Whilst preparing for an upcoming interview, I’ve seen the STAR technique being mentioned; what is this and how can I use it to my best advantage?
Many interviews will include an element of competency or behavioural based questions to enable a potential employer to understand how you perform in particular 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 through and detailed answer.
The key to success is understanding what the interviewer is looking for in your response and by using the STAR technique, you can prepare and deliver an impressive answer to the even the most difficult of questions.
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 need 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.
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.
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, looking 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 some thorough preparation and by following these simple steps, you will be able to master these potentially tricky questions and deliver an impressive interview.
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