Quick Tip: Use the S.T.A.R. Method to Answer Behavioral-Type Interview Questions

DO use the S.T.A.R. technique when answering behavioral interview questions during interviews.

The acronym stands for:

– Situation
– Task
A – Action
R – Result

These interview questions (which are often preceded by statements in the form of a request) include:

“Tell me about a time when you [were in a particular situation]….How did you handle it?”

“Describe a situation where you [did an action]…What was the outcome?”

“Have you ever experienced [a certain situation]?

WHY: This method allows you to efficiently and quickly provide specific concrete examples of the skills needed to perform the job.

BONUS TIPS: Practice and prep before the interview to make sure you are covering all the necessary points as efficiently as possible. Remember to set up the Situation succinctly in order to get to the more important pieces; do not take too long in setting this up.

Do not mistake the Result for the Action. Action is what you did in that particular Situation, but Result is the outcome from that experience – what the impact of your actions were to your project or operations, what valuable lessons you learned, how you’ve grown because of the experience, etc.

EXAMPLE (This is a made up example and any similarities to actual events are coincidental and unintentional )

Interviewer: Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. How did you handle it?

S.T.A.R. Technique Answer

Situation: In my very first job, I emailed an inside joke intended for a co-worker to one of our clients.

Task: I needed to quickly apologize for inappropriately sending internal email to an external recipient.

Action: I informed my supervisor about it immediately, in order to get direction and make a plan of action. I then worked up the courage and called the client to respectfully apologize for sending the email.

***Important Note: Do not stop here or you are just doing STA –  ***

Result: Fortunately for me, the client took the joke in the spirit it was intended and actually became one of our best clients. However, that nerve-wracking experience made me learn a very valuable lesson and I have never again sent jokes using work email.