STAR is a response method, representing the Situation, Task, Approachand Results.
Although interviews can be intimidating, you can rest easy knowing that almost every interviewer uses a behaviour style interview approach, which can be easily broken down and mastered.
Behavioural questions typically look something like this: “What was the most difficult decision you have ever made on the job?” or “Tell me about a time that you had to overcome an obstacle.” When faced with these types of questions, the STAR (Situation, Task, Approach, Results) method is a simple technique that allows you to provide a concrete example of your workplace ethos.
By using the STAR method, you demonstrate your competency to the interviewer while highlighting your strengths and skills. Mastering the STAR method is the easiest way to prepare yourself for an interview.
During an interview, you can use the STAR method for a variety of questions.
These behavioural questions may focus on leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, personal skills, or conflict. While it is important to master the STAR technique, interview preparation should also include practising your elevator pitch, researching the company itself, and gaining confidence in your skills and abilities.
How to Master the STAR Method
- The first step is to provide your interviewer with context. Consider the first step as setting the scene for the interviewer.
- Provide all of the facts—who, what, when, where, why—and note specific details that add credibility to your story.
- Keep your description of the situation short and concise so that your response centres on you rather than the situation itself.
Example 1: While working at Company Name Ltd, I had the opportunity to work with the research development team to pilot a new initiative for marketing my company’s lowest-performing product.
Example 2: When I worked at XYZ & Associates, I set a goal for myself to become part of the management team within five years of being hired.
Top Tip: Remember to include buzzwords that highlight the core values of the company and emphasise your skills and abilities.
After setting the scene Outline the task that you were responsible for and the expectations that accompanied this task.
- It is vital that you convey any challenges that you faced as a result of the task because it sets you up for the last two parts of the method.
- The task that you faced is important, but the interviewer is more interested in what you did to resolve the issue or handle the task.
Example 1: Because this was the last effort to revive the product, the project was both high pressure and time-consuming. I specifically worked to determine consumer preferences and report those preferences to the rest of the development team.
Example 2: To reach this goal, I had to be promoted at least twice because I…
Top Tip: Make sure to highlight your role in the task, this reveals the pressure of the situation and your ability to cope with such pressure.
The approach is the most crucial part of the STAR method because it highlights the specific actions you took to resolve a situation.
- During this part of your response, recognise the skills you used to resolve the issue and make sure that these skills align with the required skills for the interviewing position.
- Outline each step of your approach, but try not to come off as condescending.
Example 1: Rather than repeat past marketing questionnaires for the product, I developed a new approach to targeting customer preferences. This approach relied on a compare and contrast method that highlighted the weakest aspects of our product.
Example 2: I challenged myself to improve my performance at work by focusing on the quality of the work I produced.
Top Tip: Focus on concrete examples of your actions that exemplify the qualities that your interviewer is looking for in a job candidate.
This final step is the moment where you get to share the positive impact of your actions.
- Explain the outcome of your actions and be sure to incorporate the results of your choices.
- Emphasize how you directly contributed to the results and how your participation in the situation allowed you to learn or grow.
- Conclude your response with a positive message.
Example 1: After gathering my data, I reported this information to the rest of the development team, and our combined efforts resulted in a 30% increase in sales.
Example 2: My bosses recognised the time and effort I spent on each product, and I slowly worked my way up to the management team by my fourth year at the company.
Top Tip: Demonstrate the worth of your skills and sell your abilities as creative contributions that are sure to improve any work setting.
The STAR interview method is a sure way to help calm your nerves and prepare yourself for an interview.
While there are hundreds of possible behavioural questions you may be asked, you can practice this method and master the ability to highlight your skills and workplace value. Begin practising today to ace your next interview!