Have you ever been in an interview, and you feel like you are absolutely acing it. But then you get asked something like “tell me about a time when…?” or “how would you deal with…?” and you just completely blank? Yeah, it happens to the best of us. Luckily for you, we have a handy trick you can keep in your back pocket. It’s called the STAR response method.
What is the STAR Interview Respond Method?
STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action and Result. The STAR interview response method is best used in response to behavioural questions. Behavioural questions seek to understand how you’ve dealt with certain situations or challenges in the past. By analyzing top performers’ previous success, employers can define skills and qualities necessary for the job. Asking behavioural questions helps them assess if candidates align with these expectations.
Hiring managers can use the STAR technique to form questions, but candidates can also use this method to prepare for interviews.
STAR Interview Respond Method explained
Situation: In this step, you want to set up your situation for the listener. Describe what the challenge is, and be sure to provide a brief background for context. Think of past work experiences, volunteer positions or any relevant events.
Task: Describe the position and responsibilities you had during this situation.
Action: Next, describe what action you took to complete the task or overcome the challenge. Have a close focus on your role and not
Result: You’ve explained the situation, taken action; now it’s time to explain the outcome. Discuss your achievements and don’t spare details. If possible, quantify your results or provide concrete examples. You want to be as specific as you can.
Put all these concepts together, and you’ll have an easy-to-follow story demonstrating your skillset and ability to overcome challenges.
Preparing for an interview
While you can’t ever fully know what questions or techniques the hiring manager will use, you can still prepare ahead of time using the STAR method.
Review job qualifications
Go through the job description and make a master list of the required skills or qualifications.
Match your skills to the job
After reviewing the job requirements, create another list of skills you have. Make sure these skills match those of the job or are closely related to the job. If you are entering a new field, focus on your transferrable skills.
Find examples of times you demonstrated any of the skills you now have listed. Be sure to use the STAR method.
The internet is filled with lists of all kinds of common interview questions, including behavioural. Choose a couple of questions and try answering using the STAR technique. It all comes down to practice. It might seem like a lot at first, but the STAR method will be second nature with practice.
Let’s put it all together
To really get the full picture let’s take a practice question and apply the STAR method.
“Tell me about how you stay productive when under pressure.”
Situation: In a previous role, I worked on a key project in which the client requested a shorter deadline. The previously discussed 60-day deadline turned into 40 days. Along with this new challenge, unfortunately, a member of my team had to take a leave of absence.
Task: For this particular project, I served as the team lead. I was responsible for communicating with the client, overseeing budgets, and creating the overall project plan in this position.
Action: To make up for our missing team member, I reallocated roles and duties and took on some new responsibilities myself. To manage this and my own day-to-day responsibilities, I put in a few extra hours of overtime.
Result: As a result, the project was a success. The client approved the project, and we finished five days ahead of schedule.
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