Many interviews will include an element of competency or behavioural based questions to enable a potential employer to understand how you perform in different situations.
These types of questions are often more complex and can usually be identified by their opening – ‘tell me about a time…’, ‘give me an example of…’ or ‘describe a situation where….’ – and require a well thought out and detailed answer.
The key to success is understanding what the interviewer is looking for in your response and by using the STAR technique, candidates can prepare and deliver an impressive answer to the even the most difficult of questions.
What is the STAR technique?
STAR is an acronym that gives you a straightforward method of constructing your answer and stands for:
S Situation: start your answer by clearing describing the situation, including any relevant information
T Task: What needed to be done, highlighting the reasons behind what was required
A Action: What did you do? Clearly outline the steps you took and why.
R Result: What was the outcome and how did you achieve it.
Preparation is key
It is vital that you are able to talk your interviewer through a potentially detailed scenario without losing your train of thought or leaving out an important element of your answer.
It can be difficult to come up with suitable examples on the spot so as part of your interview preparation, make sure you spend some time identifying suitable examples that you can draw upon. Interviewers will look to include questions that focus upon working under pressure, dealing with difficult situations, managing conflict, persuading others of the right course of action so have a few possibilities up your sleeve that you feel you talk through confidently.
Answer with ‘I’ not ‘we’
The interviewer is considering you for the job, not your current or former colleagues, so remember to deliver your answers by focussing on the role that you played and use the first person in your responses. Also, ensure that you give due attention to the result of your actions, look to end on a positive note and if relevant, try to quantify the outcome e.g., exceeding targets, improving productivity or reducing spend by X%.
With thorough preparation and following these simple steps, you will be able to master these potentially tricky questions and deliver an impressive interview.
Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of temporary, interim and permanent finance and accountancy professionals. With offices in Leeds and Sheffield our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond. CONTACT US today for expert advice on your next career move.