STAR interview is one of the commonly used interviewing methods nowadays, often called also behavioral or situational job interview. Compare to classical list of interview questions which examine mostly “what” features, did and will do the candidate, STAR interview reinvented the process of interviewing applicants.
STAR interview made from every question a short case study, where a candidate should demonstrate not only his communication skills, but also his analytical and problem solving abilities. Let’s have a look at meaning of star abbreviation:
S – Situation from the past of possible Scenario related to the job or even your personal life.
T – Task you had to accomplish in the past or fictive task you can be assigned in your future role.
A – Action you took, will take or would take in either the situation, scenario or the task described in STAR interview question.
R – Result achieved from the action you took in the situation.
Example of two STAR interview questions and answers.
Step 1: Situation or Task: Imagine you should tell your boss that he made a wrong decision. You are hundred percent sure about your opinion and have things to prove that.
Step 2: Action you would take: “I would go to my boss and with all the respect told him that he should look on the papers I have with me. Then we would go through it, and I would try to indirectly persuade my boss that he made a wrong decision. Or better said, I will help him to construct a new decision using my documentation. So at the end of the day, he does not feel embarrassed or something, and at the same time we took the right decision for the company”
Step 3. Result: Company is on the right track and at the same time, I have not worsen the relation between me and my boss. That is why I would take the action as described.
Step 1: Situation or task: Remember on the last time when you were seriously behind schedule in your work. How did you solve the situation to get back on track?
Step 2: Action you took: I remember on it, it was the situation when we were opening a new branch in Norway and I was responsible for the project. We should open it on 1.1.2009, but it was 15.1.2009 and branch still did not exist. What I did was that I cut the whole project to pieces and found the tasks that were causing the biggest delay. Mostly it went about administrative tasks, but also some smaller tasks that certain employees weren’t able to accomplish. I reassigned the tasks to people and talk personally with each person to ensure he knows what to do. The administrative tasks I took care of by myself.
Step 3: Result: As a result of this, three weeks from the moment I took on the project the company branch was opened successfully in Norway.
STAR interview has several advantages, definitely. To prepare for it, just try to recollect various problematic situations from work and how did you solve it. Simulate the answer and record it.
Try to improve. Always remember that anytime you are answering the STAR interview questions, you should speak about concrete situation and give concrete solutions. General sentences will not give you any edge here…