Star method technique | answer job interview questions like a pro (with examples)

The STAR method is the key to getting your dream job at an interview!

Do you struggle with explaining your achievement and skills in a job interview? Is this job interview will be your first? Are you an international student who is unfamiliar with Canada’s interview process?

If these questions are what you are struggling with, you will excel in your next interview by applying the STAR method!

In this blog, we will provide tips and tricks on how you can successfully secure a job using a method called STAR analysis. We will explain the STAR interview method and how you can prepare interview answers and examples of questions using the technique.

star method interview questions and answers

What is the STAR Method?
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result.

It is a behavioral interview method in which interviewers ask situational questions to determine whether candidates (you) have the skills and experiences they are looking for.

Typically, interviewers will ask open-ended questions requiring you to share stories or examples related to your experience to learn how you handled previous work situations or school projects.

STAR interview questions will entail something like these:

“Tell me about a time when…”

“What do you do when…”

“Have you ever…”

“Give me an example of…”

“Describe when you…”

“Describe a situation in which you were…”

“Please discuss…”

STAR: Situation, Task, Action and Result
Many interviewers structure their questions using the STAR method, and you can also apply the same method to prepare your interview answers.

By following this STAR method of interview, you can make sure that you cover the interviewer’s questions and show how you successfully solved the tasks simultaneously.

Describe the specific situation or the task you need to perform. It is important to explain enough detail of the story to give the interviewer a better idea of that situation.

Your chosen situation should come from your previous job, volunteer experience, or relevant project work.

Typically, the situation itself is not a focal point, but the impact of your contribution is the most important perspective the interviewers want to know.

What goal were you working toward? Detailedly explain your responsibilities and objectives in that situation. Remember that many achievements involve teamwork, so be specific about which tasks you performed.

When you share a relevant situation and task, the interviewer likely knows which actions you need to take to complete the job.

So, the secret to making your story stands out from other candidates is to find a unique characteristic of your actions. Know your strengths that way, and you will find your uniques that many candidates might not have.

Be descriptive by sharing what steps you took and how your contribution was advantageous to the job.

The STAR method’s final ingredient is to share your contribution’s result. This is the finale of the story. You can showcase the financial numbers or improvement percentages results. Do not forget to mention what you learned and how you have improved from it.

star method interview preparation

How to Prepare for an Interview Using STAR Method
Even though you may not know what kind of questions the interviewer might ask, being prepared will only be a great advantage. Follow these tips to prepare the answers:

List your skills and match them with job requirement skills
Write down all outstanding achievements
Structure your stories and draft short descriptions
Use examples from different periods
List your skills and match them with job requirement skills
By the time you get to the interview stage, the interviewer may already have an overview of your skills. So the best way to keep the interviewer focused on your strengths is to match your skills with the skills that the job requires.

To determine your strengths, follow these tips on conducting a personal SWOT analysis.

Write down all outstanding achievements
This is the part where you need to brainstorm with yourself. List down the bullet points of any achievements that come to your mind will help you remember the specific situation, and it will only help you remember a clearer picture of the tasks you were responsible for.

If you are a student, list all projects you have done in class with skills you have acquired, and make sure that these skills are related to the job you are interviewing for.

Structure your stories and prepare short descriptions
Now is the time to focus on the details. After you finish listing all the achievements, it is time for you to write down all details of each case. A good story is a story that has a structure. Start by describing the problem, then your tasks, actions, and results.

Use examples from different periods
Describing different situations will help the interviewer get to know you and your performance throughout your career. It is also important to point out various positions and how you learn from those jobs.

star method interview preparation

Examples of STAR Interview Questions & Answers
STAR method interview questions should be practiced before diving into any interview.

Some of those STAR method techniques that you will use during the interview are going to make your interview day way easy!

Let’s have a look at some of the STAR method interview questions and answers together!

Example Question 1: “Describe a time when you faced a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.”

STAR Method Example Answer 1:

Situation: “When faced with stressful situations, I always try to be calm and collected. I remember one specific time when I was working in a restaurant as a server. I had a customer shout at me for the food he didn’t like and refused to pay. The customer was getting louder, and there were a lot of customers in the restaurant.

Task: “I had to remain calm, move the conflict somewhere else, and ensure the other customers could receive the service.”

Action: “I realized the best thing to do was move the situation away from the service area. I asked my colleague to take over for me so that I could talk to the customer. I listened to him and explained that I could understand his frustration and offered solutions for him.”

Result: “In the end, he began to calm down and accepted my explanation. While he still wasn’t happy about it, I managed to dissolve the situation, and he accepted the complimentary voucher for his next visit. I believe that by being calm and empathetic, it’s possible to dissolve such situations.”

Example Question 2: “Give me a specific example of a time when you have to work under a tight deadline”

STAR Method Example Answer 2:

Situation: “While I typically like to plan out my work timeline in stages, I can also achieve high-quality work results under tight deadlines. In fact, I believe I thrive when working under tight deadlines.”

“Once, at a former company where I work as a digital marketing specialist, a team member left days before the imminent deadline of one of his projects.”

Task: “I was asked to assume responsibility for it, with only a few days to learn about and complete the project.”

Action: “I asked for help from my colleagues and created a task force. I gave each of my colleagues the task they need to complete.”

Result: “In the end, we all completed the assignment with a day to spare.”

Example Question 3: “Tell me about a time you failed. How did you handle it?”

STAR Method Example Answer 3:

Situation: “I was working as a project manager, I was in charge of a project for a major client. This project would typically take about a month to complete, but the client was in a rush and asked if I could have it ready in three weeks.”

Task: “Excited that it was my first big project, I agreed and set an ambitious deadline of three weeks to prove myself to them. Shortly after, I realized I’d need a bit more time to finish it and deliver quality work.”

Action: “I reached out to the client right away and apologized. I also asked for a three-day extension, and they were generous enough to extend the deadline.”

Result: “I managed to finish the project and deliver it before the extended deadline. However, I learned to manage my time better and never promise something I can’t deliver.”

Example Question 4: “What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.”

STAR Method Example Answer 4:

Situation: “When there are team conflicts or issues, I always try my best to communicate and address the conflict. I think my communication skills make me an effective colleague. For example, one time, there was a disagreement I had with a co-worker which originated from a miscommunication.”

Task: “To keep our work environment professional and positive, we had to discuss it and make amends.”

Action: “I sat down with her one day during lunch and took the initiative by apologizing for my part in the whole situation. I explained the situation from my past, and she explained hers.”

Result: “Now, we work together well, and I arrange a follow-up meeting with her weekly to ensure our collaboration is going as smoothly as possible.”

Key Takeaways
Mastering the STAR interview method is all about practice. The more you practice, the more prepared you will be to answer behavioral questions.

The STAR method helps you structure how you tell your story and allows interviewers to follow the flow of your achievements. It also helps reduce stress in an interview and gives the employer the answers they are looking for.

However, the interview is the first step, do not forget to follow up after an interview to help land your next dream job.

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