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What Is The Star Method For Interviews

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The Star Method: Answer Behavioral Interview Questions Like A Pro

How to use the STAR method to answer interview questions
  • Understand when and how to use the STAR method to answer behavioral interview questions.
  • Know mistakes to avoid when using the STAR method.
  • Be prepared to craft your own STAR stories to impress the interviewer.

Preparing for a job or internship interview can be a nerve-wracking process. Wouldnt it be great if there was a way to make it less stressful? Happily, there is, and were going to walk you through it from start to finish. Its called the STAR method, and it will allow you to craft the perfect response to any behavioral interview question. With our help, youll be able to get inside your interviewers head and stand out from the crowd, putting you one step closer to landing your dream role.

Heres what well cover in this guide:

Describe When You Surpassed Expectations

My team and I were on a major presentation for an important client of our advertising firm. The presenter was caught in traffic and it seemed that the presentation would be canceled.

I thought we would miss the opportunity and needed to step up for the team. I wanted to take on the responsibility to proceed and present myself.

I called my superior, who was also the presenter that day and talked about it. We went ahead with the scheduled presentation.

I presented and thankfully the client signed an advertising deal with us.

Some Example Star Answers

Initially, answering lots of questions using the STAR method may feel overwhelming. But with some practice, itll flow naturally in no time.

Here are two examples that might be helpful in getting started with this method. Theyve obviously been condensed for space, but they should clarify how to use the STAR method for real life questions you might be asked in your next interview.

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How Do You Answer A Star Interview Question

The STAR technique is a method of answering questions that is comprised of four steps:

  • Situation: Describe the situation and when it took place.
  • Task: Explain the task and what was the goal.
  • Action: Provide details about the action you took to attain this.
  • Result: Conclude with the result of your action.
  • Using The Star Method For Behavioural Interview Questions

    How to Use the STAR Interview Response Method

    The STAR method is a great technique for answering behavioural questions that are now standard in job interviews. Behavioural questions are based on the idea that past behaviour can determine how youd react when faced with a similar situation again.

    They can be easy to spot as they usually start with:

    • Tell me about a time when
    • Can you share an example of
    • Have you ever

    Your answers to these types of questions should aim to showcase your skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

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    Tell Me About A Time When You Had To Decide Without The Information You Needed

    Answer: There was a conflict between two colleagues. And both of them felt as though the other was lying about the situation. Unfortunately, no one was around when the incident occurred to help validate which one of the employees was telling the truth. One of them was going to be terminated. I decided to listen to the person who was being less aggressive in their delivery. We ended up later finding out that the employee who was terminated was at fault.

    Related: Tell Me A Time When You Had To Make A Decision Without The Information You Needed

    How To Come Up With Star Examples

    The best way to prepare for behavioral interview questions is to come up with a solid list of success stories. You dont need a different story for every question. Instead, you need a half-dozen or so great stories. With that many, you can find a relevant example for almost any question.

    How do you do that? Review the job description, noting keywords and themes. Then, research the company, noting their culture and values. Take these two lists and craft stories around any frequently mentioned skills and qualities. Ask yourself: What experience do you have in these areas? Did you take any relevant courses? Join relevant clubs? Do you have any internship or work experience that highlights key terms?

    Once you have a story in mind, dont worry about answering a specific question. Jot down the STAR details for each experience and consider what you learned. The rest will follow naturally.

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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.

    What Is The Star Technique

    STAR Interview Method Explained

    The STAR technique is a method of answering questions that is comprised of four steps:

    • Situation: Describe the situation and when it took place.

    • Task: Explain the task and what was the goal.

    • Action: Provide details about the action you took to attain this.

    • Result: Conclude with the result of your action.

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    Shine With The Star Interview Method

    The STAR method can help you make a positive and lasting impression on the interviewer. Describing your skills in an in-depth and meaningful way helps paint a picture of how well you can do the joband may just lead to a fantastic job offer.

    Ready for some more interview prep? FlexJobs career coaches help members get ready for interviews by providing advice, brainstorming responses, and even giving mock interviews.

    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.

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    The Star Method: The Secret To Acing Your Next Interview

    Not all interview questions are created equal. Some pose a hypothetical scenario and ask you to explain how you would react. Others ask about your experience with industry tools, technologies or best-practices. Still others seek to learn about your past experiences in order to predict your approach or decisions in the future.

    Spotting behavioral-based questions is easy once you know what to look for, as these questions usually begin with a request for a narrative or story:

    • Tell me about/Describe a time when
    • Give an example of.
    • Did you ever

    For many, the idea of properly articulating past experiences can seem overwhelming, but there is a tried-and-true method for tackling these questions.

    Enter the STAR Method, a simple approach to answering behavioral-based questions by responding using four basic steps: Situation, Task, Action and Result.

    In The Star Method: The Secret to Acing Your Next Job Interview, Kate Boogaard provides a great overview of this method as well as tips and tricks for practicing it on your own. Check out her article to learn how to fine-tune your skills for your next interview!

    What Are Other Behavioral Interview Questions That Use The Star Format

    How to Shine with the STAR Method of Interviewing ...

    The STAR format is useful for any kind of behavioral interview questions. Here are a few common behavioral interview questions employers ask:

    • Have you ever had to work with limited resources? What did you do to adapt?
    • Tell me about one of your greatest achievements. How did you get there?
    • Describe a situation where you made a mistake. What did you do to fix it?
    • Give me an example of when you led a team during a challenging time.

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    Use The Star Method To Shine In Your Interview

    Congratulations, you got the interview! But, how do you wow the interviewer with your stellar skills and experience without sounding inauthentic? Standing out from a crowded pack of applicants can be difficult, but there are ways to show potential employers that youre a qualified candidate. The STAR method of interviewing can be an important tool for providing context behind the major wins in your career.

    Whats more, not only will the STAR interview method help you stand out, its also an effective way to show the interviewer that youve got the skills for the joband the results to prove it.

    Example : Share An Example Of A Time You Had To Manage Multiple Competing Priorities

    • Situation: Explain the scenario. Why was it difficult or complex to manage?

    Eg: During my time at , we were working on a big project with a lot of moving parts.

    • Task: Give an overview of your responsibilities and how they played a part in the situation.

    Eg: A colleague was taken off the project, so extra responsibilities fell to me. We were working to a tight deadline, so I needed to manage the project and make sure that all the tasks were done on time.

    • Action: Break down the steps and tactics you used to manage your time, responsibilities and priorities. Take time to highlight the most important actions you took.

    Eg: I mapped out all the projects deliverables with a Gantt chart, with steps and key milestones. I then communicated the plan to my manager, and delegated parts of the work to my colleagues, making sure they understood the scope and the deadlines.

    • Result: Share the outcome. How did your actions and critical thinking make a positive impact?

    Eg: Thanks to my collaborative approach, we were able to launch the new project ahead of time which was a first for the organisation.

    The journey from jobseeker to team member isnt always easy. Once youve overcome any common resume mistakes and secured yourself an interview, the STAR method can hopefully help set you up to score your dream ethical job!

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    Tell Candidates What You’re Looking For In Their Answers

    Not everyone agrees this step is necessary: some recruiters prefer not to explain that they’re looking for situation-specific answers, to see how the candidate deals with answering the question however she wants. Some hiring managers see the benefit of being vague — at the very least, you’ll likely get a candid answer from your candidate.But other experts, like Todd Lombardi, a college relations specialist at Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc., believes it’s important to explain what he’s looking for before asking a candidate any behavioral interview questions.

    When Lombardi starts a behavioral interview, he details the process, telling the candidate he’s looking for specific examples, names of people, dates, and outcomes.

    Lombardi speaks with candidates about projects they’ve worked on, how their role has evolved, how they’ve handled deadlines or unexpected situations, and how they’ve coped with adversity. He asks these questions because, “Everyone’s got that kind of experience.”

    If you don’t explain what you’re looking for upfront, you risk receiving an incomplete answer or confusing the candidate. If the candidate answers insufficiently, perhaps you want to offer her an opportunity to modify her answer. Say: “I’m looking for details about a specific example — you’ve explained the situation and tasks required, but I’d still like to know what steps you took to complete the tasks, and what results you got from the project.”

    Types Of Questions The Star Method Is Good For Answering

    Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers: Use the STAR Technique | Indeed Career Tips

    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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    Star Method Example For Problem Solving Competency

    Competency Question: Tell me about a time when you used your initiative to resolve a complex problem. What was involved and what actions did you take?


    Last year while working as Customer Focus Manager with ABC Products Ltd in London, I successfully implemented a new process which reduced the time taken to process customer refunds from 14 days to 2 days, saving over £100,000 annually in agent time and gaining a 50% uplift in customer approval ratings.

    In that single opening they are hooked, they know what your story is about, they know you have done something great and they want to hear more.


    The next part of the answer is the Task and this should be summarised in no more than 1 or 2 sentences.

    Our customer refund process was taking 14 days and was using up an excessive amount of agent time and resources. I was tasked with reducing this to 2 days with the added benefit of saving time and resources.

    Thats all they need to know no more.


    I initiated the project by firstly clearly defining the objectives and the procedures.

    I created a detailed brief that both analysed the problem and outlined the potential benefits of the newly proposed process.

    I completed a walk-through of the existing system and identified where problems were occurring.

    With all that knowledge, I designed a new process and drafted a brief which I then forwarded to four software companies who specialise in the system we needed.


    Have You Ever Faced Conflict When Working With A Team

    I worked as part of a team of coders to create GUI interfaces for our company’s software games division. While we each had our specific job, we all had to agree on the final look so we knew what code to use.

    For one project, we could not agree on the final look and the project deadline was approaching. We agreed to closet ourselves in a conference room to openly listen to everyone’s ideas and provide honest feedback. We ultimately took each team member’s best ideas and found a way to work them into the final look, meeting the deadline.

    From then on, we tried hard to make group decisions and compromises where needed. As a result, we completed most of our project at or before the deadline, and we became friends as well as team members.

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    Trying To Turn A Negative Into A Positive

    When the interviewer asks for a weakness, its often recommended to give an example but turn it into a positive. I always overthink things, but that allows me to see things from every angle.

    The problem with a behavioral question, though, is that if you arent careful, you can turn a negative into a bigger negative.

    For example, say your answer is about a time that something went completely wrong. Sure, you took responsibility for it and learned from it, but everything ended in disaster. What does that say about you as an employee? Why would the employer take a chance on you?

    When using the STAR method, make sure youre using an example that ends in positive results. Its OK to mention that something went awry during the action part, as long as the result is positive and, perhaps, you learned something.

    Creating an email campaign that ended up being a lot harder than I anticipated because of our data integrity. However, we were able to create a workaround in the system and are now emphasizing data hygiene across the board. I also learned that I need to bring IT in on these things a lot sooner than I did for this project.

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    Applying the STAR technique in an interview

    Using the S.T.A.R. interview method can be extremely effective if leveraged correctly, ensuring you find quality candidates during the interview process.

    However, its important to note that interviewing candidates is only half of the battle when it comes to hiring, youve also got to reach and find those quality candidates in the first place.

    JobAdder can help you to discover quality candidates through our exclusive integrations with SEEK and LinkedIn and our seamless posting to over 200 job boards. You can also grow, track and search your talent pool in our platform, ensuring you always have quality candidates ready to go. Learn how JobAdder can help your business discover the best talent here.

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