Open-ended interview questions such as, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Have you ever worked with a stubborn teammate” are stressful! It’s hard to prepare in advance for situational or behavioral questions that sometimes come out of left field.
If you struggle with these types of questions, the STAR method is a great way to lower your stress level and answer in a way that will satisfy the interviewer.
The STAR Method
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method helps formulate your answers in a clear and specific way. Since past performance is a good indicator for your future performance, interviewers will be listening closely to the way you answer questions such as:
“Give me an example of…,”
“Describe a situation in which you were able to use…,”
“Describe a time…”
Situation - Start by describing the situation that required you to solve a problem, use a skill, or come up with a new idea. Be specific and give enough information for the interviewers to understand.
Task - What goal were you working toward? Explain what your job required in the situation. Make sure to include any specific challenges you faced.
Action - This is where you describe exactly what you did to overcome the challenge. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution?
Pro Tip: Focus on qualities and soft skills the hiring manager is looking for (i.e., initiative, leadership, attention to detail, teamwork). You will know this from the job description.
Results - Finally, describe the outcome of the situation. Don’t be shy in emphasizing your contribution. Also, incorporate what you learned through the process.
Tips for Using The STAR Method
Be prepared. You won’t know the questions your interviewer will ask, so think through several STAR situations from your experiences that highlight your best traits. Practicing the method will help when you are put on the spot in an interview.
Be specific. Make sure your situations are targeted and specific. Identify qualities the hiring manager is looking for in the role before the interview and incorporate those words into your responses.
Be quantitative. If you were responsible for growth in your department or project, know growth percentage and share those numbers in your interview. When you incorporate numbers, you're not just voicing your ability, you’re proving it. Numbers don’t lie!
Be honest. Avoid inflating your story or success in hopes of impressing your interviewer. Not only is this lying, but when they find out you fibbed, workplace trust will be compromised.
Want to practice the STAR method and other interview tips to help land your dream career? Through our Interview Preparation service, our team of career consulting experts can equip you with the tools and guidance to succeed. Contact us today!