Using STAR Technique To Answer Interview Questions

Effective communication is an art that makes you into a more effective individual.

Good communication can take a long time to develop and you must strive to own that skill, but for the purpose of the interview, there is a time tested simple technique that serves the purpose.

Not knowing the answer to the interviewer’s question is bad, but what is worse is if you think you gave the right answers but the interviewer didn’t think so!

You absolutely need to ensure that you get your thoughts and answers across while in a critical situation such as a Job Interview.
The STAR Technique of answering questions is used across the world and has been greeted with open arms by interviewers as it showcases clear understanding on the part of the interviewee (which is You).

This technique is thought to be most effective for behavioral questions (on strengths, weaknesses, ideal job, goals, etc.) but personally I would recommend it where ever possible. You will see why…

The STAR Technique

S - Situation

Explain what happened. Describe in sufficient detail so that the interviewer gets a good idea of what event / events had taken place, and why you had to perform the Task

T -  Task

Based on the Situation above what could be done to resolve the issue. Here you could explain the various options if there were more than one solution to the problem

A - Action 

What specific Action did you perform – explain your thought process and reason for doing what you did 

RResult

What was the outcome of your Action – whether it was successful or a good lesson learnt

Everyone loves a good story…

I am not recommending that you tell fairy tales or conjure up hypothetical situations, but that you take hard facts and wrap them in an easy to tell, easy to remember format.

The STAR Technique empowers you to answer interview questions (and questions related to other job related situations even after you secure employment) in a subtle yet compelling manner.

Your STAR answer should take about 60 – 90 seconds to deliver; this ensures that you give details without losing the listener.

As with your overall behavior, infuse your answer with enthusiasm, energy and positive outcomes.

Let’s take a sample question to understand this technique in detail…

Building the STAR Answer
Did you catch the simple technique with the example above?

The idea is to give a structured background to the answer with the help of

  1. a specific situation 
  2. the task that needed to be done 
  3. activities that you did to accomplish the task 
  4. the final outcome or result 

With STAR answers you can be sure that the interviewer will remember more of your response. The message that you want to convey will shine through with clearly in a friendly likable style.

As for the result, with STAR answers, your success ratio will be amazing.

Here is an example of the STAR Technique

Question: Tell me about one of your strengths
STAR Answer: Perseverance is one of my best qualities and it has served me well in my past employments.

Situation
On one occasion when my manager was reviewing cold client leads I requested him to give me a few names that I could follow up with
Task
I was given a list of 8 clients who had initially shown some interest but never given us any business. I love challenges and decided to follow up for any new opportunities
Action
I called all the clients to set up personal meetings with them. Only 2 gave me time at the first call. I visited them and informed them of our new offers with added discounts. Both clients were interested and asked for some time to decide. For the next three months, I followed up with the 2 clients and succeeded in initiating conversations with 3 more from the list of 8
Result
I was very happy that in three months, I had successfully established business leads with all 5 clients with whom I had met. Though their business orders were initially small, they grew over a period of time and by the time I left the firm, the clients were regular customers of ours.

Please feel free to add your own answers using the same method.

One Response to “Using STAR Technique To Answer Interview Questions”

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