In most job interviews these days, you’re asked about past performances in positions similar to the one you’re seeking:
“Can you tell me about a time you had to show leadership?”
“How did you approach your boss when things whet wrong?”
“Have you ever had to fill in for someone in a different position without the proper training?”
These are known as ‘behavioral interview’ questions and the intent is to get interviewees talking about real-life examples of past job performances. These questions can be difficult because telling a story is easy but telling a good interview story is hard. In an interview, it’s hard to know what details to include and which ones to leave out.
The STAR method is a framework that can be used to develop a strong response to behavioral interview questions. STAR is actually an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Below is a short breakdown of each element of this framework.
The essential starting place is a situation from your professional past you can dissect to show your abilities. There’s usually no way to know what any given interviewer will ask you, so a good strategy is to develop a handful of stories that show multiple qualities, such as technical ability, leadership, and problem-solving. Come up with a handful of examples of success in your career and think about how each one conveys your capabilities.
Once you’ve settled on a few scenarios, figure out a way to layout each one, emphasizing its various details so the outcome seems meaningful. When laying out each scenario, the best approach is to keep things succinct and concentrate on what’s most relevant.
Once you’ve laid out the situation, you need to highlight your involvement in it. This part of your answer is essential to making your reader understand what you are capable of achieving.
When developing the task part of your answer, it’s important to be specific and give hard numbers. For instance, you could say, “My responsibility in this project was to boost email responses by 25 percent.”
After explaining the situation and our personal role in it, you need to discuss any actions you took. Once again, specifics are important here. Paint an accurate and impressive portrait by laying out the specific steps you took, and why you took them.
The last part of your response should reveal the outcome(s) of your action(s). Needless to say, the outcome(s) should be positive. No interviewer will be impressed with a story that concludes with you getting fired. While it’s fine to talk about a time you made a mistake, ensure your story ends on a high note, by mentioning what you were able to achieve because of that mistake.
Importantly, hiring managers want to understand why you made a difference. Ensure you drive home the point.
Find a New Job with Career Concepts!
At Career Concepts, we regularly help people prepare for interviews, as well as connect them to career opportunities. If you’re currently looking for a career or job search assistance, please contact us today!