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Have you heard of the STAR method?


Have you heard of the STAR method?

The job interview is arguably the most nerve racking part of the job seeking process. There is nothing worse than being asked questions in an interview and your mind going completely blank. Once you’ve left the interview, you keep thinking of all the different ways you could have answered the question. But it’s too late now. Let us help you with an extremely useful tool for answering interview questions: The STAR method. In the competitive job market that job seekers are facing today, acing the job interview is more important than ever.

The STAR method is commonly used in job interviews to help answer behavioural based questions. Have you ever heard the saying that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour? Behavioural questions are interview questions that focus on past work situations you have dealt with before. 

“Describe a time when you disagreed with a team member. How did you resolve the problem?”, “Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you overcome that?”, “Tell me about a time you failed. How did you overcome that?”

The STAR method can be used to answer any of the above behavioural questions and help ensure that any answers you deliver are clear, concise and well structured. 

STAR is an acronym that stands for: 

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result 

Let’s break it down:


The first step in answering the interviewers question is to describe the situation. Describe the situation to the interviewer to help set the scene and help put your answers into context. Keep it brief but aim to cover the ‘where’ and the ‘who’ in this component. Be sure to choose an example of a situation that is relevant to the question. 


This is where you describe to the interviewer the task that you were faced with. The ‘task’ could be in the form of a challenge, issue or target but is essentially what task you had to take action against in order to achieve the end result. This is the component where you should cover the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. 


Now that the interviewer knows the situation and what you were trying to achieve, you’re ready to tell them the action you took. What steps or actions did you take? Outline your steps clearly to avoid being too vague. What rationale was behind you to decide to take those particular steps/actions?


Finally, it’s time to tell the interviewer the result. What was the outcome of the action you took? Most importantly, what did you learn from the process? Do you have any information to support your outcome, such as statistics or feedback? Usually, the STAR method is applied to situations that have had a favourable outcome. However, this is not always possible. If the actions you took still resulted in a bad outcome, you can still use this opportunity to highlight what you learnt from the situation and what you would do differently next time. 


Even if the interviewer has not specified that they would like your answer using the STAR method, the STAR method is a flawless approach to take regardless. It will help to ensure you deliver your answers in a clear and concise manner, and that you don’t leave out any important details. Practicing the STAR method is also a great tool to help you feel more prepared, get yourself thinking and ensure that you go in feeling as confident as you can. A quick google search of ‘behavioural interview questions’ will give you plenty of examples to start with. Like most things, the best way to master the STAR method is to practice, practice, practice!


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