Ace your next behavioral interview by using the STAR Method.

Did you know behavioral-based interview questions are extremely common these days? Hiring managers want to understand whether or not a job candidate has the ability to describe their skill set and past experience concisely. Chances are, you’ve been asked one or more of the following questions or prompts during an interview:

  • Tell me about a time when you’ve had to overcome an obstacle at work.

  • Describe how you handle tight project deadlines.

  • What would you do if a co-worker consistently doesn’t follow through on their part of a project?  

However, the thought of tackling some of these complex interview questions can be incredibly intimidating. You understand the importance of providing a thorough answer, but how much detail is too much? More importantly, how should you structure your interview response, and where should you begin? Don’t worry, there is a great solution: the STAR method. In a nutshell, the STAR response technique can help you structure your answers clearly and effectively during the interview process.

The STAR method enables interviewees to eloquently explain a scenario they’ve experienced at work, describe how they reacted to it, and detail the end result of the situation in order to answer behavioral-based questions. Let’s take a closer look at how the STAR method works and how to master behavior-based interview questions like a pro.    

What is the STAR Method?

The STAR interview response method stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

Situation

To use the STAR method, you first briefly outline the situation you were in or the event that took place. Try to limit this portion of your response to a few sentences and offer enough information to clearly convey what happened without taking up too much time.

Task

Next, outline the task at hand. For example, you were asked to plan a detailed company event, or you were in charge of a multifaceted team project.

Action

Then, explain the action you took to complete the task. Did you create a spreadsheet of vendors for the event and contact them one by one? Were you able to hire a team of contractors to assist you with the project? Be as specific as possible during this part of your response.

Result

Last, describe the end result of the situation. How did your efforts allow you to complete the task? If applicable, offer statistics or other compelling details to help outline the results you were able to achieve.  

How to master the STAR Method

Although you aren’t able to predict the specific interview questions you’ll be asked when you meet with a hiring manager, you can be as prepared as possible to help yourself nail the interview. Here are a few ways to ensure you won’t be caught off guard by a tricky question:

  1. Create a list of three to five challenging scenarios that you encountered (and conquered) during your previous employment. Consider times when you’ve been under super tight deadlines for a project, or you’ve been short staffed but still managed to do an excellent job at the task at hand. By considering specific situations you’ve overcome before your interview, you won’t be frazzled when they ask about a time when you’ve gone above and beyond at work.   

  1. Outline five of your strongest skills on paper and review them before your interview. Consider both soft skills and hard skills so you have a comprehensive answer to the question “What would you say your strongest skills are?”

  1. Consider a situation where you’ve had to juggle several tasks at once, and how you were able to successfully handle the scenario. Employers often want to hear a job candidate’s outlook on multitasking and their ability to prioritize several responsibilities when necessary.  

  1. Be prepared to answer questions about conflict within a team setting or among your co-workers. Again, hiring managers often want to understand how you dealt with difficult situations, specifically relating to personnel issues.

  1. Remember, practice makes perfect! Although you don’t want your answers to sound rehearsed, it’s a smart idea to review the details of specific achievements throughout your career. Consider reviewing any important dates you may reference, as well as the names of the clients or partners you’ve worked with previously.

Become a pro at the STAR Method today

The STAR response technique helps you master behavioral-based interview questions thoroughly and professionally. If crafting answers to interview questions is something you struggle with, the STAR method can ensure you’re delivering succinct and compelling answers. By taking adequate time to prepare for your next interview, reviewing some of your professional strengths, and implementing the STAR method, you’ll be well on your way to acing your next interview.    

Not landing the job after your interviews? It’s okay! You probably just need some professional help from one of our expert interview coaches.

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