When you go to a job interview, you want to look like a superstar. And, using the STAR method can help. Here’s how this technique allows you to ace those dreaded behavioral interview questions.
What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?
Behavioral interview questions focus on how you handled a situation in the past. An example would be, “Tell me about a time you worked on a team.” Many companies prefer these questions because candidates must describe how they performed. This can provide more insight into someone’s abilities than a vague question such as, “How do you feel about teamwork?”
Behavioral questions are easy to spot. Usually, they begin with one of the following phrases…
- Tell me about a time…
- Describe a time…
- Give an example…
- How did you…?
- What did you do…?
What Is the STAR Method?
To successfully tackle behavioral interview questions, you need to tell a meaningful story without rambling. The STAR Method provides a framework to keep you on track. To help you remember what to do, the letters stand for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
How Can I Use the STAR Method in a Job Interview?
Step #1 – Think of Stories
Since you know the interviewer may ask these types of questions, you should be prepared. Search online for examples of behavioral interview questions and think of examples for each one. Also, your stories should be work-related (although volunteer experiences are okay too.)
Step #2 – Plug Your Stories Into STAR
Next, you want to follow the STAR method to mold your stores into a rockstar answer. A good rule of thumb is to use two to three sentences for each letter. That’s eight to twelve sentences in total.
- Situation – Describe the scene. Give the relevant facts without going into too much detail.
- Task – Explain where you fit in. What were your responsibilities? What was your goal?
- Action – Outline the steps you took to reach the goal or solve the problem. Be sure to include specific actions. Statements like, “I worked really hard,” don’t provide much information.
- Result – Make it clear how your action made an impact. What happened? How did it end? What did you learn? And again, provide specifics. Numbers and data are a fantastic way to make your story more impressive and memorable.
Step #3 – Practice
The STAR method may feel a bit awkward at first, but practice makes perfect. You may find it easier to write or type up a few examples. Then ask a friend to conduct a mock interview. Or, rehearse in front of a mirror until your answers shine.
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