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How to use the STAR interview technique

How to use the STAR interview technique

Most people find the concept of attending an interview rather daunting. If it isn’t enough having your every move analysed, you’re also expected to answer some tough interview questions. It’s enough to put anyone on edge.
But instead of resigning to the interview gods, there are proven interview tips to control the situation. And one of those ways is with the STAR interview technique. In today’s article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about this method!

What is the STAR interview method?

The STAR interview technique is a structured way of answering competency-based interview questions. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Instead of just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind, the STAR method provides a framework. If you follow this framework, your answers will be well structured.

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

Situation

Begin your answer by describing the situation at the time. Perhaps you need to detail what company you were with and the position you held. This helps to set the scene in your answer.

Task

The next part of your answer should describe the task or problem. What was the challenge you faced? Were there any time constraints? Make sure you go into detail about the most challenging parts of this situation.

Action

This is the part of your answer where you describe the action you took to resolve the task at hand. Whether you worked as part of a team or solo, explain the key points in how you completed the task.

Result

The final part of your answer is to describe the outcome. What did you achieve? What benefit did this have for the organisation, the customer or your department? Perhaps you managed to streamline a process by 15%. Or maybe you were able to create a new filing system or hit a sales target. If you can use any facts or figures when describing the result, it will make your answer more powerful!

Sample STAR interview questions

  • Describe a time where you used your initiative
  • Can you give an example of when you’ve worked as part of a team?
  • When have you worked to a target?
  • Have you ever overcome a difficult situation in the workplace?
  • Tell me about a time where you worked under pressure
  • Can you describe a time where you failed? What did you learn from the situation?

Example of a STAR interview answer

Sample question:
Can you describe a time where you hit a target?


Example answer:


Situation:

“Two years ago I was working as a sales consultant for Volkswagen selling brand new cars.”


Task:

The annual target for our team of 3 was £500,000 in sales. But by the end of November, we were short by £60,000 with just 1 month to hit our annual target.”


Action:

I split our team into 3 areas to cover the entire city. We spent days calling through every customer who had recently left their details. We made sure we followed up with every new customer within 24 hours, and booked in as many new viewings as possible. We held team meetings everyday, twice a day to boost morale and help each other where possible.”


Result:

“With 3 days to spare, we had hit our annual target and received a bonus commission to reflect our hard work. We were the only team in the UK to hit our target.”

STAR for the win!

Whether a phone, video or face to face interview, you’ll be able to use the STAR method for all your competency-based questions. Just be sure to prepare answers to these questions ahead of the interview to give you the best shot of success.


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