The STAR Method

STAR interviewing  |  Behavioral interviewing

STAR

The STAR method is a structured formula for responding to behavioral-based interview questions discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.

Situation

  • Describe a situation where you utilized your skills that has a positive outcome, or set the scene.
  • Be detailed but brief with your situation. Read the room. Stay positive.
  • Even if it is a negative situation you are describing, try to focus on what you learned or achieved.

Task

  • Define the tasks associated with the situation, or define what needs to be done.

Action

  • Outline the action(s) you took to accomplish the task(s) in response to the situation, or explain what you did.

Result

  • Present detailed result(s) of your actions, or how did it go? Were you successful?
  • Do not forget the result! The result will tell the employer how successful you were handling the situation.

Employer Question: “Tell us about a time when you influenced the outcome of a project by taking a leadership role.”

Situation Example

“Last semester I took a marketing course that required a group project focused on developing a marketing strategy for a new product at an existing company. Our professor divided us into groups of four. As a group, we decided to develop a marketing plan for a new electrically powered vehicle.”

Task Example

“Within our group, we developed a plan to equally divide the responsibilities of the project. After the first two weeks, it became apparent that an individual on the team was not fully participating. The team decided it was time to speak to this individual.”

Action Example

“I decided to speak with the individual one-on-one to discuss the reasoning for this person’s lack of engagement. Through this discussion, it became clear to me that changing this person’s responsibilities may re-engage him in this process.”

Result Example

“After our one-on-one conversation, the group agreed to redistribute the tasks of the project. Once this was done, everyone fell into their roles nicely. We finished the project ahead of schedule and received exceptional feedback from our professor.”

Do not forget the result! The result will tell the employer how successful you were handling the situation.

Employer Question: “Tell me about a time when you took on a task that was not assigned to you.”

Situation Example

“Last month I noticed that the employee bulletin board I took a marketing course that required a group project focused on developing a marketing strategy for a new product at an existing company. Our professor divided us into groups of four. As a group, we decided to develop a marketing plan for a new electrically powered vehicle.”

Task Example

“Within our group, we developed a plan to equally divide the responsibilities of the project. After the first two weeks, it became apparent that an individual on the team was not fully participating. The team decided it was time to speak to this individual.”

Action Example

“I decided to speak with the individual one-on-one to discuss the reasoning for this person’s lack of engagement. Through this discussion, it became clear to me that changing this person’s responsibilities may re-engage him in this process.”

Result Example

“After our one-on-one conversation, the group agreed to redistribute the tasks of the project. Once this was done, everyone fell into their roles nicely. We finished the project ahead of schedule and received exceptional feedback from our professor.”

Behavioral Questions Examples

Adaptability / Flexibility

  • "Tell me about a situation when you had to be tolerant of an opinion that was different from yours."
  • "Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to changes over which you had no control."

Describe your personal qualities that helped you in being flexible while working with different types of people.

Innovation / Creativity

  • "Tell me about a problem that you’ve solved in a unique or unusual way.”
  • “Describe the most significant or creative presentation/ idea that you developed/implemented.”

Describe your thought process and how this may have differed from your peers.

Communication

  • “Give me a specific example of when you had to handle an irate customer.”

  • “Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get a point across.”

Describe a miscommunication you had with someone, and how you corrected or resolved the issue.

Decision Making

  • “Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.”
  • "Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to changes over which you had no control.”

Describe your thought process, resources, or help you sought, and the outcome or what you learned.

Initiative

  • “Tell me about a time when you were able to provide a co-worker with recognition for the work they performed.”
  • “Tell me about a time when you showed initiative and took the lead in a team project.”

Describe your reasoning for taking initiative and the result of your efforts.

Organization / Time Management

  • “Describe a situation that required you to do a number of things at the same time.”

  • “Give me a specific example of a time when you were unable to complete a project on time.”

Describe how you accomplished your tasks, or how you have improved on this since then.

Strengths / Weaknesses

  •  “Tell me about a time when you did not live up to your full potential.”
  • “Tell me of a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.”

Describe the positive impact of learning about your weaknesses, and how you are overcoming them.

Teamwork

  • “Describe your involvement with a team project.”
  • “Give me an example of a time when you were working on a project and the others disagreed with your ideas.”

Describe your personal tasks and responsibilities on the team and how you collaborated with others to accomplish a specific goal.