How To Use The STAR Method in Conducting Behavioral Interviews
Whether you are preparing for an interview in order to aspire for a new job, or you may want to be promoted to a higher level at your current job, you are likely to come across behavioral interview questions. The overall trend is shifting towards a “holistic assessment” of a potential candidate, which focuses on leadership skills and personality assessments, in addition to academic excellence.
We will help you understand the STAR method and provide you with key examples of how to answer behavioral interview questions using this technique. This way, you can be better prepared to frame your responses, reduce stress, and increase your chances of success. Check out the best websites to learn how to prepare for a job interview and impress the hiring manager.
What are behavioral job interviews?
Also known as competency-based interviews, behavioral interviews can provide insights into a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, leveling the playing field for internal hires as well as external candidates. The company follows this method in order to produce a relatively comprehensive idea of the applicants (potential candidates) for a job and to test their capabilities at times.
Behavioral-based interviewing helps analyze a candidate’s past performance in similar situations to predict what he or she is likely to do in the future. It can help employers get a clearer picture of who you are and how you operate in different situations.
Each letter means:
- S: Situation describes the general situation and the data from which it is based.
- T: Task Describes the function that should be performed in order to handle the problem.
- A: Action describes the steps and means used to achieve the goal.
- R: Results Returns the final results.
The company consultant sometimes asks the applicant for a job about a practical issue that he may encounter during his work or about a product he wants to manufacture, and he must imagine the situation and present sequential steps in their answers. Therefore, the Star method also represents an auxiliary tool for candidates if it is used without being identified by name by the company consultant. Or an employee of the Human Resources Department (HR). It is also possible to ask about a problem the applicant faced and how he solved it.
Types of behavioral interview questions
While it is impossible to predict every possible question that might be asked, there are certain recurring themes that make up the majority of questions that the interviewer will ask. It can be divided into the following groups:
Problem Solving: A potential employer wants to see the ways in which you have dealt with past problems and challenges, and how you have developed and implemented effective solutions. Some examples of these questions are:
- Describe a time when you made an improvement of some kind.
- Tell us about an incident where you had to analyze data and decide on a course of action.
Teamwork: Teamwork is not just about shining as an individual. Instead, you must work cohesively with your team to focus on the best possible outcome through cumulative efforts. Here are some examples of teamwork questions that can help you formulate your responses.
- Can you tell me about a time when you promoted teamwork? What did you do to help the group work well together?
- Tell me about a time when you helped a co-worker with his project.
Leadership: Depending on the role you are applying for, you should expect to answer questions about your ability to lead and motivate others, get things done under pressure, and make decisions by considering all options. Some examples are given below:
- Have you ever been someone’s mentor or coach?
- In what ways have you helped others achieve their goals?
Stressful Situations: Stress management skills are important for most jobs. The interviewer wants to know if the person is organized, uses critical thinking to face challenges, and how they try to stay calm during difficult situations. Here are some examples below:
- What is the most difficult time at work for you? How did you deal with it?
- How do you deal with unexpected changes or challenges?
Preparing for behavioral interviews
If you have been invited for a job interview, congratulations! The interview is an important opportunity for the hiring manager to assess your suitability for the job and how your skills meet the company’s needs. As you prepare for the behavioral interview, keep the following points in mind:
1. Study the job description
You will increase your chances of success if you carefully study the job description. The skills and attributes the hiring manager wants you to demonstrate during the interview will often be listed, so take the time to understand what a potential employer wants from you.
Research the potential company or job online so you understand its values and culture, and structure your responses accordingly.
2. Review your experience and achievements
A well-crafted resume that emphasizes your accomplishments and emphasizes your strengths is key to unlocking job opportunities. Use bulleted lists to show relevant experience, achievements, and key skills. Try to include keywords from the job posting, and target your resume to the job you want by searching for it online to make it stand out.
You can also use resume builder apps to create a professional looking resume with minimal effort. These apps also have powerful features like auto-suggestions, formatting tools, and sample templates for some inspiration.
3. Use interview guides to prepare for common questions
The interview is the most important step in your job search. You come to the negotiating table with solid skills, so the meeting should go fairly smoothly if you prepare properly.
The best way to prepare for your interview is to ask yourself questions based on guides or typical interview questions compiled by popular job search sites, or career-focused websites.
4. Write and practice your responses
Don’t be afraid to do a mock interview with a friend, or even practice in front of a mirror. This can help you prepare for any potential questions you may be asked and allow you to get used to the pace of the interview.
The STAR method for responding to an interview: 4 basic steps
STAR stands for Situation, Mission, Action and Result. This is the framework that helps you illustrate past behaviors in specific situations where the interviewer is asking about specific instances of accomplishments, behaviors, or actions. You will be able to show how your skills and experience are exactly what the hiring manager needs.
1. Situation: Describe a specific project or campaign
An effective response to a behavioral interview question begins with giving background context. This sets the stage for you to tell the perfect story that demonstrates your problem-solving and leadership skills.
The key is to describe a specific project or campaign in relevant detail, while keeping it brief and precise, so the hiring manager can visualize the situation and your role in it.
2. Task: highlight your duties
For the second step, you will need to clarify the specific responsibilities and goals that are assigned to you in this specific scenario. This can help the interviewer understand the scope of your work as well as the expected results of the project or assignment.
3. Action: Describe how you accomplished the task
The third section is to account for your actions. You need to explain what you did to steer the project toward a positive outcome. This is all about highlighting your contributions and how your work has made a difference to the team or project.
4. Outcome: Focus on impact
The fourth section talks about the result or impact of solving the problem. You can use success metrics to demonstrate your previous work, or to quantify your results where you have been able to do so. This will help you build a strong foundation and help you stand out from the competition.
Examples of STAR responses
Let’s take a look at how responses can be developed or structured using the STAR method.
- Question: Tell me about a goal you reached and how you achieved it.
- Situation: The number of new downloads of our brand’s mobile app for the month was not up to the target. We needed more users to be able to increase growth and conversions.
- Task: I am assigned to increase app downloads.
- Action: You’ve created a plan to use targeted Facebook ads and customized email marketing efforts to attract new customers.
- The result: Through these channel efforts, we’ve been able to gain and retain subscribers at a faster rate than before. By the end of six months, as a result of my efforts, we had increased our subscribers by more than 50%.
Question: Describe a time when you made an improvement.
- The situation: I was addressing an issue of poor team performance, which was affecting the entire department.
- Mission: After meeting with key stakeholders, we agreed that I would start with the smaller team and identify the reasons for their underperformance.
- Action: Over the next few weeks, you’ve identified your top three areas of concern: unrealistic goals, resource allocation, and time management. I have created a weekly report template that everyone should use in order to progress their work and the work of others.
- The result: By implementing a weekly report template, you ensure that every task and every sub-task is tracked. This way, I can make sure that my team works efficiently, and we can move on to problem-solving, by allocating resources specifically to those who need them most, rather than allocating haphazardly.
Get the job you want
Researching some typical behavioral interview questions and coming up with STAR-based answers is a great way to put your best foot forward when you walk into a job interview. You will be prepared to answer potentially more difficult questions, and you will present yourself as confident, informed, and prepared.
This can be a powerful way to set yourself apart from the competition and land a job. Use our guide above as inspiration, and remember that practice makes perfect the whole process. You can check out the best productivity tools for job seekers right now.