What is the Interview STAR Method and How Do You Use It?

What is the Interview STAR Method and How Do You Use It?

You’re on your way to a much-anticipated job interview. Traffic is crazy, you got a little lost, your breakfast is on your face, and you’ve spilled coffee on your new shirt. Good thing you brought a spare. But you’re not worried about the interview because you’ve prepared.

You’re going to turn this morning around and succeed in your interview because you have the confidence to handle the toughest questions. They obviously loved your resume, and you’ve planned ahead. You practiced the STAR method.

This guide will explain the interview STAR method and how to use it.


What Is the Interview STAR Method?

What Is the Interview STAR Method?

There are questions asked at interviews designed to analyze your behavior, to learn how you react in certain work situations, and to see if you’re a good fit for the job and culture of the company. Behavior questions are asked so that the interviewer can see the real youyour personality, and how you operate.


How Do Behavioral Questions Begin?

Tell me about a time when…

Give me an example of…

What do you do when…

Describe a…

Have you ever…


STAR Stands For:

The interview STAR method gives you a simple framework so you don’t ramble on and on. Your answers will sound compelling and informative. The interviewer will be impressed by your story as well as your composure.

Situation: Help them visualize the situation and give important details.

Task: Specify your responsibility in the situation.

Action: How did you take care of the issue?

Result: What outcomes resulted from your actions?

Your answers to behavior questions will be much more coherent if you use it. You confuse and bore the interviewer by rambling. Stay on track but add extra insights and humor when it feels natural.


How Should I Practice?

Just because you’ve memorized your answers using the STAR method doesn’t mean they will successfully come out of your mouth at those critical moments in the interview. If you don’t practice it in context, you might ramble anyway. Also, learn some useful tips on what not to say.

Come up with examples. Try to think of work situations you were involved in where you put your best foot forward. Think about your history as a professional and things you did that boosted your status in the eyes of your boss, your colleagues, and your conscience, rather than your ego.

Practice STAR with a wide range of questions for yourself. Try to imagine you’re the interviewer. Think of behaviors you’d be curious about when hiring someone for that particular job. Throw yourself curveballs like, “Describe for me a time when you went above and beyond your normal duties.”



Describe a situation that you were recently in or a task that you simply needed to accomplish. You can describe a selected situation or event, not a general description of how you achieved something successfully in your past.

Focus on providing enough detail for the interviewer to grasp the underlying message. Is this example from a past job, volunteering experience, or an event that is relevant to the question? Remember to practice questions they would ask related to your cover letter.



What goal were you working toward?



Describe what you did using a reasonable amount of detail. Try to give yourself credit earned without sounding egotistical or conceded. What did you contribute?



Talk about the results of your contributions. Don’t be shy; take credit for your actions. Talk about what you ultimately learned and the results of what you accomplished. Try to keep it succinct and clear.



Example Questions

Example Questions

Using STAR, try to adapt your anecdotes to different behavioral questions when preparing for interviews. You don’t need to memorize an entire journal. Just try to cover all your bases. Work on these days before the interview.

  • Talk about a time when you persuaded someone to do things in a new or different way. Did you accomplish your goal?
  • Tell me about a time when you were put in a stressful situation that highlighted your coping skills.
  • Using good judgment and logic to solve a problem is important. When have you done this, and what was the result?
  • Tell me about a goal you’ve met that you’re particularly proud of.
  • Tell me about a successful presentation you’ve given.
  • Have you ever disagreed with a policy and had to conform to it?
  • Please discuss an example of an important written document you successfully completed.
  • Share with me a time when you prioritized tasks successfully.
  • Tell me about an important last-minute decision you’ve had to make.
  • Talk to me about how you might deal with conflict.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with someone you didn’t like or didn’t share your viewpoint.

Remember, it’s ok to ask for a minute to think about your work experience. It shows you’re giving a thoughtful answer. More time will usually improve your answers, and you just might impress them enough to get the job.



Break a leg

Break a Leg

Now that you’ve memorized the Interview STAR method, you’re ready for the big day. Challenge yourself with odd questions while practicing. This will boost your confidence and preparedness. Do a mock interview with a friend to shed light on how well you know your work anecdotes. Ask them to give you feedback.

Don’t wear yourself out with this method right before your interview by cramming. Your brain will need to process your answers many times for them to sink in thoroughly. Use your intuition to tell you if you’ve practiced enough.

Trust your skills, and you’ll have that dream job in no time.

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