Job Interview Preparation Made Easier: How To Use The STAR Method

Preparing for a job interview? The best piece of advice I can offer is to think through some interview questions and answers ahead of time. Develop some stories you can tell that provide examples of your skills and experiences.

One technique you can use to craft your answers for job interview questions is the STAR Method. This is an acronym for SituationTaskActionResult.

This method works really well for Behavioral Interview Questions. These types of questions often begin with phrases like:

  • Tell me about a time when…
  • Describe a time when you…
  • How do you handle…
  • Give me an example of a time…

The idea behind these types of questions is that candidates’ past performance indicates how they will respond in similar work situations in the future. The questions could be about communication, time management, project management, conflict resolution, customer service — any aspects that the job involves.

The STAR Method is a way to help you organize your thoughts to create a polished, succinct answer.

Here’s how it works:

Situation

Think of an example, a story of a past experience you can recount that demonstrates your skills. 

Task

What did you need to accomplish? What was the project or goal that you were responsible for?

Action

What actions did you take? How did you tackle the problem?

Result

What were the positive outcomes of the actions you took? How did your actions solve the problem, reach the goal or move the project forward? 

For example:

Question:
Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond to get the job done.

Answer:

Situation:
We have a large annual event that is a big fundraiser for our organization. I was scheduled to cover the event by taking some photos and posting highlights for social media, but at the last minute a key member of our Development team had a family emergency and wouldn’t be able to fill her role for that night.

Task:
She had been scheduled to work registration, so we needed someone to check guests in as they arrived, provide them with information, escort them to their table and ensure they felt welcomed. 

Action:

Since my only assigned role was to take photos throughout the event, I knew I had some flexibility, so I volunteered to work registration in her place.

Resolution:

The registration process went smoothly, and I really enjoyed matching faces with some of the names I’d previously seen in company records or on our social media platforms. It was great to interact with each of our guests personally, and it ended up helping me create more engaging social media posts as well. It made for a really fun night!

Once you develop several of these stories for questions that you anticipate, then practice them aloud. You want to be able to tell the stories very conversationally.

Try out this method and see what you think. I’ve found it to be really helpful for organizing my thoughts and structuring my answers.

Published by Career Coach Belinda

I’ve helped job seekers of all ages and career levels develop résumés, craft cover letters, and approach job interviews with confidence.

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