Be Prepared for Your Next Interview by Using the STAR Method

Behavioral-Based Interviewing Using the STAR Model: Be Prepared For Your Next Interview by Following These Simple Steps

To have the most meaningful exchange of information during an interview, you must be skilled in behavioral-based interviewing techniques. More importantly, you must be sure that you are skilled in answering behavioral questions using the STAR model. STAR stands for:

Situation or Task leading to an action

  • A situation in which a candidate was involved that resulted in an outcome (positive or negative).
  • A description of the tasks involved in the situation.

Actions or behaviors demonstrated, specifics, and ‘how.’ This is where behavioral traits are uncovered

  • Descriptions of specific actions taken and not taken.
  • References to ‘I,’ not ‘we.’

Result, or the specific, tangible conclusion

  • The outcome that followed from the actions taken.
  • Stated in specific, measurable terms.

 Reminders when Preparing for an Interview

  1. Employers predetermine the skills necessary for the job and then ask focused questions to assess whether or not you possess those skills. Prior to the interview, make it a point to read company literature carefully (websites) and listen closely during the company’s information session to determine which skills an employer is seeking.
  2. During the interview, your responses need to be specific and detailed. Frame them with the STAR process: situation/task, action, result.
  3. Always listen carefully to each question, ask for clarification if necessary, and make sure you answer the question completely.
  1. Prepare to give examples of situations in which you have demonstrated the behaviors you have determined to be important to the employer. Do not ramble when answering questions.
  1. Use your resume as a guide when answering questions. Use examples from past internships, classes, activities, work experience, and team participation to further illustrate your achievements.
  1. Identify six to eight examples from your past experience in which you demonstrated top behaviors and skills that employers typically seek. Think in terms that will showcase your top selling points.
  1. Half of your examples should be positive, such as accomplishments or obtaining goals.
  1. The other half should be situations that started out negatively but ended either positively or in which you were able to minimize the negative outcome.
  1. Vary your examples. Don’t take them all from one area of your past experience. Use fairly recent examples – experiences from the last one to two years.
  1. If you worked in a team setting, describe not only the team’s situation/actions/results but also your specific role in that team effort.

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