How to Use the Star Method on Your Next Interview
You found the job of your dreams! But need to find a way to make it yours. You landed the interview, and that is all that stands between you and the career of your dreams. You get to the interview, and you are knocking it out of the park.
As you start to see your future in your hands, the interviewer asks you, “Tell me about a time when…”
Woah! That was not expected! You try to digest the question and try to find a story that can relate as you scramble for an answer, and ultimately don’t use the best one.
Rest assured, you can find relief in knowing that many people have experienced the same feelings of panic and anxiety in an interview. Luckily, we have a strategy that will get you through these difficult interview questions.
What is the STAR Method for Interviewing?
The STAR interview strategy is an easy to use template that allows you to answer behavioral questions in your interview.
The best part of a behavioral question is that they are easy to spot. They usually start with:
- Tell me about a time when…
- Did you ever…?
- Describe a time when…?
- Give me an example of…
- How Do You Handle…?
These questions are insightful for the interviewer because it offers a look into your professional growth.
The STAR interview method is a reliable technique when asked a behavioral question in an interview.
The STAR acronym represents:
Situation: Describe the event or the situation that you were in.
Task: Explain the task you had to complete
Action: Describe the specific actions you took to complete the task
Results: Close with the results of your efforts
Answer Behavioral Question Using STAR
Once you have memorized the acronym here are the step-by-step instructions to answering questions using STAR.
Step 1.0: Situation
When building the structure of the STAR method the situation or the story that you are going to create will be the foundation.
There is no way for you to know what behavioral questions they may ask exactly, but it is smart to have a catalog of stories and examples that you can optimize for different questions.
There is also no shame in spending the time to try to find the best story to answer the question. “I find it encouraging when I see an applicant spend more time on difficult questions.
It shows their ability to problem solve and how they value quality in their answers.” Karessa Ali Skillgigs’ in-house talent recruiter.
Step 1.2: Build the Scene
Now you chose your story; it’s time to build your scene. The biggest mistake that an interviewee can make when building out a story is clouding it with too many details. Sure, you intend not to do this but when the nerves of an interview kick in people tend to lose their focus.
Your mission in telling the story is to show a clear picture of the situation, while at the same time, highlighting the problem that you were facing. Remember, for the STAR method to work you need to be intentional in how concise and focused your story is.
For example, if an interviewer asks you, “Tell me about a time you were tasked with a goal that appeared to be impossible at first.”
Your response, “in my previous sales position, my department made an aggressive department goal for us to sell about $600,000 in product for the first month of 2017.”
Step 2.0: Your Tasks
This is the part of the story where you explain how you fit in.
Interviewees often think that is the part of the STAR method that you input the ‘action’ response.
However, the Task portion is used to explain your responsibility in the story and the duties that you were assigned.
“As a sales manager for the southern district, I was expected to manage and direct the team’s goal of increasing sales profit by 25% by the end of 2018.”
Step 3.0: Light, Camera, ACTION
As the interviewer understands the role that you play for this story, your goal is to show what steps you took to reach that goal or solve the problem at hand.
The action is the most detailed part of the method so having a clear and distinct analysis of what you did and how you did it is very crucial. How many people were on your team? What was your strategy in completing your goal?
Make sure that you don’t have any stones unturned in the actions that you took for strategy.
“I started by going back to my team and letting them know what the department’s sales goal for the end of the year was. Then, giving each of my team members a plan on how we are going to reach that goal by assigning sales associate through weekly sales goal. Next, I made sure that each goal was appropriate for each associate based on their experience and their past sales on each quarter. I also wanted to incorporate gamification in the goals. I added extra incentives for my team member once they reached their weekly goals.”
Step 4.0: The Results
The result is the part where you can show off. The results are the final part of your STAR response to the question asked and the consequences of the actions you took. The ideal scenario would be a result that would be positive unless the question that is asked is a time that you failed.
Then the results that you should be sharing are the lessons that you learned in that moment of frailer and the steps that you would take to improve on what you did.
Many people tend to forget that this is where the interviewer has been anticipating. Make sure you make a lasting impression on your story by having quantitative responses that will leave a substantial impact.
“Becuase of my efforts in motivating my team through gamification and weakly incentives, we were able to increase sales profits for my team 32% by the end of that month.”
The behavioral question can be a beast of its own and can prove to be very daunting. But just like the saying goes practice makes perfects. Your goal is to make behavioral questions a cake walk and use these opportunities to help show the growth in your career.