Nail That Interview Using The STAR Interview Technique

August 5, 2021| slideuplift
Nail That Interview Using The STAR Interview Technique

Interviews can be daunting. They are usually the first interaction you have with a potential employer, and your continued progress and ultimate success in the hiring process hinges on nailing that interview. Employers use interviews as a vetting process to shortlist candidates that would be perfect for an advertised role. One of the key features of an interview is to understand a candidate’s personality as well as gather evidence of their competence in the skills mentioned in the job description and their individual CV.

As such, the methods and practices adopted by many companies nowadays are catered towards understanding and gauging a candidate’s practical expertise and prior experience. And this is where the STAR Interview method comes in. 

In this blog, you will learn:

What is the STAR Interview Method?

The STAR Interview Method consists of four elements – Situation, Task, Action, and Result. By working with a combination of these four, a candidate can tell a story with clear points of reference for the management in charge of hiring.

The STAR interview technique makes it easy to answer questions by prescribing the desired course of action, and the sequence of the information that should be relayed to the hiring managers, in response to a behavioral question.

Situation

First, describe the situation you were in that relates to the question and the competency you need to establish. Contextualize the background, and relay any information integral to the final result.

Task

Within the situation, what were your role and your task? Explain in detail what you had to do, and what objectives were you working with? Make your involvement clear in the task.

Action

Explain the actions taken by you in the situation. Avoid lumping your contributions with those of a larger team, or a group of people. Focus on your specific contributions to the task, and state in detail how you handled the situation in your individual capacity.

Result

In terms of benefits realized, state the results of the situation. Were your objectives met? And did the situation manifest in the way you intended? What was your specific contribution to these particular results? Don’t be shy in taking credit and assert your role in getting desirable results in this situation.

How to Identify STAR Questions (Behavioral Questions)?

These days, HR and hiring managers ask what are known as “behavioral questions”. These are questions that usually involve pointed queries that speak to past experiences and a demonstration of skills at some point. It is a popular strategy that allows a hiring manager to understand your skills, and determine if you will be fit for the job they are interviewing you for. As such, many of the situations within behavioral questions are precursors to the work a candidate may have to undertake in the new company.

Usually, these questions seek to understand a candidate’s ability to work in a team, be in a position of leadership, solve problems and overcome setbacks. 

The questions usually demand specific responses based on your past behaviors or experiences. Some common STAR questions include – 

  1. Share an example of a time when you faced a difficult problem at work. How did you solve this problem?
  2. Describe a time when you were under a lot of pressure at work. How did you react?
  3. Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it. 
  4. Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead. 
  5. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
  6. Tell me about an occasion when you had to complete a task within a short deadline.
  7. Have you ever had to work with someone you didn’t like? How did you handle that?

Notably, STAR questions have a predictable pattern of question formation. They often start with phrases such as “share an example”, “describe a time”, “give me an example”, “tell me about a time”, etc. In essence, these questions involve eliciting hyper-specific responses, the answers to which need to be specific to the context but also determine your position well enough.

How to Respond Using STAR Interview Technique?

Responding to behavioral questions can be difficult to do clearly and concisely. The STAR interview method is a framework and can be used as an effective tool to organize your thoughts. However, using it in a high-pressure situation, such that of a job interview, means that beyond understanding the technique itself, a lot of preparation and practice is required. 

There are certain things you can do in general to have a list of possible situations you can talk about in any situation. For this, you need to 

  1. Organize into the STAR interview method any significant event that took place in your prior place of work. This could be a big project you led, a successful sales pitch, or even an innovative solution to a problem plaguing your team. Having certain situations you can fall back on works great in the case of a question you were unprepared for and therefore do not have an anecdote for. 
  2. Know your successes and failures in and out. Go back into your memory and chart down the whole process, using the STAR interview method. 
  3. Practice being conversational. If your stories are too rehearsed, they can be taken as insincere and exaggerated. Moreover, maintaining a light tone can simultaneously work as a modest gesture, as well as a confident one.

For specific job interviews, for which you have the description(JD), you can

  1. Carefully study the list of requirements and qualifications. As such, match any prior experience to their list of requirements as much as possible. For instance, if the JD lists being “Good with keeping tasks on schedule” as a requisite for the position, think about and organize using the STAR interview method a situation wherein you were working with hard deadlines, and as such had to extensively manage your time.
  2. If you are a recent graduate, or someone who has not had a lot of work experience, build situations from your internships, college activities, student groups, and projects you did in school. As long as you can articulate your experiences in the context of your situation, the STAR interview method can be used to answer questions with personal or student anecdotes.
  3. Practice. And practice some more. Answering questions concisely is not something that you can learn overnight. Use sample questions to formulate answers, and practice answering the questions with all the important information and none of the filler content.

Once you have carefully prepared for behavioral questions using the STAR Interview method, you are now armed with the perfect responses, using your personal anecdotes, achievements, successes, and failures, to respond to any question the interviewer can throw at you. 

SlideUpLift Templates for STAR Interview Preparation

In talking about the STAR interview Method, and preparation for behavioral questions, one of the best and easiest ways to prepare and present your answers is through a STAR Interview presentation template. 

These templates are fully editable and have been created to ensure that you can effectively, and creatively, organize your situations and examples to answer STAR Interview questions. Each template consists of four parts – for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, so you can break down your thoughts into perfect compartments and use the template as a way to practice creating STAR interview answers.

STAR Technique

STAR Technique

Source: STAR Technique by SlideUpLift

STAR Method Template

STAR Interview Method Template

Source: STAR Method Template by SlideUpLift

STAR Model Template

STAR Model Template

Source: STAR Model Template by SlideUpLift

Moreover, if needed, these templates can also be used to present information to potential employers and hiring managers, as a way of demonstrating your past experiences in a Powerpoint presentation. 

Conclusion

The STAR Interview Method is one of the most commonly used forms of interviewing that helps structure responses to fuzzy questions. To be the perfect candidate for a position, beyond technical skills and professional qualifications, you need to be adept at communicating your ideas and thoughts, all the while backing them up with experience and expertise. And the STAR method allows you to do just that. Next time, whether it’s an interview at Amazon or a chat with a local employer, use the STAR Method to wow them with your answers.

A few additional tips to ace your interview : Put your best foot forward in front of an interviewer with a creative and visually appealing resume presentation. Additionally, in our experience, successful candidates go to the interviews prepared with 30 60 90 day plan  to impress their interviewers. 

Now you don’t have to scour the web to find out the right templates. Download our PowerPoint Templates from within PowerPoint. See how?

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Categories: Tips on Business Presentations

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