in mind that the purpose of the interview is to prove that you are capable and you highly qualify for the job position. You can do this only by narrating a success story. Do not talk about how you failed in a certain situation. Avoid drama at all costs. The story has to have a positive outcome. Also, always be honest. Its always better not to come up with lies just to ace an interview.

    Commonly Asked Behavioral Questions

    How to ace a behavioral interview in 2020

    Even though you will likely have to think on your feet, there are common behavioral questions you can prepare for. Most behavioral questions are going to focus on your ability to work collaboratively, lead, adapt, communicate effectively, and handle the pressure.

    The kind of role you are applying for can also provide you with insight into what kind of behavioral questions the interviewer may ask.

    For example, if you are applying for a customer service focused role, you can anticipate a question that will provide them with context on how you handle disgruntled customers or went above and beyond for a customer.

  • Tell me about a time when you were in conflict with a peer and how the situation was resolved.
  • Discuss a time when you had a disagreement with a manager. How did you handle the situation?
  • Tell me about a mistake you made, how did you handle it?
  • What is your biggest professional accomplishment, why?
  • Tell me about a time you handled an angry customer?
  • Tell me about a time you had to work under a lot of pressure and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a time you had an unexpected obstacle and how you handled it.
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    Telling A Story That Makes You Appear Unqualified Or Puts You In A Bad Light

    The opposite of this is also true. Dont tell a story where you are the only employee doing anything right ever. Nobody is absolutely perfect and telling a story where you singlehandedly saved the entire company from bankruptcy while also managing to fully fund the orphanage next door as well as the panda sanctuary down the street isnt going to just come off as impossible, its going to come off as fiction.

    Introduction To The Star Method Of Interviewing

    STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. First you describe a situation that you were faced with. Then specifically state which tasks were your responsibility, followed by the actions that you took when faced with that task. Finally, describe the results of the action and the resolution of the situation.

    The STAR method of interviewing is often used to describe interpersonal abilities such as teamwork, persuasive skills, creativity and perseverance.

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    How To Ace A Behavioral Interview

    Youve been prepping answers to tough questions and doing a lot of company research before your big interview next week. But, you just cant seem to shake the feeling that this interview might be more of the behavioral variety and that makes you nervous.

    Having responses ready for commonly asked questions and knowing which questions you want to ask the employer are important success factors for any interview. But what about those questions like, Describe how youd handle or, What would you do if?

    What Does Star Stand For

    How to Ace an Interview

    STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result:

    • Situation: Describe the situation you were in or the project you needed to accomplish. Use a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what experiences you have. Your response should provide the interviewer with enough details to understand the situation clearly. The specific situation can be from a previous job, volunteer role, or any relevant work experience.
    • Task: What goals were you working toward?
    • Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on your work. Hiring managers want to know what specific steps you took and what your contribution was. Be careful that you dont describe what team members or the company did when talking about the project. Focus on what your role was. Use I, rather than we when describing actions.
    • Result: Describe the outcome of your actions and dont be shy to take credit for your achievements. What happened? What metrics were improved? How did your customers react to the new feature? What did you learn? Make sure your story contains multiple positive results.

    By answering behavioral and situational interview questions with the STAR technique, you help the hiring manager follow along by providing a focused answer with a digestible but compelling story. It also helps them determine how well you might fit into the job.

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    Star Interview Question Examples

    Here are a few examples of common behavioral questions you might be asked during an interview:

    • Have you ever had to make an unpopular decision? How did you handle it?

    • Describe a time when you were under a lot of pressure at work. How did you react?

    • Tell me about a mistake youve made. How did you handle it?

    • Explain a situation where you used data or logic to make a recommendation.

    • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss. How did you resolve it?

    • Describe a time when you had to deliver bad news. How did you do it?

    • Tell me about a time you worked with other departments to complete a project.

    • Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a specific goal.

    • Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone to do something.

    • Describe a time when you had a conflict with a colleague. How did you handle it?

    • Have you ever had to motivate others? How did you do it?

    • Tell me about the last time your workday ended before you were able to get everything done.

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    Im A Student So What Interesting Challenges Can I Share During A Job Interview

    Undergraduate and graduate students can use the STAR method to describe challenges they faced during their academic training. However, it would also be acceptable and perhaps even more interesting to describe situations that they faced in different extracurricular activities.

    When I first interviewed for positions in the pharmaceutical industry, I used examples from my time in both the Penn Biotech Consulting Group and in the B.A.L.S.A. group. Working with others in a matrix or team environment leads to a lot of interpersonal interaction and rich experiences to draw on in future interviews. Check out our prior post on what you can do to make yourself more marketable for jobs in pharma.

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    Tips For Effectively Using The Star Interview Method

    Behavioral interview questions are often difficult to answer, but with good reason. Interviewers often use these questions to assess the capabilities of a candidate outside of experience and education. However, you can avoid common pitfalls with the following tips:

  • Answer the question asked. Make sure you understand the question before you launch into a lengthy response. Missing the point or answering the wrong question is a quick way to turn off an interviewer.
  • Donât memorize! This will make you seem stilted and robotic during the interview. It will also make improvisation more difficult if you need to change the focus of a response on the fly.
  • Avoid being vague. Interviewers are looking for specific examples with quantifiable, verifiable information.
  • Be honest. Donât lie or embellish your responses. Interviewers are very good at poking holes in stories.
  • Stay on track. Sometimes itâs easy to get lost in the middle of a story, or worse, forget the point. If you do get lost, stop and regroup. You donât want to ramble on aimlessly.
  • Only use positive examples. Make sure your STAR response has a happy ending. You are the hero of your story. So, make sure you donât flip over to the villain.
  • If you donât have an example, say so. If you donât have an experience that answers the question, it is better to say so upfront and respond hypothetically. Instead, describe how you would respond in the given scenario.
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