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How To Prepare For A Star Interview

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Benefits Of Using The Star Method


Using the STAR method to structure your responses to behavioral questions in an interview provides numerous benefits.

  • Show off your skills. By showing how you have used your skills and abilities in practical applications, you provide the interviewer with insights into how you will fit into their organization or company culture.
  • Give focused responses. A STAR interview response provides the interviewer with exactly the information they are seeking. This is critical when responding to behavioral questions as interviewers frequently will grade your responses to questions based on a STAR response.
  • Take the wheel. STAR responses allow you to control the direction of the interview and effectively highlight your strengths in areas where you have an advantage.

What Are Some Examples Of Behavioral Interview Questions

You know if you are encountering a behavioral interview question if it starts with, Tell me about a time. Or, if the question asks about your pasts . Some of the most popular behavioral interview questions are:

  • Tell me about a time you failed
  • When is the last time you had a conflict with someone in your office? How did you resolve it?
  • Tell me about a time a teammate made a decision you disagreed with. What did you do?

Were going to dive into how to answer a behavioral interview question in the next section, but I want to reiterate something very important. You cannot simply answer the question you are being asked. If someone says, tell me about a time and you just say what you did to help, you wont be answering the question to the best of your ability. Thats why you have to answer with the STAR method!

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Types Of Questions The Star Method Is Good For Answering

As noted above, the STAR method is predominantly used for answering behavioral interview questions, or questions that ask for specific examples of your behavior based on previous experience. These questions will always ask you to describe a specific situation in your experience to illustrate a job-related competency. They are easily identified by their lead in such as:

  • Can you provide an example ofâ¦
  • Have you ever encounteredâ¦
  • Tell me about a timeâ¦

Some common skill areas that behavioral questions are used to explore soft skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, conflict resolution, and the ability to manage work pressures. In many cases, the questions will explicitly ask you to describe a situation that had a successful outcome. However, the trickier questions will not. These questions can trip you up if youâre not careful.

You can also use this approach to add interest and effectively respond to a variety of other typical interview questions as well. For example:

  • Tell an anecdote that explains your current career goals.
  • Highlight your strengths and weaknesses using examples.
  • Tell a story about why your co-workers describe your work style the way they do.

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Share How You Took Action

Now that youve given the interviewer a sense of what your role was, its time to explain what you did. What steps did you take to reach that goal or solve that problem?

Resist the urge to give a vague or glossed-over answer like, So, I worked hard on it or I did some research

This is your chance to really showcase your contribution, and its worthy of some specifics. Dig in deep and make sure that you give enough information about exactly what you did. Did you work with a certain team? Use a particular piece of software? Form a detailed plan? Those are the things your interviewer wants to know.

Your Response :I started by going back through our old blog posts and adding in content upgrades that incentivized email subscriptionswhich immediately gave our list a boost. Next, I worked with the rest of the marketing team to plan and host a webinar that required an email address to register, which funneled more interested users into our list.

Have You Ever Faced Conflict Or Disagreement With A Coworker What Happened And How Did You Resolve It

Pin by Alaa Abdelaal on interview

S – Yep! During my internship at Company X, my team and I were supposed to work together and brainstorm new talent sourcing ideas for a client. The client was a large supermarket chain located in a very rural area, so they were struggling to source new talent.

T – Basically our task was to meet on a daily basis, brainstorm and finally settle on 3 great ideas. After a couple of meetings, we did have SOME ideas, but none of them were too exceptional. The management wanted something that they could confidently present to the client .

Some of my teammates wanted to just give up, say well, heres our ideas, we dont have anything else! and be done with it. Me and another teammate, however, wanted to work on it a bit more and come up with something that WOULD work.

There was a LOT of back and forth from there, the tensions were high, and the team kept shutting down all the ideas we were proposing. The deadline was super close, and had to figure out a way to move forward.

A – So, I gave it some thought, and realized that wed forever be in a deadlock if we continued like this. They wouldnt agree with our approach, and we wouldnt agree with theirs. So, we decided to bring in an unbiased third party who didn’t have any emotional investment here.

R – This really helped bring in something new to the table. The mediator helped sort through all the bad ideas, as well as infusing the team with some new energy.

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Using The Star Interview Method Effectively + Questions

From by Hannah Morgan 5 July 2021

If youve ever found yourself giving a long-winded, rambling interview answer, then you will absolutely benefit from learning the STAR interview method.

Its been around for years and its one of the best tricks to effectively deliver a concise and compelling interview answer.

In this article, youll learn how you can prepare in advance for almost any interview question and deliver STAR interview answers that truly showcase your skills and abilities.

When To Use The Star Method

While there are literally an unlimited amount of possible behavioral questions a hiring manager could ask you, there are several specific categories they all fall into:

Prior to going in for your interview, make sure you take a good hard look at the job youre applying for and use clues from that to prepare your S.T.A.R answers. By picking out what skills the company is specifically looking for or are required for the job, it will help you target your success stories.

MIKE’S TIP:A success story is a story from your past that clearly demonstrates you accomplishing a task that you were faced withyou possess the skill or ability needed to complete a relevant task in the futurechoosing the best success story for the situation is very important.

Anyway, once you have those skills identified, go through your own personal history and background and find success stories that align with those skills.

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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.
  • How To Use This Technique

    How to prepare for a behavioral interview

    These STAR interview questions are less likely to be asked during a phone screening interview. Early in the interview process, recruiters want to verify information on your resume and evaluate basic qualifications. Youre more likely to experience behavioural interviews during an in-person or video interview.

    The technical term for this type of questioning is behavioural interview. The questions are designed to evaluate your behaviours and skills. You can tell you are being asked a behavioural question because it starts with

    Tell me about a time when orGive me an example of

    In fact, interviewers who have received interview training, know how to listen for different elements of the STAR answer. However, since everyone has not received interview training, its good to know that even to the untrained ear, STAR interview answers are easy to follow.

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    What Is The Star Method And When You Should Use

    So, first things first – what is the STAR method, exactly?

    In short, the STAR method is a structured answer that can be used to answer most behavioral interview questions.

    Heres what it stands for:

    • Situation – Whats the context? Describe the situation or the background first.
    • Task – Talk about your responsibilities or the tasks you had to complete
    • Action – How did you fix the situation? Describe your process and the steps you took.
    • Results – Describe the results of your actions. If possible, use numbers or hard data .

    While you can use the STAR method for ANY interview question, its most useful for answering behavioral interview questions.

    So, what ARE behavioral interview questions, exactly?

    In short, theyre just like any interview question, but their main focus is on real-life work situations.

    Interview Question

    • Whats your #1 strength?

    Behavioral Interview Question

    • Give us an example of how you used your #1 strength at work, and what kind of results did it drive?

    Makes sense, right?

    Now, here are a few examples of what those questions might look like:

    • Can you give me an example of when you had to take charge in your previous position? What happened and how did you react?
    • Tell me about a time when you were faced with a tight deadline. Did you still manage to complete your tasks? How?
    • Have you ever set specific goals for yourself at work? How did you make sure you would meet your objectives?

    Practical Example

    Behavioral Interview Question:

    Sample Answer:

    Other Behavioural Questions Asked In A Job Interview

    Here are 17 other examples of logical questions you might get asked in an interview:

  • “Tell me about a goal you reached and how you achieved it.”
  • “Describe a goal you failed to achieve and what transpired.”
  • “Share a time you prioritised a task over something else and why.”
  • “Give an example of how you handle multitasking in one day.”
  • “Recount a long-term project you completed. How did you keep the project on time and organised?”
  • “Share a time you learned a new skill or responsibility quickly.”
  • “Discuss an example of when you made a tough decision.”
  • “Tell me about a time you had to be flexible.”
  • “Elaborate on the proudest moment in your professional career and why it is important to you.”
  • “Has there ever been a time you felt dissatisfied with your work or role and how did you handle that?”
  • “Share how you stay motivated when doing repetitive tasks at work.”
  • “Explain a project you feel affected your company significantly.”
  • “Recount a time you had to say no at work.”
  • “Describe a time you had to work closely with a colleague whose personality differed from yours.”
  • “Tell me about a time you considered yourself an excellent leader.”
  • “Share a time you felt you went beyond the standard responsibilities of your job.”
  • “Recount a time when you disagreed with someone.”
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    How To Use The Star Method

    The STAR method does more than help you meaningfully describe your skills to the interviewer. Using the STAR method helps give the interviewer insight into how you have used your skills to achieve the desired result.

    For example, if your answer to a question is, I raised revenue, thats great, but it doesnt mean much. You need to explain how you raised revenue and what that meant for the company. Doing this gives the interviewer more information about you, your skills, and how you approach and solve problems.

    The Star Response Method Explained

    The STAR Interview Technique

    The perfect way to respond to behavioral-based questions is with the STAR method. This is a structured way of forming a response. STAR stands for situation, task, action, result.

    The STAR format is a great way to think about forming your answers. Here’s what I mean:

    • Situation – Start off by framing the situations that you’ve experienced. This could be something that your supervisor has asked you to do, or a situation you recognized needed a fix.
    • Task – What was your role in the situation?
    • Action – What did you do? How did you handle the situation and what were the specific steps you took?
    • Results – What was the outcome?

    These four simple ingredients are all that you need to give the interviewer a solid response. Let’s move on to some examples of STAR-driven responses.

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    Describe A Time You Successfully Handled A Stressful Situation

    This question aims to learn how you deal with challenging situations using your problem-solving skills.

    Example:“My supervisor had a family emergency during a sales conference and left before we presented to advertisers. I had to finish the presentation with only a few notes my supervisor wrote before leaving. I called a meeting with my three other colleagues and together we made changes, strengthening our presentation. After pitching to the advertisers, we secured three new accounts and two other renewals.”

    Star Mistakes To Avoid

    Now that you know how to use STAR, heres a couple of things to avoid. Keep these common mistakes in mind as you structure your answers.

  • Dont exaggerate. You may feel the urge to embellish your stories to make them sound better or impress your recruiter. Resist that urge! You could get confused and mix up the story, which will throw up red flags, or maybe the interviewer knows someone who can verify the facts. Honesty is the best policy.
  • Keep it short. Keep the story to the point. Dont drag it out and add details that arent relevant to the job at hand. Its easy to get off track and overshare.
  • Once you have a solid list of stories, the only thing left to do is practice. Continue until youre comfortable with your delivery. Then, get out there and ace that interview!

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    Work With The Star Matrix To Prepare For Your Interview

    About a week before your interview, print out the STAR Matrix or work on screen. Go through the example questions on the left side of the grid and fill out a situation, task, action, and a result from your history.

    Don’t think of your answers as a script. This tool is more for jotting notes and reminding you of your past experiences, instead of writing a script that you need to memorize and recite back.

    If you fill out the spreadsheet, you’ve done the hard work: you’ve put the answers at the forefront of your mind and you’ll have the answers ready when the interviewer asks.

    Tips For Extroverts And Introverts

    How to use the STAR method to answer interview questions

    When it comes to presenting yourself in an honest and positive light, there are some universal tips out there. Its a good idea, for example, to master the STAR method of answering questions. But its also wise to consider your personalitys strengths and weaknesses in the context of an interview.

    Introverts and extroverts handle social situations very differently and accordingly bring their own assets and challenges to the table.

    If you feel energized after social interactions, if you are whats commonly known as a people person, you can put that rapport-building talent to work for you. Being enthusiastic and a good storyteller can burnish your image, for example. But take those qualities too far, and you can appear disingenuous or sales-like, which might hinder you.

    Keep in mind the importance of being yourself but not selling yourself, asking questions about the company and interviewer, and responding to the social cues the person youre talking with is giving you.

    For people who identify as introverted, interviews present a unique challenge: Feeling comfortable with someone takes time for an introvert and time is one thing you dont usually have in an interview. Still, there are ways to hack this structural disadvantage. For starters, youll need to practice reviewing your experience and answers to common interview questions.

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    Do You Prefer To Work As Part Of A Team Or Independently

    Admittedly, in the land of teamwork interview questions, this ones a little roundabout. It isnt directly asking about your teamwork capabilities. Instead, it focuses on your preferences.

    But how you answer matters. If you focus a ton of your reply on your desire to work independently, the hiring manager may doubt your ability to excel in a team-oriented environment. Thats why you need to handle this question tactfully.


    I enjoy splitting my time between working as part of a team and working independently. In my past positions, for solving problems and handling large projects, being part of a group was usually beneficial. It spurred creativity and innovation while also ensuring access to a larger cumulative skillset. At times, I found that detail-oriented tasks with highly defined processes were better accomplished independently, as it made maintaining focus easier. Each approach has its place, so I embrace them both depending on the situation at hand.


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