The STAR method is a key technique to use for answering behavioral questions in an interview, but don’t worry! It is easy to learn, and it helps you completely and thoroughly answer interview questions like a pro. So what does STAR stand for: Situation, Task, Action and Result. Here is how to apply the STAR method to interview questions.
Written by Jessica Zahurak, Peer Career Educator
Describe the situation that was presented to you or the task that you needed to accomplish. Do not be general in this description; be as specific as possible. Remember that your interviewer may not understand the lingo or terms that you used at your past job or internship experience. Also, remember that you can use experience not only from past jobs, but also from volunteer experiences, internship experiences or even class experiences.
Describe how you first took steps to figure out how you were going to go about solving the situation. If you did this in a group project, how were the roles assigned to each person? Why did you choose a specific part of the task to accomplish? If you had to solve a situation on your own, how did you prioritize tasks to go about solving the situation?
Use this part of the answer to describe the action that you took in order to solve the situation. Make sure to focus on your work and what you did. It is easy to get distracted by describing what a group did to accomplish something, but it is important for the interviewer to understand clearly what you did to solve the situation. What did you actually do to bring about the result?
How did the event end? What did you accomplish? If you are able to quantify the result, definitely do so. For example, if you can tell the interviewer that you were able to market an event so that over 300 attendees came, definitely mention this in the results part of your answer. This is important to show the interviewer that you are able to complete tasks, but you are also able to produce, evaluate and learn from results.
After you have mastered the STAR method, answering behavioral interview questions should be a breeze. Make sure to prepare many different situations or tasks for which you can use the STAR method so you are ready for many different behavioral interview questions. Definitely check out the rest of the University Career Center & The President's Promise website for more tips on preparing for interviews!