How the STAR technique can help you shine at interviews
22 Mar 2021
Job interviews can be a challenging experience, whether it's your first time or you're on familiar ground. How can you ensure you create the best impression, and convince the employer that you are the right person for the job?
Interviewers often use scenario-based behavioural questions. These are aimed at identifying how you have performed in a particular situation, or reacted to a specific challenge. Questions might start with phrases like, "Describe a time when…" or "Give an example of how you…".
Many Ingeus participants have found the STAR interview technique a useful way of structuring their responses. Make your answers clear and relevant, by breaking them down into four, easy to remember stages:
Situation: What was the context of the scenario you are about to describe? Task: What were you required to do? Action: What actions did you take? Result: What was achieved because of your actions?
It is easy to get thrown off track when you are thinking on your feet during an interview. The STAR method helps you to provide a structured answer that focuses on your skills, qualities and experience. It can also address some common interview challenges:
Being relevant: What is the interviewer really looking for in your response?
Being specific: Give precise details and avoid vague, generalised statements
Being clear: What are the key points you want to highlight?
Being concise: How can you avoid rambling or irrelevant details?
Here is an example of how you might use the STAR technique to answer an interview question such as, "Describe a time when you took on additional responsibility?"
Situation: An important customer needed urgent confirmation of a delivery, and was threatening to cancel an order. The account manager was out of the office and could not be contacted.
Task: I had to confirm the delivery details to the customer that afternoon. I had to ensure the information was accurate, and needed manager approval to notify the customer.
Action: I took on the responsibility of contacting other managers around the office; eventually the warehouse manager provided the delivery details, and the sales manager authorised me to advise customer.
Result: The customer was very satisfied with the way his enquiry was dealt with. More importantly, the customer recognised our commitment to supporting his business and doubled his monthly orders.
Showcase your best skills and relevant experience. Convince the interviewer you've got what it takes to secure that job!