Get To Know The Star Method
The STAR Method is a classic approach to answering behavioral interview questions. It allows you to turn a generic response into a compelling story. Thats why, when youre trying to figure out how to prepare for a job interview, learning the STAR Method is a must.
While we took a deep dive into the STAR Method before, heres an overview. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. Its an approach for outlining how an event arose and played out, making it ideal for structuring how you discuss an accomplishment.
With the STAR Method, you can make sure the hiring manager has every critical detail. Youre showing them how you put your skills to work, giving them important context about how you perform on the job.
Before The Interview: Research The Company
- It might be important to first determine if you are a good fit for the position and company. Review the required skills and expectations carefully.
- The interviewer will expect that you have taken the time to read about their company. Most likely, you will be asked questions relating to the company and its culture. BE PREPARED!
- Be familiar with the corporate web page. Your knowledge of the company will come in handy during the interview.
- Research and compose a list of questions about the companys services, products, and philosophies.
- *Examples: What is unique about them? Who are their competitors? Who are the key people? What is the structure? What are the target markets? What is their mission and goals? Etc.
- Write down several reasons you would like to work for that company.
Make A Good First Impression
The second you step through the door or join the virtual interview before even introducing yourself to your interviewer you are already making your first impressions. So, on the day of your interview, ensure you:
- Refresh your mind of the job description, your CV, and any key notes you have made
- Be polite to everyone you meet, including receptionists and passing employees
- For a face-to-face meeting, wait professionally in the reception area before youre invited for your interview. Rather than scrolling through your phone, look around you. Are there posters that tell you more about the organisation? Or marketing materials like booklets that you could flick through? This will not only help to illustrate your interest in the company from the outset, but will also teach you more about the organisation
- Arrive on time being 10 minutes early is best. For a video interview, be sure you are ready to go 10 minutes prior to the meeting.
- For a face-to-face meeting, when you meet your interviewer offer a firm handshake and a big smile will do wonders. Some small chit chat from the reception area to the interview room will also help make a good first impression.
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Tips For After The Interview
When the interview is over, give yourself the best chances of moving forward by doing the following:
20. Ask about next steps. After your interview, it is appropriate to ask either your interviewer, hiring manager or recruiter about what you should expect next. This will likely be a follow-up email with results from your interview, additional requirements like an assignment or reference list or another interview.
21. Send a personalized thank you letter after the interview. Ask for the business card of each person you speak with during the interview process so that you can follow up individually with a separate thank you email. If you interviewed in the morning, send your follow-up emails the same day. If you interviewed in the afternoon, the next morning is fine. Make certain that each email is distinct from the others, using the notes you took during the conversations.
How To Answer A Behavioral Interview Question
The best way to prepare for and answer behavioral questions might be the STAR Method, a technique that helps your answers really shineâbad pun intended.
Here is what the STAR Method stands for and how to apply it to behavioral queries:
S = Situation. Ask yourself, what was the problem? Be as specific as possible.
T = Task. Then, determine what the goal wasâask, what did you need to do?
A = Action. Identify the specific steps you took to reach the goal.
R = Result. Report the final outcome. This is the time to talk yourself up. Take credit for what you accomplished, and if you can highlight multiple positives, even better!
Now that you know the steps of the STAR Method, heres how you might use it to answer a behavioral interview question: Lets say youre asked, Whats the most difficult problem you had to solve? Using the STAR Method, heres how you would formulate a response:
S: Our team revenues were down in the last quarter of the year.
T: We had to increase our revenue by 10 percent.
A: I overhauled our outdated and ineffective processes, and worked with my teammates to develop a new, more effective approaches.
R: Thanks to processes I overhauled and the new approaches I instituted, we increased our revenue by 12 percent that quarter.
Because behavioral interview questions can be complex, write out your answers. This will help you think it through more fully. Then practice with someone whose professional opinion you trust.
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Identify The Type Of Problem Posed To You
Jobseekers may find that there are common themes that appear when covering the type of business problems found in case study interviews. Eight of the most common exercises explore these questions:
- Maths eg: How many more units do we need to sell to double the profit?
- eg: How big is the market size within the US for smart wearable devices?
- Framework/Issue tree – eg: Identify the factors you would consider in addressing the problem.
- Data-chart insights eg: What story do the numbers tell about the operations of this business?
- Value proposition eg: What factors do customers look for in choosing a mobile phone carrier?
- Business valuation eg: Just how much is this company worth today, and would it change if acquired by our competitor?
- Hypothesis eg: What are some possible reasons that explain this trend?
- Brain teaser eg: How many tennis balls can you fit in an area that is twice the size of a football field?
There is not a single approach that solves all business problems. By identifying the type of problem youre encountering, youll be able to quickly determine the most appropriate method to apply.
For example, you might discover that a maths problem will rely on the knowledge of specific formulas and expressions, while a hypothesis question calls for a closer look at the root causes behind an issue.
If There Are Eight Bags Of Barley And Seven Bags Weigh The Same Amount With A Given Balance Scale And No More Than Three Steps How Can You Identify Which Bag Weighs Less
Example answer:”Set two bags aside and weigh the remaining six bags against each other. If they’re of equal weight, the bag that weighs less is one of the two set aside. Weigh both bags to find the bag that weighs less. But, if the remaining six bags are of uneven weight, remove one from the heavier pile and weigh the remaining two bags. If they’re equal, then the bag you removed is the one that weighs less.”
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Bonus Trick #: Do All Of The Other Interview Prep
If you’re feeling under-prepared, or this is your first tech interview, do some prep work until you feel comfortable.
Read the other great posts on Developer News about interviewing.
If you’re interviewing for a full-stack role, be prepared to setup a new project or test file with test suite from scratch.
Research the company, be ready with great questions about the company or the day-to-day work, etc., etc.
Prepare For Small Talk
You may find yourself interacting on a personal level with your interviewer. You can practice some common casual conversation topics to help you feel more confident if your interview turns into an informal conversation. Here are some small talk tips that can help you:
Focus on the environment you are in. You can comment on the design of the office or its location.
Compliment the employer on an award the team might have won recently or other similar achievements.
Find a common interest and talk about that.
Be positive during the conversation.
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Before The Interview: Practice And Prepare
Review the steps below and schedule a mock-interview with Career Services .
- The interview atmosphere should be POSITIVE. Learn to articulate your strengths and weaknesses and emphasize the positive contributions you can make.
- Prepare for Questions
- The questions below are divided into two categories, traditional and behavior-based. You will recognize the difference between the two types of questions immediately. You will need to be prepared for both types of interview questions. The Student Career Development Office and the Library have several books and handouts containing additional interview questions.
- Examples of Behavioral Questions
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, with all of the information above, you should have a pretty good idea of how to introduce yourself in a job interview. Use all of the tips to your advantage and, once you craft a solid response, practice it over and over until it feels natural. That way, your first impression will be stellar, allowing you to stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons.
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Get Ready Ahead Of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to pick out an interview outfit, print extra copies of your resume, or find a notepad and pen. Have one good interview outfit ready, so you can interview on short notice without having to worry about what to wear.
When you have an interview lined up, get everything ready the night before.
Not only will planning out everything buy you time in the morning, it can help reduce job search anxiety, and it will also save you from having to make decisions, which means you can use that brainpower for your interview.
Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy, and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with extra copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note-taking.
If you’re interviewing virtually, have all the technology set and ready in advance. Do a trial run to be sure everything is working properly, and you’re comfortable with it.
How Would Your Friends Describe You
This question again gives you an opportunity to talk about your personality and its worth thinking about ahead of the admission interview. Although being friendly, caring and a good listener is great, its probably not going to particularly impress the interviewers, or sound very sincere. Try and say something more memorable and meaningful, such as that youre very determined or motivated youre a natural leader or a good collaborator or youre always keen to have a go when challenges come up. Be honest but focus on highlighting your strengths. Try to back up what you say with examples, too
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Prepare For The Type Of Interview
Interviews can be conducted in different formats and settings. Knowing what kind of interview to expect can help you enter the meeting feeling more prepared and confident. Some interview formats that differ from the traditional one-on-one meeting include:
Arrive a few minutes before your interviewer for a lunch or dinner interview. Browse through the restaurant menu online before arriving, and learn about what type of restaurant you’ll be visiting to determine how you should dress.
Phone and video interviews
Find a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted to do the interview. Make sure the technology you will be using works efficiently, and practice using it before the interview.
A group interview is when a panel of people interviews you. It could also be an interview with a group of candidates. Besides practicing your answers to common questions, it will also help to practice your listening skills before going into this type of interview.
Be Your Charming Self
First impressions matter, a lot.
In fact, a recent study from assessment specialists Thrivemap concluded that on average, most hiring managers take 10 minutes or less to decide the suitability of a candidate:
- 25% admit making a decision on a candidate in 5 minutes or less
- 63% said they make a decision on a candidate within 6-10 minutes
- 9% said it took longer than 30 minutes to make up their minds
- Only 2% said they dont make up their minds during an interview.
Speaking from experience both as interviewee and interviewer, I have to agree. People decide very quickly if they like or dont like a person.
And thus charming your interviewer or leaving a good impression is also simply known as making him or her like you.
Here are simple but important things to leave a good impression:
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Skills Required In A Consulting Interview
In Cases there is no right or wrong answer, what really matters is the way you think the problem through, how confident you are with your conclusions and how quick you are with the back of the envelope arithmetic. If you visit McKinsey, Bain and BCG website pages on case interviews, you will find that the three firms look for very similar traits. Broadly speaking, your interviewer will be evaluating you across 5 areas:
One: Probing mind
Showing intellectual curiosity by asking relevant and insightful questions that show show critical thinking and proactive nature. For instance, if we are told that revenues for a leading supermarket chain have been declining over the last 10 years, a successful candidate would ask:
We know revenues have declined. This could be due to price or volume. Do we know how they changed over the same period?
instead of a laundry list of questions such as:
Did customers change their preferences?
Which segment has shown the decline in volume?
Is there a price war in the industry?
Structuring means creating a framework, i.e. a series of clear consecutive steps in order to get to a solution to the problem. The focus of case interview frameworks is not on reaching solution themselves, but rather on how to get there.
Three: Problem solving
Four: Numerical agility
Which Product Do You Think Can Help Scale A Client’s Business
Example answer:”The best product to help scale the business is the AI software package from the client’s catalogue. The software package can help clients create personalized services and targeted campaigns for market groups. From the market analysis on the slide show, the technology sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors. Investment in technology can increase the company’s productivity by 20% in the next year and over 70% in five years. From the preceding, I believe the AI software package can scale the client’s business and generate the most significant profit margin in the nearest future.”
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Tips For A Successful Interview
A successful interview depends on various factors, from what steps you take to prepare to how you conduct yourself in the meeting. You may have multiple rounds of interviews before receiving a job offer, so it’s important to ensure you approach each one appropriately. Regardless of the type of interview you’re expecting, you can follow some general guidelines that will help improve your chances of impressing a potential employer. In this article, we review some tips that can help you achieve success in your interview.
Trick #: Watch For Visual Cues
This is probably my favorite tip/trick. It’s not the most useful, but it is kind of fun. One of my interviews I did remotely, and we were using a screen-sharing program and I could see the interviewer’s face in the top-right of my screen.
I noticed out of the corner of my eye as I was coding that the interviewer was nodding their head. Ah ha! A little visual cue to know that I was on the right track.
Again it’s not much, but it could be useful. 🙂
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The Best Ways To Prepare For An Interview
A study from JDP reports that applicants spend up to seven hours researching the company before their interview. Many candidates also research their interviewer. Because interviewing is often stressful, 70% of those survey practice their responses out loud, and 62% prepare anecdotes to share with the interviewer.
Here’s how to research the job and company, how to practice interview questions and answers, how to dress for the interview, how to follow up after the interview, and more interview preparation tips.