How to Use the STAR Interview Technique

What is the STAR Interview Technique?

The STAR interview technique offers a straightforward format you can use to answer behavioural interview questions—those prompts that ask you to provide a real-life example of how you handled a certain kind of situation at work in the past.   Your response will reveal your skills, abilities, and personality. The logic behind this interview tactic is that your behaviour in the past reflects and predicts how you will behave in the future.

The STAR method helps you explain in a simple yet powerful way how you handled specific work situations and challenges.

The STAR format stands for :

Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a challenge, event or project you faced.

Task: Your responsibilities and assignments for the situation. The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation.

Action: Steps or procedure taken to relieve or rectify situation .The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what the alternatives were.

Result: Results of actions taken. What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

Sample Behavioural Interview Questions

Here are a few examples of behavioural questions you might be asked during an interview. Practice using the STAR technique on these common behavioural interviewing questions:

  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Can you give me a specific example of a time  time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem?
  • Can you tell me of a time when you set a goal and were successful in achieving it?
  • Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
  • Can you give me an example of a time you faced conflict while working on a team? How did you handle that?
  • Describe a time when it was important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?

How to use the STAR method to prepare for an interview

Most behavioural interviews will focus on various work-related challenges that demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving, and situations that showcase leadership skills, conflict resolution and performance under pressure.

To prepare for your interview, review the job description and required skills and consider what sorts of challenges might arise or what obstacles you may have to navigate in the position. Then, make a list of the various situations you’ve handled in your professional history that would display the sorts of strengths you’ll need to succeed in the role.