1. What is the STAR interview technique?
  2. STAR interview method simplified
  3. How to use the STAR interview technique to answer interview questions?
    1. Choose a relevant situation
    2. Explain the situation well
    3. Highlight the Task
    4. Describe the action taken
    5. The result
  4. Examples of STAR interview technique
    1. Describe yourself in one word
    2. Tell us about a time when one of your ideas led to significant success for the company
    3. Have you ever accomplished a task that you thought was impossible?
  5. Tips on using the STAR interview method

Many job seekers find it difficult to come up with the crisp, relevant answers on the spot in a job interview.

Whether answering basic interview questions , interview questions for managers, or situational interview questions, an effective interview technique is all you need to get you through.

So, to calm your interview nerves- The STAR interview technique!

Read on to discover what is the STAR interview method and how to use it, with sample answers and tips to bag your dream job.

What is the STAR interview technique?

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

It is an effective framework that helps job seekers give impressive answers in interviews.

The STAR interview technique is a full-proof method of dealing with job interview questions, that allows you to construct elaborate and concrete answers with immaculate reasons.

This technique is most effective when answering questions based on experiences and achievements in the previous position.

It is the best way to talk about an experience that reflects your suitability to the position you are interviewing for.

It shows that you are ready to deal with the said situation and have experienced something similar in the past.

STAR interview method simplified

To use the STAR interview method, we must first understand the 4 major points of discussion that will shape your answer.

Situation: The problem statement
Task: The work assigned to you to resolve the statement
Action: The course of action you chose
Result: The outcome of your efforts

It is also easy to figure out when to use the STAR interview method. Look out for questions that begin with:

  • How do you...?
  • What do you...?
  • Describe a time when…?
  • Did you ever…?
  • How did you tackle/manage/handle/deal…?

How to use the STAR interview technique to answer interview questions?

Now that you know about the interview technique of the STAR method, it’s time to learn how to use it while answering job interview questions.

Choose a relevant situation

The key to getting the STAR interview method right is to prove your point by talking about a relevant and related situation.

So, focus on talking about a professional experience that you can use to answer the question and use it to discuss how you are fit for the said role.

To avoid getting stuck with an interview question, gather all your professional experiences and stories, and try structuring them with the STAR framework.

You can also use our list of questions to practice answering as many questions as possible using the STAR interview method.

Explain the situation well

Now that you have shortlisted the experiences you want to discuss, the next step is to decide what goes into the story and what does not.

To talk about the most relevant things and not beat around the bush, here’s a 5-step routine to make this process easy for you,

  1. Think about the experience and write everything that comes to your mind
  2. Choose crucial and impressive anecdotes, no more than 5
  3. Eliminate all the unnecessary details that do not make your point
  4. Remove the hard words or local jargon you may have used
  5. Read again and analyze the story

Repeat this until you can communicate a clear picture for the recruiter in a very crisp and concise manner.

Highlight the Task

Describing the situation is just the base of your answer. The next step is to talk about the task.

In this second part of the STAR interview technique framework, you will describe your responsibilities in the role, making the interviewer understand your position in the situation.

Though a task sounds a lot like action, it is a step before it.

It is here that you describe your role and the responsibility given to meet the objective before you do something about it.

Describe the action taken

This is where the action happens, literally!

In the third phase of the STAR interview technique, talk about the hard work you put in to solve the problem in the said situation.

Focus on describing the “How”, and explain in detail how you tailored your tasks into action that best matched the need of the hour.

Talk about the team you worked with, the tools used, the criteria on which you assessed the reports, etc., to show your understanding of how to get work done.

Stick to the work part only and avoid talking about how you dived deep into the scenario, or did overtime until it was solved, as it may seem like you are bragging to the recruiter.

The result

The final stage of the STAR interview technique, where you can showcase your achievements and accomplishments.

Talk about all the positive differences you made to the company with your actions.

If possible, quantify your accomplishments with data and reports to add relevance and make it more than a story.

Try and talk about the positive results only to highlight all your success.

Tip: In case the story ends with a negative outcome, avoid sharing it. Talking about your mistakes is fine as long as you overcome them.

End your answer with the positive impact your actions had on the company.

Examples of STAR interview technique

Here are some questions and how you can answer them using the STAR interview technique like a pro.

Describe yourself in one word

Premise: The word that best describes me is analytical.

Situation

I was previously working with the XYZ company as a senior business analyst and was responsible for the exponential growth of the new product.

Task

In my 3 years with the company, I was responsible for making reports and deep-diving into data analysis to generate business strategies that would optimize our operations and, in turn, revenues.

Action

So, I made a 10-month plan based on the market research done by our team.

Instead of targeting the whole market, I focused on the people in the age group of 21-35 years, which was our primary target group.

Result

This contributed to the company’s overall growth by 4.3% in the 3rd quarter and the customer servicing process improved manifold too.

Tell us about a time when one of your ideas led to significant success for the company

Situation

About 2 years ago, I was working with ABC company, and we were trying to grow our subscription list.

Task

I suggested email marketing, and my then manager approved.

Action

We made some additions to our email marketing strategy and started sending out newsletters every weekend with quirky, topical posts that our users appreciate.

Result

As a result, I was able to grow the subscriber list from a mere 3423 to approx 52000 subscribers, leading to a 12% increase in conversion rate.

Have you ever accomplished a task that you thought was impossible?

Situation

In my previous role as a Cluster Manager, our city head decided to do a 360-degree sales drive where we were to onboard restaurants for our new project.

Task

Apart from convincing the restaurateurs, we were to do BTL promotions and handout vouchers and hampers to the customers.

Action

I took it upon myself to make it fun and shaped it into a competition between the four teams.

Since most of us are Potterheads, we named our teams Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw.

Result

Out of excitement, the team ended up covering a lot more area than we expected, and we ended up covering 153 restaurants in a month, compared to our expected number of 110.

We also saw a rapid increase in revenue that month and our brand awareness skyrocketed in our zone.

Tips on using the STAR interview method

Here is what you can do to make the most of the STAR interview technique.

  1. Keep your answers interesting, short and relatable
  2. Understand what the interviewer wants to assess through the question and answer accordingly
  3. Ask for a minute or two’s time in case you feel overwhelmed
  4. Make sure all your answers point towards you being an ideal candidate
  5. Prepare to answer the common interview questions before the interview
  6. Answer to reflect your experience, accomplishment, challenges, and learnings through your answers
  7. The missing context may take away from the impact you are trying to make- Make sure you give the complete story
  8. List the skills and qualities needed for the job and structure your experiences to match
  9. Use the STAR technique to showcase the skills in the job description

In conclusion, we would like to sum up with the fact that even though there are a few interview techniques that may help you through your job search, the STAR interview technique stands out amongst them all.

So use it well to bag your dream job!

All the best!

Interview Advice