The STAR method and how to use it when answering interview questions 

IN THIS ARTICLE

Have you ever wondered if you answered an interview question clearly enough? To ensure that you give the interviewer all the necessary information in your answers, you can use the STAR technique, a structured method that breaks down your answers into four parts. 

Can you tell me about a situation when you handled a very difficult customer?”. Can you tell me about a task that required a lot of structure on your part to complete?”. Today, competency-based questions are common in job interviews. This type of question aims to explore your skills and behavior based on how you have acted in previous situations. They are also called behavior-based and situationbased questions.   

What is the STAR method?

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. By shaping your answer around these four components, it will be easier for you to give a clear answer.   

For this type of interview question, you need to be able to give examples of job situations you have been in and how you acted then. In order to give relevant and clear answers, while reducing the chances of you getting carried away, you can use the STAR method. This technique helps you structure your answers to ensure that you give the interviewer the information they need.   

Tip

Here are 5 practical ways to reduce bias in your hiring process.

Situation

Situation: Describe the situation you were in or the task you were going to solve. Be sure to describe a specific event or situation and do not generalize or summarizehow you usually do it”. Give enough detail so that the interviewer understands the sequence of events.

The interviewer will usually ask you to talk about a situation at a previous job, but if you don’t have a clear example from there, you can use a situation from school, a volunteer experience, or something else. 

Task

What was the goal you were working towards? What did you want to achieve?  

Action

Tell the interviewer what you did and what decisions you made along the way to get there. Focus on yourself, not on a colleague or the team. Use “I” instead of “we”.  

Result

What was the result? What did you achieve? What did you learn? Describe the outcome of your actions. Don’t be shy to talk about successes and praise you received in the situation, it’s important to highlight!  

    "STAR is a great method to use to ensure you give all the necessary information"

    Alex Tidgård CPO & founder Asker

    When to use the STAR method when being interviewed

    Often interviewers also have the STAR method in mind and may ask follow-up questions that link to the four different parameters.   

    Even before the interview, you can practice answering questions based on the STAR method. Here are some examples of questions where the STAR method can be used: 

    • Can you tell me about a collaboration that for some reason was very difficult? 
    • Can you describe a time when you proactively sought out opportunities to network? 
    • Can you describe a situation where you had to lead a team towards a common goal? 
    • Can you tell me about a situation where you had to communicate something very difficult or complex to someone and make sure they understood you? 
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