What is STAR interview technique?
The STAR interview technique (STAR model interview) is a method and framework that interviewers utilise to assess competence suitability for a role through a set of behavioural interview questions. The STAR interview technique includes behavioural interview questions, these are experiential that ask the interviewee to describe a past situation.
The STAR interview technique is a four-step method of answering behavioural interview questions:
- Situation: Describe the scene and the time it occurred.
- Task: Summarise the activity and the aim of that activity.
- Action: Give a clear answer about the steps you took to achieve this.
- Result: Ending with the outcomes of your activity.
How to master the star method for interview questions?
Understanding the STAR coaching model and undertaking competency-based interview training prior to the interview is key. Consider it as telling a story which with the ST being the Beginning Action being the Middle and the Result being the Ending. Within the STAR coaching model before the interview there are a number of different competencies that you should be thinking about such as teamwork, leadership, time management, conflict resolution and innovation.
For each of the above competencies you should be looking to develop at least 1-2 stories for each by applying the STAR technique examples this will put you will be in a strong position before the job interview. Now within your STAR method story there are some fundamental things that you should be focused on firstly provide key facts and figures where possible, as this provides context and help paint a clear picture in the mind of the interview panel. You should also look to align abilities the employer is searching for or that are essential for the job interview.
When it comes to the Actions, again alignment between what the requirements for the job role are and what you did are crucial. Remember an interview answers is a super condensed version of what really happened. If you were to explain all aspects of the start as it happened in reality you could be explaining for 30minutes. Therefore it’s important to filter out the actions from the story that are most relevant for the role and the questions being asked. The Method I recommend you apply is simply to put yourself in the interviewers shoes and consider what you might be looking for if you were recruiting for the role. This helps gets rid of a lot of the fuzz.
Again to reiterate, being interviewed in this method, since you have to demonstrate to the recruiter that you have the necessary skills or abilities and how it will translate when doing the new job. One thing to keep in mind is that selecting the ideal success story for the scenario is critical. Make sure the behaviour you’re displaying in the interview corresponds to the one the recruiter is looking for. And if you don’t even have any job experience to draw from, try to recall a similar incident from your experience, whether from academics, sports, charity work etc.
How to answer interview questions using STAR method?
What is the STAR method when interviewing?
- Situation: Give a context and history to the situation to lay the basis for the story. If you are asked regarding teamwork, you should describe the project, who you collaborated with, when you started the project, and where you were at the time.
- Task: Explain your specific role or responsibilities in the circumstance. Make sure the recruiter knows what you were supposed to perform exactly, instead of what everyone else performed.
- Action: This is the most crucial section of the story. You should describe how you dealt with the challenging scenario or solved the problem in this section. Indicate if you worked alone or in a group. What you are attempting to convey is your appraisal of the scenario, your answer to the problem, and how you enlisted the help of the team.
- Result: Wrap things up by saying how your activities resulted in a favourable outcome and what skills you learned. Quantify the outcomes and demonstrate the impact of your actions if possible.
Strategy for answering behavioural questions
- Listen to the question carefully
- Select an appropriate example
- Choose an appropriate steps to answer the question
Examples of STAR interview questions
- Tell me about a time whenever your leadership skills have helped to inspire and motive a team? (Examining Leadership qualities)
- Describe a time when you had to make a hard choice at work. How did you formulate your decision? (Decision making)
- Describe a modification you implemented that resulted in better client service. (Development and Change)
- Describe an instance when you and your supervisor had a disagreement. How did you come up with a solution? (Managing higher authority stress)
- Describe a situation when you had to interact with a large group of people. Tell me how you were able to effectively communicate your message? (Communication)
- Describe an instance when you needed to make last-minute alterations to your plans in order to finish a critical task on time? (Organization and Planning)
- Explain a case in which you made a judgment based on evidence or logic? (Logical thinking)
- Tell me about a moment when you took initiative at work? (Work Completion)
- Describe a time when you were under a lot of strain at your job. How did you deal with it? (Ability to handle stressful situations)
- Describe an instance when you had to deal with a challenging situation at work. How did you resolve the issue? (Problem-solving ability)
- Describe a case in which you demonstrated your capacity to make the best use of existing resources at your disposal while providing excellent service for the customers. (Providing a High-Quality Service)
- Provide an example of a time where you’ve had to disagree with a senior colleague? (Leadership)
Examples of answering interview question using STAR technique model
Question One: What should you do if a group member refuses to finish his or her job task?
Explain your overall quality: Explain your abilities that match with this situation in start. Like you can say that when there are group disagreements or challenges, I try my level best to step in and lead the team if necessary. My communication abilities, I believe, make me a good leader and mediator.
Question Two: Can you recall a time when you made a mistake at the workplace and how you dealt with it?
When I was working at the warehouse facility which managed over £20million in stock and over 10,000 items per day, I made a big mistake that resulted in the company not having enough stock during a peak season, only having 7,000 items. I alerted my line manager as soon as I realized I had got it wrong. In a circumstance like this, truth and honesty are critical. My boss was irritated by the error I had made. He was grateful, though, that we got the chance to try to fix it. I requested him to give me a chance to sort things out, and he agreed. The first thing I did was to call our supplier to ask if the extra stock I had overlooked could be delivered in time for the holiday season. They said they would look in to it. Secondly was to manage the expectations of our clients, I contacted our Account management to let them know there could be a slight delay in some deliveries, this was important so that they could communicate to the client and support them in developing and contingency plans if there was a delay. The supplier said that they could deliver the stock but it would take one week. Result was that all the clients successfully received their stock with minimal interruptions to their business. I was able to do this because I accepted my mistake ad took ownership in resolving it. Also important was honest with the management and clearly communicated with all stakeholders to achieve the bet possible outcome considering the difficult circumstances.
Question Three: When was the last time you had to deal with a lot of work pressure?
At my last employment, a co-worker suddenly left. He was in charge of a project which had to be accomplished in 4week. My manager requested a volunteer to assume the project from the rest of the team. I made the decision to come in and take charge. To be fair, I enjoy working pressure and I believe it’s important to step up in a time of need. The first thing I did was to thoroughly read the proposal, this was important as I needed to get a complete overview of the situation and identify potential challenges and barriers. I found that one of the biggest issues around testing. Once I knew this, the second thing I did was devised a strategy for completing the project on time and under budget. My strategy consisted of three key steps including step one (insert step), Step two (insert step) and Step three ( insert step). It was difficult, but I put in the additional hours of effort required, and I am delighted to report that the job was completed on schedule and to specifications. My boss was quite pleased with my work commitment and effort. He expressed his gratitude for my devotion and perseverance to complete this critical assignment. Which saved us over £15,000.
Question Four: Describe a time when you’ve had to deal with a difficult customer?
I used to work in customer support and once had to interact with an enraged customer. Our item had disappointed them, and they demanded a refund. The company’s policy on “no refunds” after 14 days, this was a rare occurrence as our items were trustworthy. I maintained my composure whilst they were ranting and didn’t interrupt, I knew that if I wanted to achieve a meaningful outcome from this situation it required the customer to be in a calm, emotional state. Once the customer had calmed down I empathised with them and said I understand that they’re upset. I then highlighted that we don’t do refunds because it’s been over 14 days but we can look at other options, I walked them through the store and discussed the different items and said as a gesture of good will I’m happy to exchange the product for the more expensive one and gave them a 20% discount on the item which resulted it being only marginally more expensive then the original item but of a much better quality. The customer was happy to trade up and the result was satisfied. The customer later apologised for the earlier outburst and since then has become a regular customer.