Using The Star Method To Prepare For An Interview
While some questions are almost guaranteed to be asked in an interview, you can never really know what else will be asked. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare a few scenarios in advance that you can draw on. These should be flexible enough so that you can adapt them to a number of different questions.
Some Behavioral Questions Are:
Candidates may prepare fake or canned responses to common interview questions.
But when it comes to answering behavioral questions using the STAR method, a candidate has to think, explore, and process her experience.
She has to use situation, task, action, and result to communicate a linear story that is verifiable and provides enough evidence of her credibility as a company asset.
Besides, through her anecdotes, you can analyze the work ethics, skillset, problem-solving, and learning ability she used to complete a specific task or responsibility.
Past performance is a great predictor of future performance, especially in a comparable situation. And the STAR interview method provides the perfect checklist for this type of evaluation rubric.
You can even use this method to develop a data-driven system for future hires.
Of course, the STAR method is ineffective unless you know the work culture and the exact employee skillset and competencies you are looking for.
Remember: An interview is a two-way process. Candidates will evaluate you too.
What Is The Star Method
The STAR method is a procedure taught to help people provide thoughtful answers that contain fully-formed beginnings, middles, and ends. STAR stands for Situation,Task at hand, Action you took, and Result. This method allows you to tell a fluid story starting with the situation, moving to the task you were assigned, going onto the action you took, and finishing up with the result of what happened in this particular instance- so hopefully it was a good one.
We use this method so that we know that were going through and telling a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end, Dudley said.
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Whats The Star Method
First things first, lets discuss behavioral questions.
These questions inquire about situations and problems faced at work and help the interviewer understand how you handle them.
Behavioral questions always require you to tell a story of how you faced a specific situation at work, and how you dealt with it.
- So, tell me about a time when you handled conflict well.
- What is your greatest achievement?
If youve ever faced such interview questions at work, youll probably agree with us – coming up with an answer is far from easy, especially in the heat of the moment.
And thats where the STAR method comes in!
STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Its the structure you need to follow in order to come up with a clear and concise answer to behavioral questions like the ones we mentioned above.
Situation – This is where you describe the situation and provide the interviewer with context
Task – What was your role in this situation? Explain what your duties were and what was expected of you at the time
Action – How did you carry out your task/s? Did you go out of your way to fulfill your duties or do more than you initially had to?
Result – This is the conclusion of your answer and story. Explain what results your actions had and if the situation was solved successfully or not. The use of numbers and data is a bonus.
Example Star Interview Questions And Answers
Lets look at some common STAR interview questions and how to answer them.
The scope of this behavioral question is to determine how you set goals and what steps you take to make sure you meet your objectives.
Situation: When I first transitioned into a sales role at company X, I was a bit shy of meeting my first-quarter sales target.
Task: This motivated me to not only meet my sales target during my second quarter but exceed it.
Action: I broke my goal down into smaller weekly goals and changed my sales strategy. I leveraged social selling to find new customers and develop relationships with them. I also asked my sales manager to coach me on my closing techniques and objection handling. Those were the two areas I needed to improve in.
Result: With this new strategy, I managed to exceed my sales target by 10%.
Situation: Shortly after I was promoted as a senior project manager, I was in charge of leading a project for a major client. This project would typically take about a month to complete, but the client was in a rush and asked if I could have it ready in three weeks.
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Plan For An Interview Using The Star Interview Technique
These are some ways to prepare for an interview using the STAR method:
Go over the job description and required skills, and consider possible problems you could face in the role.
Review common behavioural interview questions like the ones listed above.
List the various instances in your work experience that demonstrate the kind of qualities to excel in the job, and answer some of the most typical behavioural interview questions. Use the STAR framework to prepare each example.
Say your answers aloud to ensure each narrative is coherent and straightforward. Practise at least three to five times. Having sufficient practice can make you feel more natural and confident when answering questions in a real interview.
Consider instances from internships, community work or academic group projects if you’re new to the work field and don’t have a long professional background to draw on. Employers may ask you to provide a non-work-related instance in their questions, so think about personal problems or obstacles you’ve conquered as well. Whatever experience you choose to talk about, be sure you are clear in your explanation and elaborate on a situation, task, action and consequence, as well as highlight the skills and knowledge most relevant to the position.
Star Method Answer Example
Now that weve got the theory all cleared up, lets get down to practice & show you how the STAR method really works.
Lets take one of the most common behavioral interview questions as an example:
What is your greatest achievement?
A good answer should look something like:
Situation – Hmm well, after graduation I worked for a year as an assistant to Company Ys marketing director. We had a meeting with a potential client this one time and I was supposed to meet my boss straight to the location of the meeting. On my way there she called me and told me she was headed to the hospital as a family member of hers had had an accident.
Task – She asked me if I could carry on the presentation by myself and if not, I could cancel the meeting. Id assisted my boss while she made the presentation, but I wasnt prepared to deliver it. I was only supposed to help with setting up the place and carry the documents.
Action – Nevertheless, I like a challenge and I was confident I could do it so I agreed to hold the meeting.
Result – The presentation not only went well, but the client actually hired our company. My boss was more than happy. She gave me a raise and eventually became more of a mentor than a boss.
- If you want a fully detailed guide with tips and examples on the STAR method, check out this article.
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Star Interview Method Tips
Impressing at a competency-based interview is all about the way you tell your story, so its particularly important to prepare for this sort of interview. Put some concrete, quantifiable details down on paper, which could fit a range of situations.
Dont shy away from including a bit of adversity or failure. It humanises you and helps convince the listener of your sincerity. All jobs involve difficulties. The interview is trying to figure out how youll handle them.
A final word of wisdom about the STAR technique: as a structured system, it can help guide your answers and calm your nerves, but dont follow it too rigidly youre not a robot. Make sure your responses flow naturally, from one point to the next.
So keep it natural, conversational and concise, and this acronym will be your new best friend at your next interview.
Star Written Interview Exercise
I have provided two written interview questions that you can use to practice writing in STAR format. Using STAR stories that you have already come up with, the prompt will help you structure your answer.
Some people communicate better in writing, while others communicate better verbally and many companies will give you an opportunity to do both.
Essentially, the written and oral versions are similar in their purpose: to answer the interview question in a powerful and concise way. When writing you canât use the timbre and pitch of your voice nor your hand gestures to emphasize parts of your story, so youâll have to be more explicit in explaining the context and impact of your actions.
You will craft a written response that is no more than four pages typical responses are about two pages.
Keep in mind these two criteria:
Clarity of thought and expression
Organization and structure
Editing and Improvement
After finishing your written response exercise, use the following process to make your writing flow smoother, more concise, and easier to read.
Writing Sample Questions :
Paragraph 1: Situation
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Tell Me About A Time When You Experienced Conflict On The Team And How Did You Resolve It
I was tasked with implementing a new project management system. This meant I had to coordinate the tasks and goals across several teams. Unfortunately, there was a long-simmering conflict between two of the team leaders who were going to have to work closely on this project.
I started by creating the timeline, then figuring out when those two people would work together to accomplish joint tasks.
I met with each of them individually to explain that they would be working together and asked how I could help things work smoothly. As a result of those meetings, I was asked to sit in on all of their project meetings as a neutral third party and provide feedback. I was also copied on every written communication to ensure things were handled professionally and appropriately.
There were a few times when friction was a problem. But, because I was involved from day one and acted as a neutral third party, we were able to finish the project on time. Projects that were completed on time increased 20% during Q1 and Q2 this year.
Can You Describe A Stressful Situation And How You Handled It
Whilst working in an office one day on the fifth floor, the fire alarm activated due to a small fire being reported on the first floor. People within the office did not appear to take much notice as the alarm usually sounded only when there was a false alarm.
I decided to take responsibility. I shouted across the office that everyone needed to leave via the quickest and safest fire escape. Some people started complaining but I insisted they leave immediately. I was aware that we were all on the fifth floor and any time wasted could endanger life, especially considering we could not use the lifts in the event of a fire alarm activation.
Eventually, people within the office started leaving via the escape stairway as per my request. I stayed until the end to make sure everyone had evacuated and I made my way outside. I then took a roll call to make sure everyone was safe.
When the Fire Service arrived they did in fact find a fire on the ground floor area, so it really was a genuine emergency.
After the fire was extinguished and we could returned to our office, I reminded everyone of their responsibilities in the event of a fire. I believe I handled this situation with confidence and resilience. Although it was stressful at times, I was determined to follow company health and safety procedures to ensure everyone was safe.
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How To Ace Interviews With The Star Method
Behavioral job interview questions are hard.
Everything is going seemingly well, until the interviewer drops the Can you tell me about a time when you question.
Shoot, what now?
You try to think of a coherent answer, but you just cant think of anything on the spot.
So, you blurt out something awkward and pray that the interviewer will just let this one slide.
…But it didnt have to go this way. There IS a way to give a good answer to every single behavioral job interview question:
The STAR Method.
In this guide, were going to teach you what, exactly, that is, and how to use it to ace your upcoming job interview!
Keep on reading to find out:
- What the STAR method is and when to use it
- 4 tips to keep in mind when answering with the STAR method
- 9 sample job interview answers that follow the STAR method
A Final Word On The Star Method
While it may take a little extra preparation time, try incorporating the STAR method in your next remote interview. You may be surprised at how effectively you can highlight your relevant accomplishments. In no time, you will have the interviewer imagining how beneficial you will be to their organization. For further information on interview preparation for remote workers, check out these resources below.
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How To Use The Star Method For Behavioral Interviews
An interview is the most crucial step in your hiring strategy.
Resumes and references are important, no doubt. But applicants use them as tools to sell their strengths with 62% of candidates exaggerating skillsets making them inadequate.
On the other hand, an in-person interview allows you to evaluate candidates based on:
- Successes and failures
- Cultural compatibility
Yet, recruiters make bad hires all the time. According to Leadership IQs three-year study, almost half of the 20,000 new hires failed at their job within the first 18 months.
Mis-hires cost your company a fortune, around one-third to five times the hirees salary. Plus:
If you do not make a thorough evaluation or worse, go with your gut feeling during the interview, chances are you will hire a mediocre or wrong individual.
Star Interview Questions And Answers
Your answer following the STAR method will depend on the specific behavioral interview question being asked.
So, to help you prepare, were going to give you 9 more common behavioral interview questions !
The questions were going to cover include:
Now, lets dig right in!
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How To Use The Star Interview Technique
Recruiters conduct behavioural interviews to evaluate if an applicant is a good fit for a position. While the abilities in your application may match the requirements for a position, the interviewer also wants to ensure that you can manage particular scenarios related to the position. The STAR interview response technique can assist you in preparing for this section of the interview. In this article, we outline what is the STAR interview technique and how to use it in an interview.
What Is A Behavioral Interview Question
A behavioral interview question focuses on the candidateâs past experiences by asking for specific examples regarding how they used their knowledge, skills, and abilities in previous situations. The belief is that the most accurate way to predict an individualâs future performance is by looking at their past responses.
Recruiters hope that responses to well-designed behavioral questions will elicit responses that accurately illustrate a candidateâs skills and abilities in job-related competencies. They are also looking for information that is verifiable and objectively comparable with other interviewees.
A few examples of the most common behavioral interview questions include:
- Tell me about the last time a customer or co-worker got upset with you.
- Tell me about the toughest decision youve had to make in the past six months.
- Give me an example of a major mistake you made, and what you did to correct it.
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