Using the STAR Format During the Interview to Answer Behavioral Questions

STAR is a formula to help you give examples during interviews in a way that showcases related information about a particular skill that the job demands. It is a way to share all the valuable information an employer/graduate school wants to hear while keeping your interview answer succinct.

1. Situation: Describe the situation
a. The interviewer wants to know about a specific challenge you encountered.
b. It is important to think of a situation that is going to be important to the role that you are applying to.

2. Task: How did you approach the situation?
a. This is your chance to go into detail and be descriptive regarding how you overcome the obstacle.
b. How did you plan to resolve the situation?

3. Action: What action did you take?
a. The interviewer wants to know what your role was in terms of resolving the situation.
b. This is where you explain how you implemented the task.

4. Result: What was the result of your action?
a. This is your chance to complete the story and let the employer know what happened as a result of your actions on the project.
b. How did your actions benefit the company or client?

Example STAR Answer:
(S) The restaurant was not attracting new customers to the location. (T) My goal was to generate new marketing strategies and incentives to increase awareness of the restaurant and attract new customers. (A) I designed a new flyer and went around to all the local businesses to share the flyer and talk about the restaurant. I also came up with a social media page to promote the brand as well as certain incentives. ® By reaching more people through the new initiatives, we were able to increase our new and returning customers by 20%.

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions:
Practice using the STAR Method on these common behavioral interviewing questions:
– Describe a time when you encountered a stressful situation that demonstrates your ability to cope.
– Tell me about a time when you set a challenging goal and were able to meet it or achieve it.
– Give me an example of a time you had to make a quick decision.
– Tell me about a situation you had with a very upset customer/client/co-worker and how you handled it.
– Describe a time when you overlooked an obvious solution to a problem you encountered.

Remember that experiences you have had could fit as the answer to multiple behavioral questions. For example, an employer might choose to ask either “How do you work under pressure?” or “Tell me about a time you experienced a conflict and how you handled it?”, and you could potentially answer with the same experience.

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