The STAR method is a useful framework to help you prepare for interviews. The approach can be applied to job applications, performance reviews and workplace appraisals. STAR will allow you to structure your answers to ensure that you are making your point clearly.
STAR stands for:
It is a great tool for competency-based interviews and behavioural questions.
Employers and interviewers like to ask questions about your behaviour to understand how you resolve issues and challenges. Your answers will lead the interviewer to think they can predict how you would react to future situations.
The STAR method gives you a structure to make sure you give convincing and relevant answers.
The following headings will help you form your answers.
Set the scene by outlining a specific situation. Provide the interviewer with a few key details e.g. the nature of the project, where it took place and who else was involved.
Explain your role in the situation. Give a few more details e.g.
This is where you talk about what you did. Be specific and explain how you overcame the challenges presented by the task. Be clear about the actions and decisions you made compared with the decisions made collectively or by others.
Finally give a summary of the consequence of your actions. Mention specific results in your answer and refer to facts, figures and stats that quantify your success. Don’t exaggerate your influence on the outcome. If you say something that is patently untrue it undermines your credibility for the whole interview.
You can also discuss what you learned and share insights that you can apply to future challenges. If a task didn’t go entirely to plan it is a sign of strength (and not weakness) to show that you learned from the experience and would change your approach in the future.
We found our houses kept getting blown down by a wolf. My two siblings who live with me already tried changing the building materials, experimenting with straw and sticks.
It was my turn to build a house. It had to be strong enough to withstand wolf-breath. The materials had to be readily available and able to be transported in wheelbarrow loads.
I noticed a builder’s merchant across the bridge on the other side of the river. I organised my siblings to take our wheelbarrow to the shop and collect batches of bricks and mortar. We worked as a team to build a house with brick walls. We used the sticks and straw from the previous attempts to form a roof.
The house was built in less than a week. The next time the wolf came by it was unable to blow the house down and we were safe. The wolf moved away and didn’t bother us again.
Read the job description carefully and think about examples you can use to demonstrate the attributes that the position requires
Check that your application relates to the job description. You won’t be able to evidence everything – the interview will give you the opportunity for this. You can allude to projects in your application to steer the conversation towards your strengths.
Get a friend to ask you questions based on the job description. You might think it is obvious how you would answer questions, but in the unfamiliar situation of an interview it is good to have some practice to fall back on.
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