An impressive CV will get you an interview call, but to get the job you will have to give a memorable interview. One-on-one interactions are stressful because it’s not easy to impress someone in a single meeting. The best way to ensure success is to go in prepared. Preparation makes the interviewee feel in control.
Behavioral/situational questions are among standard interview questions. These questions are not easy to answer and are designed to trip the interviewee. They allow the interviewer to judge a candidate’s problem-solving abilities. The best and most effective technique to prepare for situational and behavioral interview questions is to use the STAR method. It is an excellent method for preparing concise and clear answers with real-life examples.
Defining the STAR Interview Method
To use the STAR method properly, it’s crucial to understand what the term means.
STAR is an acronym that stands for:
Here is a quick guide that will let you understand these four terms.
Situation: The answer should start by describing a specific circumstance. Choose something that you have encountered in the past, and it must be relevant to the question.
Tip: The STAR interview method is useful in all aspects of a job hunt.
Task: Once you have a situation, you need to move on to the tasks that you were responsible for.
Actions: After mentioning the tasks you are responsible for, it is time to explain the actions you took to complete tasks and get the desired results. Make sure you are clear because vague answers are not going to help you. The best approach is to give a step-by-step of all the actions you took. Details are always effective in impressing the interviewer.
Results: Conclude the answer by shining a light on the results you have managed to achieve.
Example questions of the STAR interview method
Here are some questions to get a better understanding of how the STAR method works.
A. I encountered a work situation where I was in favor of the company offering free trials to users. The idea was not considered feasible by the company superiors because they thought that it is not the best way to spend their resources and time. To convince the superiors, I spent a couple of days using a popular analytical tool so that I can keep an eye on users navigating through our website. I recorded the users getting to the checkout page and abandoning the website.
My next step was to install a survey form that the users will see as they were about to leave the website. The survey asked the reason for leaving the page and not signing up. One option given was the absence of a free trial and it was the most common answer.
I presented the survey results to the boss. The survey provided the evidence I needed to convince them that launching free trials on the website was a good idea.
Tip: Use first person singular while answering using the STAR formula.
Breaking down the STAR interview technique
The answer given as the example has used the STAR method and here is how:
- The work situation was that the interviewee believed that the company should offer free trials for the users. The idea was not backed up by the boss and company owner. The answer starts with clearly stating the situation.
- The second part of the answer mentions that the idea was rejected by the boss because their resources and time were reserved for good ideas. The statement contains a task that was given to the interviewee, which was proving that there were good reasons for offering free trials to users.
- The third part specifies the actions taken by the interviewee. Mentioning tools used to get desired results is a smart move.
- The answer is concluded by sharing specific results achieved that resulted in convincing the boss to accept the idea of adding free trials.
Using the STAR technique to answer the question allows candidates to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and experience.
The situational/behavioral questions in a job interview are designed to check knowledge, skills, and a candidate’s ability to act wisely in a difficult work situation. STAR technique helps craft compelling and succinct responses that answer the interviewer’s questions.