Are you preparing for an upcoming interview? Do you struggle to develop a list of possible answers that appeal to you? Wondering how to represent your many accomplishments to better show why you are the best candidate for the job?

The STAR job interview method could be the perfect solution for you.

Using the STAR method allows you to provide concrete, specific examples of common interview questions. With this method, you’ll be equipped to successfully showcase your skills, accomplishments, and approach to difficult situations, quickly getting to the heart of what the interviewer wants to know.

STAR: situation, task, action, result

the STAR the acronym stands for Ssituation, Jask, Aaction, and Rresults. The STAR method is beneficial for answering behavioral interview questions. Read on to learn more about this interview technique with examples of how to use it.

How to keep your answers short, crisp and impressive.

What is an interview with the STAR method?

Behavioral interview questions provide insight into future performance by asking questions about past performance. The premise is that your past performance and your approach to situations indicate future performance and the potential for success. Interviewers also try to determine if you have the skills needed to be successful, such as analytical skills, leadership, conflict resolution, and self-awareness.

The STAR method is ideal for answering behavioral questions because it allows you to provide the situation (S), the task (T), the action (A) you took, and the result (R) of that action. It gives you the tools to become a storyteller in the interview room without rambling or missing the necessary punchlines. You will set up the beginning, middle, and end of the situation, conflict, and resolution for the interviewer.

Examples of behavioral interview questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had difficulties with a colleague. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?
  • Share an experience in which you missed an important project deadline.
  • How do you handle situations where customers refuse to make the effort to complete the necessary steps of a task so that you can move forward with your side of things?
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to finish your job.
  • Share an experience in which you dealt with a difficult supervisor. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?
  • Share an experience in which you made a difficult decision. How did you handle that?
  • Tell me about a time you delivered bad news. What was your approach?
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager. How did you handle that?
  • Have you ever had to inspire others? How did you do?

Key Concepts of a STAR Response

You can use each concept in the STAR Interview Method to break down your answer to form a complete and detailed answer. Your answers can relate to your work history, volunteer experience or any other event that you consider relevant. Be precise and specific.

A young woman in a sequined low-cut evening dress is interviewed in front of her limousine and surrounded by paparazzi.
Stars make it look easy to stand out, but it’s not.

Ssituation

You will set the stage by describing the situation in response to the question. If you were asked about a difficult time with a colleague, you would start by describing the situation in relation to the challenge you want to describe. This creates a context for the listener.

Example: “In my last role as Communications Manager, there was a time when my team was understaffed and as a result became overworked. Some items became on hold because senior management made it difficult for us to prioritize our core business, due to some ambitious projects they had in place. »

Jask

The task describes your role and responsibilities in general, in relation to a team, as well as possibly with other departments and senior management. In doing so, it also highlights your role in the situation described to the interviewer.

Example: “As Communications Manager, my role was to help my team with their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, while ensuring they had the bandwidth they needed to do their jobs without unnecessary stress. I was also responsible for managing expectations with the Director of Communications and other members of the leadership team. »

Aaction

Your goal here is to share the steps you took to support the task. How did you approach the problem, resolve the conflict or meet the challenge? It can be easy to use “we” because you’ve worked with a team. However, you must use “I” and highlight your contributions.

Example: “I have a formal process in place for submitting communication requests, including assigning priority status to each request as it comes in. This has supported the organization of the team and gave a good overview of what was coming. I then scheduled weekly meetings with the Director of Communications and other members of the leadership team to keep them informed of the current workload and the band to better manage expectations. I kept my team up to date with key information, which helped them feel more comfortable knowing that items were being assessed and addressed.“

Rresults

The results detail the outcome of the situation based on the task and action you performed. Focus on accomplishments and what you learned from the situation. Where possible and relevant, provide quantitative data.

Example: “By providing more transparency into my team’s workload, creating better processes, and managing expectations more clearly with the Director of Communications and the executive team, we were able to reprioritize tasks and responsibilities for communications team, complete backlog items and stay up to date on core business items. I continued to use these learnings and changes, and we reduced the average time to complete our projects by one day. I also learned how essential it is to communicate regularly with my team.

Preparing for a STAR interview

Indeed, you don’t have a crystal ball that tells you exactly what the interviewer will ask you. However, you can make a list of possible questions and scenarios to answer. Use the following five-step process to prepare your STAR responses.

Behind the scenes, it takes hard work and ambition to become the star.

1. Make a list of skills and abilities needed

Review the job posting and make a list of skills and competencies required for the position.

2. Develop a list of possible questions

Review and develop a list of possible behavioral interview questions you might be asked.

3. Match your skills and competencies to the required job skills and competencies

Make a list of your skills and competencies and match them to the required skills and competencies listed in the job posting. If you’re having trouble with this step, review past performance reviews and your resume to cover your bases.

4. Create a list of sample answers from your work history

With your list of skills and abilities that match the job requirements, you can craft possible answers to interview questions using the STAR method.

5. Practice your responses

Once you have a list of scenarios, practice your responses. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be when you are in the hot seat in front of the interviewer.

Examples of answers using the STAR method

Q. Share a time when you faced a difficult situation at work. How did you handle and resolve the issue?

Squote: “I worked as a human resources manager at a restaurant chain when an employee alleged that he had been sexually harassed against one of the other employees. »

Jask: “I knew I had to respond to the issue and investigate immediately.

Aaction: “I scheduled interviews with employee managers and each employee to gather information and ideas. »

Rresults : “It turns out that the employee who allegedly harassed the other employee meant no harm, and the employee who made the allegations was willing to listen to the other employee’s apologies and explanations. I assigned the employee with the allegations against her to a harassment training program, and the two employees have been able to work together ever since.

Q. Describe a time when you felt a lot of pressure due to a tight deadline. How did you answer?

Squote: “In my previous job as a project manager, one of the team members left a week after the finish line of a large project for one of our biggest clients. The member was ready to take the project from final stage to launch.

Jask: “Even though I was managing three other projects at the time, I had to make sure we stayed on track to complete the project on time.

Aaction: “I first gave myself an evening to relax, de-stress and refocus. From there, I carefully assessed what was needed to complete the project on time. I also assessed the roles of other team members to determine who would be best suited to replace the employee who had resigned. I ended up dividing the tasks between me and another member of the team, who was delighted with the opportunity.

Rresults : “Although we spent a few late nights in the office that week, we were able to finish the project on time. The client was very satisfied with the result.

You can also check out Ladders 73 sets of behavioral interview questions for free, each with 30 related questions separated into five interview categories.

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