October 7, 2022

The STAR method

Behavioral questions are often tricky, but with this method, you'll be able to create a short, easy-to-follow, compelling story that gets right down to the point. Answering behavioral questions at a job interview has never been easier than with the STAR method. Check it out!

A job interview is an important part of recruitment, and no matter how flawless your CV might be, the answers you give can make a difference in landing you that dream job. Apart from commonly asked questions about yourself, career goals, strengths and weaknesses, interviewers love to ask you a few behavioural-situational questions. They tell the interviewer how you’ve behaved in the past in a specific situation. These questions often sound like:

  • Share an example of…
  • Explain a situation…
  • Give me an example…
  • Tell me about a time when…
  • What would you do…
  • Describe a situation…

Rather than tangling yourself in your answer, use the STAR method. It will help you create a Story-like response, which is easy to follow and will highlight just the right details. STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This gives you a guideline you should follow when creating a response. 

Situation

This is the beginning of your story, a specific event or situation you are supposed to describe. It can be a previous job, a work experience or the context within which you’ve achieved a certain goal. You don’t need to spend too much time on this part.

Task

You had to overcome some obstacles, and acheived the goal. Tell them what your responsibilities were, and your role in the situation. Same as as suggested previously, you don’t want to spend too much time on it.

Action

Now, this is the main part- what specific action did you take to solve the problem or address the specific situation? Avoid vague answers, be specific. What were the steps you took? What was your contribution? Did you do it alone or together as a team? This is probably the most important part of your story so you should highlight the most significant and impactful steps you took.

Result

What were you able to achieve with your actions? What was the outcome? Did you manage to accomplish and learn something from this situation? Note, when answering such questions try to pick events with a positive outcome. In case you tell a story where you’ve failed or made a mistake tell it from a different perspective. Yes, you’ve failed BUT you’ve learned a valuable lesson AND you took steps to improve. This part of your story is almost as important as the previous part, but it can be slightly shorter. It is also good if you can quantify your results so that there is a clearer idea of what you’ve been able to accomplish.

Interviewers like to ask these questions because it gives them an insight into soft skills such as communication, collaboration and leadership. Through these answers, they also see your problem-solving skills, creativity, presentation skills, accuracy, persuasive skills and perseverance through failure. The best way to answer these questions properly is to prepare for them and practice your answers. The chances are you will get some form of these questions, so, try and recall a few experiences, and different situations and then create a story using the STAR method. And practice! Thanks to this method you will be able to ask these tricky questions in a structured and more compelling way, getting right to the point. 

It does sound quite simple, and it is. But spend some time practising so that when the interview comes, you will be able to answer any behavioural question confidently and without hesitation.

Vanilla HR is there to help you in your whole employee experience and is a great addition to management in support of their HR initiatives. So, follow us for more interesting and hot topics on everything you need to know about the world of HR.

 

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