Rock the Interview like a STAR

Behavioral Interview Techniques STAR Method

It may have been a while since you have interviewed…and things have changed. Today employers are looking beyond skill-based question and incorporating behavioral-based techniques as well. The STAR method is a great way to answer ANY question to interview like a “ROCKSTAR.”

Many behavioral interview questions try to get at how you respond to negative situations. You will need to have examples of negative experiences but try to choose ones that you made the best of or—better yet, those that had positive outcomes and use the STAR method when answering.

Here is a good way to prepare and develop your “talk track” and shine in the allotted time during your phone screen and in-person interviews.

  1. Make sure that you have clearly defined the competencies for the role; when in doubt connect with your contact at Exemplar360
  2. A few questions might take the form of:
    • Give me an example of how you have…
    • Tell me about a situation where you…
    • In the past, how did you deal with a situation where…
    • Given your past experience, how would you best deal with…
  3. Identify 3+ examples from your past where you demonstrated top behaviors and skills that employers typically seek. Use examples that emphasize your top-selling points.
  4. Select half of your examples to be positive situations
  5. The other half should be situations that started out negatively, but you made the best of the outcome.
  6. Use examples from various areas of your career.
  7. Use recent examples if possible, followed by examples that are similar to the interviewing company.
  8. Describe examples in STAR form.

Situation or Task

Describe the situation you were in or the task that needed to be accomplished. Be specific about the event. Give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, current job, volunteer experience or any relevant event.

Action you Took

Describe what action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project, describe what you did—not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.

Results you Achieved

What happened? How did the event end?  What did you accomplish?  What did you learn? Even if the event did not end in a totally positive note, be sure to let the interviewer know what you learned and how you would apply this information to another similar situation.

The interviewer wants to know if you are coachable and open to feedback. In the interview, listen carefully to each question, and pull an example out of your bag of tricks that demonstrates the desired behavior. With practice, a relatively small set of examples will be appropriate for several behavioral questions.

In general, behavioral questions are trying to uncover your skills and adaptability in these areas.

  • Teamwork and Collaboration Leadership
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication (internal and external)
  • Initiative and Drive