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Ace a Job Interview with the STAR Method

A common interview tactic is to ask behavioral interview questions. This allows your interviewer to get to know how you handle certain situations with real-life examples. However, it can be challenging to come up with an answer and sometimes you’re left racking your brain for an anecdote to satisfy the prompt.

The STAR interview method is a straightforward technique that you can use when your interviewer leads in with a telltale behavioral question. Not only will it help you come up with a real-life example, but it will help you to provide a focused answer and give your interviewer a better idea if you’re a fit for the job.

So what exactly does STAR stand for?

Situation: Find a suitable scenario
Task: Layout your responsibilities and highlight your tasks
Action: Describe the steps you took to address the situation
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved

Answering interview questions with STAR

Situation

Start by finding an appropriate scenario from your professional history that you can explain. While you won’t know what behavioral questions your interviewer might ask, it’s smart to prepare some stories and examples ahead of time. This will allow you to tweak and adapt those scenarios for different questions.

If you’re having a hard time coming up with examples during your interview, don’t be afraid to ask for a minute so you can gather your thoughts. Your interviewer will appreciate you taking the time to craft the best answer.

Task

You have your example ready, now you need to explain what your role was in the scenario. Be sure to exclude unnecessary details and keep things concise and relevant. The STAR method is meant to be simple. Your goal is to paint a clear picture of the situation, which will set you up for providing the result later on.

Describe where you fit in the scenario. Give the specifics of what your responsibilities were in that particular situation, as well as any objectives that were set for you.

Action

Now it’s time to explain to the interviewer what steps you took to reach the goal or solve the problem. Be specific and make sure you give enough information about exactly what you did.

Result

The final portion of your response should share the results of your actions and explain how you made an impact. Interviewers don’t just want to know what you did, but they want to know why it mattered. Be specific about the results you achieved and provide quantifiable data when you can.

In Conclusion

The STAR interview method should help you provide a concise answer to each behavioral interview question. One or two sentences for each letter of the acronym should suffice. And be sure to practice beforehand, whether it is with someone else or in front of a mirror. Talking through your responses will give you the confidence you need during your interview.

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