August 29, 2022
What is the STAR method in a job interview?
In the middle of a job interview, what do you usually say when you are asked to tell a very specific past event. For example, the interviewer might ask you: tell me about a situation when you had to work under pressure. That type of questions could catch you off guard. Most people try to recall the occasion and tell everything as good as they can remember. In an interview, when the slightest detail can make the difference, answering that way could play against you.
When it comes to job interviews, the better you prepare, the better the results. The STAR method can help you with that type of questions. At T2W we have an extensive experience in personnel selection and job interviews, so we can help you. In this article, we show you what is the STAR method and the way it works.
What is the STAR technique?
The STAR method is the best way to answer behavioral questions in a job interview. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. These words show you the steps you have to follow to tell a coherent story that fully answers the interviewer’s question. Keep in mind that the interviewer will also use this method as a reference to evaluate candidates. To use the STAR method, you need to understand how behavioral questions work.
What are behavioral questions?
Behavioral questions are one of interviewers’ most frequently used tools. These are about previous situations in the candidate’s professional life. Therefore, these aim to understand the way a person has faced problems and obtained results previously. These questions can be different, but you can identify them quickly because they all focus on past events. These are some common examples:
- Can you tell me about a situation when you had a problem in your previous job?
- What was your best achievement in your previous job?
- Tell us about a situation when you had to work under pressure. How did you deal with it?
It’s necessary to be prepared to use the STAR method
You have to keep in mind that for the STAR approach to be effective, you need to prepare. It will work great as long as you have some stories ready. This is why, days before the interview, you must collect some experiences you had in previous jobs. These have to be about complicated situations, successes, failures, teamwork, leadership, work under pressure, etc.
These stories have to be yours and real. If you try to make one up or attempt to pass someone else’s story as yours, the interviewer will quickly notice it while getting deeper into the story. That is definitely not good. Don’t worry, if you don’t have a long professional experience, the recruiter will probably ask you about situations related to your internship or a similar context.
You might also like: How to you answer the question about your salary expectations
How does the STAR method work?
The first step in the STAR technique is describing the situation. With situation, we refer to the context where your story happens. Remember this method is used to tell a coherent story. To set the situation correctly you need to start by talking about the organization you were in at the time. Then reveal the position you had and some of your responsibilities. Finally, if necessary, you can explain the specific moment the company was going through. With those elements, you will be able to set the situation correctly.
The next step is to speak about a specific task you were having problems with. It’s better to look at this step as the main problem in the story. In this case, the task will change according to the question you are asked. It can be a particularly big of complex project, a last-minute task your boss gave you, a seasonal workload increase, etc.
Ok, you have already set the situation in which the story happens and the difficult task. Now it’s time to talk about the specific action you took to solve the problem. It can be a simple action or a series of steps. Here you will be talking about a successful initiative you took. Be as specific as possible and try not to offer a common or simple solution.
Finally, reveal the results of your action. Detail the way the problem was solved and how it had influence over your position in the organization. Perhaps you received recognition for your action or maybe you received a special bonus. The story must have a successful outcome. It’s never a good idea to tell a story with an negative ending.
Now you know what is the star technique and the way it can help you in your next job interview. Keep in mind that you must rehearse answers to different questions before the interview. With a little practice you will have more chances to get the job you want.
At Talent2Win, we strive to align your company’s business objectives with the best Talent Acquisition strategies available. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.