What is the STAR interview method? Why should you know about it?

The star interview technique is a structured approach to interviewing that focuses on past performance and experiences. The technique is based on the idea that an individual’s past experiences can be used as indicators of their future performance. Pretty normal stuff, right!

Many interviewers will ask questions that require a STAR response without really knowing it and that’s why you need to know and be able to present your examples in this way for maximum impact and benefit. In fact most questions where you are required to give an example would benefit from a STAR response.

The STAR technique is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

Situation – explain the context of a situation you faced

Task – what was expected or required of you in that situation.

Action – what steps you took to address the situation.

Result – what was the outcome of their actions in the situation.

It is important that you understand when a question would benefit from a STAR response as by providing specific and detailed examples of how you have handled situations in the past, you are giving the interviewer greater reassurance of how you would deal with a similar situation in the future and in my experience, how someone presents their answer can make all the difference.  Not only that, but clear, succinct yet comprehensive answers demonstrate you understand how your roles or task fits into the wider objective and is generally a sign of good communication which features as a must in most job specs.

How does this look in reality. So, a simple example answer for a star interview technique type question could be:

I was working on a project with a tight deadline (situation) and my role was to ensure that the project met the deadline and all deliverables were completed (task).

I assigned tasks to each team member and set up regular check-ins to track progress. I also worked with the team to troubleshoot any issues that arose (action) and we successfully completed the project on time, and all deliverables were met (result).

This is a basic example, and you would certainly want to be more detailed than this, but you can see how it would flow in an interview.

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