Wish there was a magic formula for answering behavioral interview questions? The good news is that there is! The STAR Method is an easy to learn, powerfully effective way to answer interview questions.
In most job interviews, they’ll ask you behavioral interview questions, also known as competency-based questions. These questions aim at getting to the heart of how you respond in a variety of work situations. How do you react in times of stress? In what ways have you utilized your skills? What is your typical approach to solving problems and developing solutions?
To recognize behavioral interview questions, listen for things like, “Tell me about a time when…” or “What would you do in case of XYZ?” or “How have you demonstrated ABC in your career?”
The STAR Method structures your answers in a way that makes sure you include everything you need to impress the interviewer.
A guide to using the STAR Method to ace your behavioral interview answers
STAR stands for:
Situation or Task
Make sure you address whatever was going on at the time. What Situation were you in? What Task were you being called to do and why? Set the scene.
What Action did you take in response to the situation or task demands? Talk a little about your thought process…why you chose this action, or what moving parts you had to coordinate to make it happen.
The Result is the most important part. Always finish your story by talking about what happened as a result of your actions. (You want this to be a positive result, of course.) As much as possible, quantify your answer with numbers, dollars, or percentages that clearly illustrate concrete results.
Prepare STAR Method Answers Before Your Interview
Spend some time before your interview preparing a few STAR method interview answers. Think back over your career and pick a few stories you can tell that illustrate common interview inquiries. When have you resolved an issue or overcame a stressful or difficult situation? When have you key skills for this job and what results did you get?
You can’t have every answer prepared, but having a few will be a big advantage for you.
See STAR Method Interview Sample Answers
My series on How to Answer Interview Questions has lots of examples of great interview answers. Here are a few using the STAR method to get you started:
- Describe a time when your work was criticized and how you handled it.
- Describe a time when your workload was heavy and how you handled it.
- Tell me about a time when you failed.
- Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
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