How to Ace Your Next Interview with The STAR Method
Preparing for a successful interview that leads to a potential job for you requires multiple factors. However, the most important is your ability to answer questions clearly and concisely while selling yourself to the interviewer as the best choice for the position.
This is where the STAR method comes in. Although this method is best used to answer behavioural interview questions that require you to put yourself in situations or recall how you handled a situation in the past. You can still always adapt the basic principles to tackle any interview question.
The STAR Method
The STAR method, when used properly, is a question-answering formula that helps you present your answers in a structured and coherent manner. That way, you remain focused on your interviewer’s questions and do not end up sharing trivial details.
It’s difficult to pinpoint how the STAR method developed or where it originated. Regardless, it is only popular today because it works. Instead of just telling a story at your next interview, structuring your answers with the STAR method paints a vivid picture for your interviewers and highlights your role in achieving the desired result.
STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Let’s take a closer look at each of those:
S – Situation
The first step to applying the STAR is describing the situation or surrounding circumstances. This is very important as it helps your interviewer understand the position you, your team, or your company was in. For instance, if asked to “Describe a time you had to apply initiative or out-of-the-box ideas in your work?” You can start by explaining your role and why the team required your initiative.
Here’s an example: For a sales-related job, you could describe your previous or current role on a team and point out that three years ago, the team’s output was decreasing due to some new competition in the market or because the marketing methods the team relied on no longer produced results like before.
T – Task
The next step with the STAR is to point out your particular task in that situation. Sticking with the abovementioned situation, you can tell your interviewer about your assigned task. In our already established situation, let’s assume that your team lead asked all team members to develop ideas to boost sales by 50%.
The task here for you is straightforward: Produce an idea, and implement it to boost sales by at least 50% for that year.
A – Action
After describing the situation and your task, you then have to tell your interviewer about the action or series of actions you took after carefully considering the situation and the task assigned to you.
If, at that time, you came up with the idea to use trending memes to create social media content as a marketing tool, you should then describe this to your interviewer. You can start by describing how you came up with the idea, pitching it to your team, and how you led or contributed to its implementation.
R – Results
Finally, showing that your actions produced results that set your team in the right direction or met the deliverable you were initially assigned is essential.
To conclude your answer to the question while highlighting results, you could say, “After adapting our social media marketing to connect with a wider audience, our organization recorded a 57% increase in sales that year.”
The key to maximizing the STAR method is practicing it consistently with a few scenarios which you can use to answer different interview questions.
At JobGo, we believe that internalizing this approach to answering interview questions could contribute significantly to a candidate’s success.