The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.
The STAR interview method is also a technique that helps candidates prepare for interview questions that determine whether they will be able to handle specific situations associated with a job.
The situation, task, action, result format is a proficiency used by interviewers to gather all the relevant information about a specific capability that the job requires.
Beyond simply finding out if a candidate has the knowledge to do the job, behavioral questions help a hiring manager determine if a candidate also has the skills and experience.
This method will also help an employee to prepare clear and concise responses, using real-life examples.
Tips On How To Use STAR Method To Answer Job Interview Questions
STAR technique is a way to structure your answer, most especially in a job interview. It is recommended for use by most organisations, including Government, Civil Service, banks and the NHS.
S.T.A.R. simply stands for Situation + Task + Action + Result.
Using this strategy is particularly helpful in response to competency-focused questions, which typically begins with phrases such as: “Describe a time when…” and “Share an example of a situation where….”
STAR methodical techniques help the employer to compare all the people who are applying for the job in a methodical and structured way.
However, by using this step-by-step method, you will be able to answer each question in a systematic manner, without forgetting the important stuff.
Here, we take a look at every stage of the STAR interview method.
This is about setting the scene, giving a context and background to the situation. So if you’re asked a question about time management, your reply would need to include the details of the project you were working on, who you were working with, when it happened and where you were.
You can start by describing the SITUATION you were involved in. You can use an example from your current or previous job, education, personal experience or any relevant event. Always choose the most appropriate and business orientated example you have and one that best fits the role for which you are being interviewed.
Ensure you choose an example that demonstrates the significance of your experience, the most difficult, complex, largest and successful problem, situation or task that you resolved. Give enough detail for the interviewer to understand what was involved but no more than one or two sentences.
This is more specific to your exact role in the situation. You need to make sure that the interviewer knows what you were tasked with, rather than the rest of the team. Here you are expected to briefly describe what you were tasked with, your responsibilities and assignments for the situation. Once again a sentence or two is sufficient.
This is the most important part of the STAR technique because it allows you to highlight what your response was. Remember, you need to talk about what you specifically did, so using ‘I’ rather than team actions otherwise, you won’t be showing off the necessary skills the employer is looking for.
Be sure to share a lot of detail, the interviewer will not be familiar with your history, but remember to avoid any acronyms and institutional language.
What you are trying to get across here is how you assessed and decided what was the appropriate response to the situation, and how you got the other team members involved – which in turn is a great way to demonstrate your communication skills.
For example, if you are asked about dealing with a difficult personality on your team you would talk about how you decided to take a certain course of action to avoid making the situation worse or upsetting the individual.
You may feel as if you are being overly descriptive but this is necessary in order to demonstrate that you have the experience of the action you are describing; do not assume that the interviewer will guess or infer what you did merely from your describing the context.
The result should be a positive one, and ideally one that can be quantified. Examples include repeat business, an increase in sales by 15% or saving the team 5 hours a week. The interviewer will also want to know what you learned from that situation, and if there was anything you’d do differently the next time you were faced with that situation.
The STAR technique enables you to showcase your relevant experience with the interviewer in a methodical manner. We recommend doing some in-depth preparation before the interview so that you can have some great examples to quote.
We love hearing about how your experience is relevant to a career at Enterprise, whether you are looking for work experience, an apprenticeship or a graduate management role. Take a look at the job opportunities we have available and get in touch soon.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of STAR
1. Be Prepared
This is really the essence of the method. Going in with a solid set of S.T.A.R. targeted success stories will not only make answering them easier for you but will help you highlight to the hiring manager the specific qualities and skills that make you perfect for the position and set you apart from the other candidates.
2. Be Specific
The STAR Method is not about being vague and wishy-washy. This goes hand in hand with being prepared. Prior to the interview, you should have identified the skills and qualities the company is looking for. Make sure your stories are specific and targeted.
Remember, you need to highlight the behavior that the hiring manager is interested in, and your success story should clearly align with that. Being vague or general will not only make it difficult for the hiring manager to properly evaluate you, but it will dilute the impact of your success story.
3. Be Quantitative
This is very important. Hiring Managers absolutely LOVE numbers, so have solid, tangible results to back up your stories. Did you increase sales for your department by 58%? Did your actions make your team 89% more efficient? Back up your successes with hard facts and numbers wherever possible.
4. Be Concise
Keep your stories short, sweet and targeted. No extra info or boring details that are irrelevant to the specific question. If you see the Hiring Manager glance down at her watch or start yawning during your response, you know it is time to wrap it up.
5. Be Honest
The last thing you want to do is dazzle your interviewer with a story that isn’t 100% true. Not only do you undermine your credibility down the road if they find out you weren’t honest, but it calls into question their ability to trust you overall…and nobody wants to hire someone they don’t trust.
Sample STAR Response
Situation (S): Advertising revenue was falling off for my college newspaper, The Review, and
large numbers of long-term advertisers were not renewing contracts.
Task (T): My goal was to generate new ideas, materials, and incentives that would result in at
least a 15% increase in advertisers from the year before.
Action (A): I designed a new promotional packet to go with the rate sheet and compared the
benefits of The Review circulation with other ad media in the area. I also set-up a special training
session for the account executives with a School of Business Administration professor who
discussed competitive selling strategies.
Result (R): We signed contracts with 15 former advertisers for daily ads and five for special
supplements. We increased our new advertisers by 20 percent over the same period last year.
When To Use The STAR Method
While there are literally an unlimited amount of possible behavioral questions a hiring manager could ask you, there are several specific categories they all fall into: