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How To Use The STAR Method To Ace Your Next Interview

How To Use The STAR Method To Ace Your Next Interview
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Picture yourself at a job interview. Things are going well so far. You got to the interview on time and you seem to be blitzing through the small talk with the interviewer.

Before you know it, the interviewer asks a question that begins with “Tell me about a time when…”

Your heart sinks and you start to frantically try to remember an example that you can use.

You find yourself scrambling to answer the question and you manage to give an answer that you know is not adequate.

Actually, you are not alone. A lot of people go through similar situations during interviews.

However, there is hope and there is a way, that is, a strategy that you can use to give effective answers – this is the STAR method.

There is hope and there is a way, that is, a strategy that you can use to give effective answers during interviews – this is the STAR method.

What Is The STAR Interview Method?

The STAR method is an interview strategy that gives you a simplified way to answer behavioural interview questions.

These are those type of questions that require you to give a real-life example of how you were able to handle a particular kind of work situation.

These types of questions usually begin this way:

  • Tell me about a time when…
  • What do you do when…
  • Have you ever…
  • Give me an example of…
  • Describe a…

Your approach in answering should generally involve thinking of relevant examples and then figuring out a way to answer the question in a compelling and convincing manner.

This is where the STAR method becomes useful. It gives you a structured approach to help you tell a meaningful story about your previous work experience.

The acronym STAR means:

  • Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation in which you found yourself.
  • Task: What were you required to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation.
  • Action: What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what the alternatives were.
  • Results: What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

The result of being able to use these four elements to deliver your response is that it enables you to give an answer that is focused, relevant and compelling.

It helps the interviewer to determine if you are the right fit for the job

Using The STAR Method To Answer Interview Questions

Use the STAR method by following the steps below:

  1. Find A Suitable Example

You should use the most relevant example to the question asked for the STAR method to be effective. The STAR method is most useful when you can find the most relevant examples.

Since you won’t be able to know the questions the interviewer will ask before it takes place, it’s is better to have a number stories and examples ready to go so you can amend them to suit the question as you go along.

Think of some work-related examples and how to answer them using the STAR method.

Don’t be afraid to ask and take some time to think about an example if you find yourself struggling to remember it.

This will also allow you to calm your nerves down and once you are able to do so, you might find this helps to remember those stories.

  1. Outline The Situation

Once you have your examples, start setting the scene but make sure you only talk about the relevant details. You might find that you’re rambling on due to being afraid.

Don’t include unnecessary details. Take a deep breath and start by painting a clear picture of the situation. This way, when you talk about the result you achieved later, it has more impact.

Keep your response focused on what is relevant and make it concise. Try avoiding giving too much detail and make sure your answers are not too long.

For example, the interviewer might ask you, “Tell me about a time when you achieved a goal that you initially thought was out of reach.”

Your Response (Situation): “In my previous digital marketing role, my company made the decision to focus primarily on email marketing and was looking to increase their list of email subscribers pretty aggressively.”

“Keep your response focused on what is relevant and make it concise”

3. Highlight The Task

This is where you show the interviewer how you were involved in the situation. It is better to talk about when you had some core involvement in the task.

Don’t confuse this with the action. The task part involves what your responsibilities were in that specific situation. This could also include goals that you had to meet.

Here, your response could be something like:

Your Response (Task): “As the email marketing manager, my target was to increase our email list by at least 50% in just one quarter.”

4. Talk About The Action You Took

Next is where you get to explain what you did. This should include the steps you took in order to achieve the set goal or how you were able to solve the problem.

Avoid making general statements such as “So, I worked hard on it…” or “I did some research…”

You need to address specifics here and showcase the contribution you made in the situation.

You should give detailed and exact information about what you did. Were you part of a team or work individually? Did you make use of any software or equipment?

A sample response to this is:

Your Response (Action): “I started by going back through our old blog posts and adding in content upgrades that incentivized email subscriptions—which immediately gave our list a boost. Next, I worked with the rest of the marketing team to plan and host a webinar that required an email address to register, which funnelled more interested users into our list.”

5. Talk About The Result

This is where you get to shine and put everything together. It’s the most important part of your answer. You should explain the results you achieved and how this had a positive impact.

Even if you are talking about a situation where you failed or made a mistake, end the story on a positive note by talking about the lessons you learnt from the experience as well as steps you took to fix things.

If you have any, stating results in form of numbers has a great impact on your answer and it is likely to impress the interviewer.

A sample response is:

Your Response (Result): “As a result of those additions to our email strategy, I was able to increase our subscriber list from 25,000 subscribers to 40,000 subscribers in three months—which exceeded our goal by 20%.”

Using the STAR method to answer interview questions might seem daunting at first, but things will definitely get better the more you practice with it.

Applying the STAR method helps to make responding to behavioural questions less challenging and it gives you a better opportunity to showcase your skills and experience.

Using the STAR method to answer interview questions might seem daunting at first, but things will definitely get better the more you practice with it.

YouEnrol provides a full-service student concierge and consultancy experience we are also able to help and advise you further on steps you can take to achieve your study and career goals as an international student in Australia.

Do not hesitate to book an appointment with us for a free no obligation discussion where we help you to get started on your journey to studying in Australia the right way.

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