How to use the STAR method to answer interview questions

Posted on Saturday, July 9, 2022 by Gemma SNo comments

We’ve chatted before about how to use the STAR method to shape your CV. Here we look at how to use the STAR method to answer interview questions effectively.

During an interview, hiring managers often ask competency and behavioural questions to determine your experience and skills. This is a way for an employer to gain evidence of how you’ve applied a skill or accomplished something that is important to them. The STAR technique allows you to answer effectively.

What is the STAR interview technique?

With the STAR technique you follow these steps when answering a question:

·       Situation: Outline the situation in the experience you’re about to recount. Offer context and why the situation existed and who you were with.

·       Task: Describe what the task was, being clear about the objective. Explain your responsibilities, so that the interviewer can understand your role, not just the success of a team.

·       Action: Explain what you did and why. This is the most critical part. It’s an opportunity to highlight broader skills such as communication and teamwork.

·       Result: Finish by stating the positive outcome. You can also explain what you would do differently, or if any lessons were learned.

The STAR method succinctly allows you to offer the interviewer a story that enables them to clearly see you bringing the same results to scenarios they have.

How do you prepare to use the STAR technique?

Under interview conditions, it can be very difficult to rapidly apply the STAR technique without preparation.

Before your interview:

·       Look through the job description and identify what the interviewer will be looking for e.g. key skills such as financial acumen, organisation, working to a tight deadline, or planning an event.

·       Recall times when you have demonstrated those skills.

·       Jot down short notes about those situations to act as prompts for creating the story. Use the STAR method to shape the notes.

·       Make sure you have a well-flowing but succinct description practiced, with a clear conclusion that shows you in a favourable light.

Questions where you can use the STAR technique

Most behavioural and competency questions lend themselves to using the STAR technique. Examples include:

·       Tell me about a difficult situation at work, how did you solve the problem?

·       When did you face a tight deadline? How did you manage it?

·       Describe a time you worked with a difficult colleague?

·       Explain to me about a mistake you made at work? What did you do?

·       How do you make recommendations to key players at work?

·       Describe a time you disagreed with your boss. How did you manage it?

·       Talk me through a time you worked with another department on a project.

·       When did you fail at work? What lessons did you learn?

·       How do you set goals and how do you achieve them?

Get help with your interview preparation

One of the benefits of using a professional London recruitment agency like Love Success is that we can help you prepare for interviews.

Register as a candidate.

Love Success is London’s leading recruitment agency.
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