Be a STAR at Interviewing!

If you settled on this week’s blog it’s because you’re wondering how best to answer behavioral interview questions. The simple answer is that you should use the STAR method. Behavioral interview questions as discussed a couple of weeks ago is simply, questions that require you to answer based on a situation. These questions can include:

  • Tell me about a time you worked effectively under pressure.
  • Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
  • Describe a decision or change that you made that wasn’t favorable with others on your team.

The STAR technique is S – situation, T – task, A – action, R – results.

S – Situation

  • The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge or situation in which you found yourself in.

T – Task

  • The interviewer wants to hear about what you had to do to achieve in that situation.

A – Action

  • The interviewer will be listening for what you did, why you did it, and what (if any) were the alternatives you may have had in that situation.

R – Results

  • The interviewer will want to hear what the outcomes of your actions were. Did you achieve what you set out to do and if not, why not. What did you learn from this experience and have you utilized this learning moving forward?

Answering a behavioral interview question using the STAR technique will not only allow you to fully answer the question for the interviewer but also provide you with direction for your answer. How often have you found yourself going off-course in an interview or bumbling through a question because you lost your direction? The STAR technique will help you keep on track because it is so simple and effective.

Although this technique is a great tool your best solution is still to practice, practice, practice! I recommend having four or five situations prepared that may answer a good portion of the behavioral questions. This way you won’t pause too long in the interview because you remember that X situation can be used for leadership questions, working with difficult team members, etc.  Practicing the STAR technique is also extremely important and the more you practice the easier your interview will be!