Using the STAR Technique in Job Interviewing


Andy writes:
Someone told me I need to use this special technique for interviewing. I
would like to talk to someone about the STAR interviewing technique.
What is it? How is it used?
The Career Doctor responds:
The job-seekers who have mastered interviewing know the importance of
weaving a narrative — a story — that showcases their talents strengths
and accomplishments. The STAR method is just one of several models that
attempt to guide job-seekers in providing the kinds of answers employers seek.
When employers ask behavioral interview questions — questions that ask
you about specific situations you have faced in the past (“tell me about a time
when…”) — what they are seeking is not some rambling story with much too
much detail but rather a clear description of the situation the actions you
took and the lessons you learned from the experience.
The STAR method stands for Situation or Task — Action you took — Results you
achieved. It serves as an outline for how you should formulate your response.
From my experience more employers seem to be moving to behavioral interviewing
for at least one of the rounds of interviewing… so it makes sense for most
job-seekers to review common behavioral interview questions and prepare narratives
for each one.
Remember not to memorize your responses. You want to have the pieces of the
story in your head ready to call forward when you need it but it should not sound
rehearsed or robotic.
Some sample behavioral interview questions:

  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

Here are some Quintessential Careers resources for you:

  • Sample Behavioral Interview Questions
  • STAR Approach
  • Behavioral Interviewing Strategies

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