How To Master The Star Method For Interview Questions
By Mike Simpson
Job interviews can be a stressful experience for job seekers, especially when faced with the dreaded behavioral-style interview. Not to worry! In this post, we are going to go over one of the best ways to answer behavioral questions, and that is by using the STAR Method.
As we have learned in previous posts, behavioral questions evaluate how youve handled situations in the past and what you would do if faced with a similar situation again in the future.
Beyond simply finding out if a candidate has the knowledge to do the job, behavioral questions help a hiring manger determine if a candidate also has the skills and experience.
BONUS PDF STAR METHOD CHECKLIST:Download our “Behavioral Interview Questions PDF Checklist” that gives tips on how to answer 25 of the most common behavioral questions using the STAR METHOD!
These questions are designed to trip you up and one wrong answer can mean the difference between being hired and being left in the dust.
Now, weve got several more in-depth articles about behavioral interview questions , but just for a quick recap, here are some examples of some common behavioral questions:
- Tell me about a time you failed at a task you were assigned
- Have you ever had to work with someone you didnt like? How did you handle that?
- How do you handle setting goals? Can you give an example?
Tough questions, right?
Have You Ever Been In A Situation When The Client Was Wrong And You Had To Correct Them Give Me An Example
S – Yes, that happens every so often.
I can think of one example which happened during my first job as a recruiter. I had sent out a candidate over to a client and the hiring manager had rejected him based on CV alone. They said that the candidate was too junior of a profile for the position, no experience with X, Y and Z.
T – I went through the resume and my notes several times, and I was 100% sure that this had to have been a mistake on the clients part – the candidate was an exact match for the job ad they gave me.
So I had to somehow let them know about it without seeming to be telling them how to do their job.
A – I contacted my candidate, I got exact and thorough information on his experience with X, Y and Z, wrote it all out in an email and obviously with a very calm and professional tone explained to our clients hiring manager that my candidate did in fact have experience in all areas pointed out, proven by this and that project, etc. And I kindly asked him to review his application.
R – He responded, agreed that the candidate did in fact have the required experience and admitted that it was an error on their end. So, they DID invite the candidate for an interview. Given, he wasnt chosen for the role, but oh well, at least we gave him a chance.
How To Use The Star Interview Technique In Competency
Most job interviews have a segment for competency or behavioral questions. Hiring managers use these questions to assess an applicant’s experience and qualities. These types of questions are designed to prompt a story-like response from the applicants. Successful candidates know and use the STAR technique, a proven method of answering tricky situational questions in a systematic way while providing all the essential details. In this article, we outline how you can use this technique for your next
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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.
Draw On Additional Experiences
If you don’t have a long professional history to draw from, consider using other related experiences. You can, for instance, use examples from internships, volunteer work or group projects you completed for school. In some cases, employers may ask you to share a non-work-related example, so consider challenges or obstacles you’ve overcome in your personal life, too.
No matter what stories you decide to share, make sure you define a situation, task, action and result, and showcase skills and abilities most relevant to the job.
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Common Star Interview Questions
Below are common behavioral interview questions that may be asked, which prompt a STAR response from the interviewee. These will be asked in addition to more common interview questions like, “Why do you want to work here?”
Tip: As a candidate, before your next interview, practice taking the STAR approach to behavioral interview questions. Write your sample answer down on a piece of paper and ensure the story only takes 90-seconds or less to tell. Practice telling your work experience story with a friend, colleague, or family member.
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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Tell Me About A Time You Failed
Answer: I worked in customer service and had to deal with an irate customer. Our product had failed on them, and they wanted their money back. The company policy was stringent on no refunds, and this customer was a rare unsatisfied one, as our products were often quite dependable. I stayed calm, remained polite, and offered a store credit, coupons, and other solutions. The customer did not have any of it and let me know we would not receive their business again before hanging up. From this experience, I learned that working within the policies of a company can indeed be difficult. However, I could have taken more time to listen to the customers concerns and level with them, rather than throw solutions out there. Customer service is about making the customer happy, and being an effective communicator is a big part of that.
Benefits Of Using A Star Method Resume
The main advantages of using a STAR method resume:
- Shows your value: The goal of your resume is to show the value you bring to a potential employer. Using the STAR method in your resume makes it easy for hiring managers to see your worth.
- Presents more detail: Using the STAR approach forces you to provide examples of how you acquired and applied specific skills in specific situations.
- Doubles as interview preparation: Drafting your resume by following the STAR interview technique prepares you for many behavioral interview questions you might encounter.
- Creates a compelling story: Humans love stories. Stories make you more memorable by allowing you to explain how your work experience has formed who you are and how you’ve been able to develop as an employee and a person.
- It makes it easy to create a resume relevant to the job requirements: Using the STAR method to create a resume forces you to think through the job description and tailor your resume to the employer and role. It shows the potential employer that you’re invested in the position and have the skills needed to succeed.
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Free: Behavioral Interview Questions Pdf Checklist
Ok the next thing you should do is download our handy “Behavioral Interview Questions ChecklistPDF“.
In it you’ll get 25 common behavioral questions along with tips on how to answer them with the STAR METHOD and the traps you need to avoid….
All in a beautifully designed pdf Jeff spent hours working on. —- He made me put that in
Star Interview Questions About Communication
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How Do I Use The Star Method
To use the STAR technique effectively, all elements of your answer need to work. Heres a breakdown of how to approach each letter:
Think of this section as setting the scene.
Provide the interviewer with a bit of background about the question, and give them some context. Try and be specific, and include names and dates wherever appropriate to help add credibility.
At Company Name Ltd, I was responsible for representing the firm at tradeshows. My second year there, it just so happened that three events we usually attended were scheduled within a month of each other generally they were spread out over a much longer period of time.
Build on the background youve given, and outline the task at hand.
Specifically, how did the situation relate to you? And what were the major tasks you needed to undertake to resolve it? Include how important or difficult the situation was to overcome, as well as any constraints you came up against.
It meant a tremendous amount of work was compressed into a really tight window of time. These shows were a huge source of lead generation for the company, so it was essential we attended and presented our products in the best light.
Translation: what did you actually do to resolve the situation?
Finally, its time for the pay-off.
What was the outcome of the situation? Remember, everyone loves a happy ending, and recruiters are no different.
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
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Why Do So Many People Struggle When Answering Star Interview Questions
There is so much advice out there now both online and offline videos, blogs, books etc.
And yet why do so many people get them wrong?
We constantly see clients who come to us for interview coaching and who have had poor experiences in a competency interview.
Quite often a client will have had feedback saying that their answers were not detailed enough. They are surprised by this because they will have talked and talked in the interview so how can they not have given enough detail?
Other will have prepared and yet are stumped because the questions they prepared for dont come up exactly as they planned. They get asked the question in a different format and they just go blank.
The top problem we see is poor structure and this is where the STAR method comes into play.
Have You Ever Faced Conflict Or Disagreement With A Coworker What Happened And How Did You Resolve It
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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Become A Pro At The Star Method Today
The STAR response technique helps you master behavioral-based interview questions thoroughly and professionally. If crafting answers to interview questions is something you struggle with, the STAR method can ensure you’re delivering succinct and compelling answers. By taking adequate time to prepare for your next interview, reviewing some of your professional strengths, and implementing the STAR method, you’ll be well on your way to acing your next interview.
Landing the interviews, but not the job? You might want to consider getting professional help from one of our expert interview coaches.
Get More Quality Candidates For Your Open Positions With Jobadder
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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Star Interview Questions About Teamwork
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.
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Failure To Demonstrate Impact Through Results And Context
Most companies who expect candidates to use the STAR Method to answer interview questions look for evidence that a candidate can drive business impact. This pattern tends to be true regardless of how far the role is from the front line of sales, marketing or product management.
Even a well-structured business story will fail to demonstrate business impact if it is devoid of tangible results. Most interviewers in Fortune 500 companies and startups alike are under immense pressure to deliver outcomes that matter to the business owners. Therefore, they look for candidates driven by the same ambition and will welcome evidence that you are as outcome-minded as they are. Yet, too many candidates fall victim to this pitfall and miss out on the opportunity to demonstrate impact through results.
Another STAR Method pitfall is the lack of correct context. Unfortunately, this part of the response tends to be forgotten way too often. Set the context well, and your results will come across more impactful. Fail to do so, and the interviewer won’t find anything special in your accomplishments.
To avoid this pitfall, candidates should invest ample time in – you guessed it – preparation. In particular, you should pay attention to how well you set up the context in your STAR Method response.