How To Master The Star Method
To master this technique and use it to your best advantage, you absolutely must take the time to prepare your answers using relevant scenarios from previous work roles. It’s never a good idea to try answering off the top of your head when you’re nervous. Be honest and don’t embellish your story to make it sound better. Stand on your own accomplishments.
As a first step, review your past jobs for examples of when you successfully managed a project, handled a difficulty, exceeded your goals, provided strong leadership, or anything else that highlights your skills and abilities. Next, work through how to present these successes using the STAR interview method, as outlined below.
If any of your stories describe a mistake or failure, talk about what you learned and/or what you did to ensure a better result in the future. This can give a good example of how well you face and recover from adversity. Never use a story that will only show you in a negative light.
It’s best to have several stories ready for the interview, but be ready to adapt them as needed based on the question asked and the position you’re after. Your answers should always relate to the job at hand.
+ Star Method Interview Questions
Behavioral questions, a.k.a. questions that have to be answered by using the STAR method, are easy to spot.
They ask you to tell a story of a work situation, how you reacted to it, and help the interviewer predict how you might react to similar situations in the future.
The most common questions are:
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:
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What Is The Star Method When Interviewing An Experience
Years ago, when I was a Change Manager, there was a time when I needed to improve the autonomy of team members, giving them more empowerment to share decisions. Our Agile Coaches needed to be protagonists and often make decisions without my presence. Thats when the idea of including them in the companys selection process came about, so that they had the opportunity to choose their co-workers and thus analyze which profile best fitted their needs. Not just from the managers point of view, but from the teams point of view.
When I started the process of including team members in the selection process, they were unsure how to behave or what kind of questions to ask, so I made an agreement with them:
- The first two interviews I will conduct and you will observe the questions I ask, how I behave and in the end you will tell me what you think about the candidate.
- In the third and fourth interviews, you will be free to ask the candidate two questions and at the end, we will agree on hiring or not.
- The 5th interview, we will conduct together.
So we started interviewing potential candidates.
In the interview, we always tell the candidate that an interview is nothing more than people deciding whether it makes sense to work together or not and that todays interviewer can be tomorrows interviewee. So, it is important to treat everyone with respect, in addition to encouraging that all responses are based on the STAR model, explained in every interview.
Using The Star Method To Answer Interview Questions
The STAR method comes in handy during interviews because many candidates have trouble focusing their stories on information that will help them impress the interviewer. Even if a candidate tells a story in which they were the hero, if it is not delivered well, the message may get lost in translation. A messy story could confuse, or even annoy, an interviewer, which is the opposite of an ideal outcome.
The STAR method helps candidates walk through their stories in a logical, clear manner. Here are questions to answer for each section of STAR:
Situation: Set the scene for what was happening in your example story.
- What happened?
- What was the main issue?
Task: Describe your responsibility in the situation.
- What responsibility did you take on to solve the problem?
- Did your manager assign this task to you?
- Did you take on this task on your own?
- Did others have tasks as well?
Action: Explain the steps you took to address the problem.
- What did you do first?
- How did the person/situation respond?
- What did you do next?
Result: Share the outcomes of the actions you took.
- What was the end result of the situation?
- Was your manager satisfied?
- Did you continue to handle this issue as time went on?
- Were you given new responsibilities because of this particular event?
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Examples Of Behavioral Interview Questions
There are two main types of interview questions, behavioral and technical. Behavioral interview questions are designed to discover the candidates personality traits, while operational questions are aimed at discovering technical skills.
Examples of behavioral interview questions include:
- How do you approach problems at work?
- Describe a time when you took the initiative on a project.
- Do you work well as part of a team?
- What would you do if you disagreed with another team member?
- How do you manage multiple projects?
- Describe a time when you worked well under pressure.
- Do you have strong problem-solving skills?
What Is The Star Technique
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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Examples Of Star Method Interview Questions
As you can see, the STAR interviewing process structures informative, well-crafted responses to what can be daunting, ambiguous questions. Start preparing with these example questions:
- Tell me about a time when you felt like you failed your team.
- Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge or conflict at work and how you managed it.
- Can you think of a time when you showed leadership?
- Give us an example of when you felt you excelled at your job.
- Tell me about the accomplishment you are most proud of.
- Tell us about a time when you worked effectively under pressure.
- Give me an example of a time when you used data to solve a problem.
Your answer should take from one to three minutes anything shorter can risk not appearing thoughtful, and anything longer may lose your listener.
Take a look at the following answer as an example:
Describe a time where you needed to influence someoneâs opinion.
Situation: An executive of my company presented a new process my team would need to follow.
Task: I needed to train my team on the new process, but I suspected that it would be time-consumingâand, therefore, affect my teamâs productivity numbersâand wouldnât produce the results that the company wanted. I didnât want to ruffle any feathers, however, since the executive had a lot more experience.
Tell Me About A Time Where You Had To Deal With Failure At Your Workplace/university What Was Your Response To It
Situation Provide context and background information.
- What was the situation? Describe your company or university, contextualizing the situation.
- Specify which part of the whole situation were you involved in, and what exactly went wrong. The question demands a specific example, and there is no point in sugarcoating the situation for the interviewer.
- Provide any additional detail that could describe why this was a failure on your end, and the circumstances leading up to it, if the situation requires such nuance.
Task Identify your goals and tasks within the situation
- What was your exact task within the situation? It becomes easier to identify these by providing the goals you were working towards.
- Explain your role in said tasks. Why were you asked to deal with the problem, or why was it your failure?
Action Describe your action plan, focusing on your contributions.
- Describe what exactly you did to overcome the failure. How did you personally respond to the situation?
- It is important to be detail-oriented here. Personal thoughts and feelings aside, explain what you did to tackle the issue you were facing. Be clear and objective.
Result Explain the outcome, focusing on what you learn from the situation.
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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.
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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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!
Review Common Behavioral Questions
Review common behavioral interview questions and use the STAR technique to answer them. Common STAR interview method questions focus on soft skills like communication, collaboration, leadership, or problem-solving.
While theres no way to predict exactly what youll be asked, theres a good chance that a variation of one or two of these questions will come up.
For instance, you may be asked to describe a time you disagreed with a team member or talk about a time you resolved a work-related conflict. Both questions assess your communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills.
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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.
What Is The Star Interview Model
The STAR method is a technique used to answer behavioral interview questions in a structured and compelling way. Behavioral questions prompt job candidates to give specific examples of how theyve handled past situations or challenges.
The acronym STAR stands for situation, task, action, result. Each pillar helps you tell a well-thought-out short story that has a beginning, middle, and end. Lets take a closer look at each one:
But how do you know when its the right time to use the STAR method during an interview?
Spotting behavioral questions that require a STAR response is easy. They usually start with prompts like these:
- Tell me about a time
- Describe a time when
- Have you ever
These questions can be challenging if youre caught unprepared and dont have an answer ready. Telling a messy story that doesnt showcase your skills and achievements wont impress a potential employer.
The STAR interview method helps you prepare and deliver a compelling story that will satisfy the interviewers question and demonstrate why youre the right person for the role.
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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.