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How to Use the STAR Method in an Interview

Have you encountered a behavioral question in an interview? Such as “tell me about a time that you handled a difficult situation at work”.

Well Interviewers often ask hypothetical and behavioral questions because they believe your ideas and past behavior can predict your future actions. This helps recruiters analyze your skills, creativity, how you solve problems, and how you use your skills under similar circumstances. In preparing for job interviews, using the STAR method will help you tailor direct and concise answers to impress interviewers.

What is the STAR Method?

The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to behavioral-based interview questions by discussing the specific Situation, Task, Action and Result of the situation you are describing.

Situation - Set the stage for the story by sharing context around a specific situation or challenge you faced. Share two or three important details about relevant work situations, academic projects or volunteer work. You should spend the least amount of time on this part of your answer as interviewers are more concerned with the actions you took and the results you achieved.

 Task - This is where you come into the picture. This point enables you to then summarize what your involvement was and exactly what your key responsibilities were. It can be easy to get this mixed up with the Action step, but just keep it simple by listing out your objectives.

 Action - Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on “you”. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution? Be careful that you don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project, but what you actually did. Use the word “I,” not “we” when describing actions.

 Result - What was the outcome you reached through your actions? Focus on two or three main results of your actions and discuss what you learned, how you grew and why you're a stronger employee because of the experience. And, if possible, provide concrete examples of the results of your efforts. You should spend only slightly less time discussing the results than your actions.

How to Prepare for a Situational Interview?

 What are the Benefits of Using the STAR Method?

So there you have the basics of the STAR method for interviewing. If you want to learn more about “How to Ace Your Next Interview”, read this blog post