A resume can help in telling about the candidate’s skills and background and how it’s suitable for the job. A cover letter can help in confirming the interest and what they expect from the position.
An interview can be an important step, this can help in evaluating the critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and decision-making of the candidate.
The STAR interview method can help in digging deeper and for candidates to give structure and insight to the answer.
To understand how STAR methodology works for interviews, for both candidate and interviewer, here is a quick guide.
What Is the STAR Method?
Well, the first thing you should be knowing is what exactly the STAR model is all about.
The method stands for :
With this behavioral interview approach, the employer can find out about the candidate and how they will act in certain situations depending on their past experiences.
The answer of the candidate can help in describing the situation, and required task whereas the candidate’s actions can define the results.
For evaluating each condition and with a fair chance, the interviewer asks the question in order to understand and know how they will perform the role.
STAR Method is basically a behavioral interviewing technique that helps in getting those important insights.
Interview questions can help in using the STAR method which urges the candidates to share their linear stories.
From this, the interviewer can identify much easier and know about the sense of the judgment in the candidate. This is much more difficult to find in generic skill-based questions in an interview.
What Are STAR Answer Format?
Once you know how the STAR method works and needed, the next should be knowing what the answer to STAR should sound like.
Well to know that, here is what can help.
The S stands for situation, answering the question of STAR methodology should paint a clear picture of what problem, issue, or dilemma that candidate needs to solve.
Interviews can explain the situation by adding how the situation came and who should be involved.
The T stands for Task, this is a component of the STAR answer which helps in elaborating the role of the candidate in the situation.
So it includes, what would they do and respond to when in such a situation? Who is going to identify the task? or what was the desired result of carrying out the work?
A stands for Action, this is the answer that reveals how the candidate is going to approach the task actually and help in steps that they need to take in order to solve the problem. Here the problems are those which are identified in the solution stage.
The R stands for the results, this includes the STAR answer which focuses on explaining the outcome of the action.
This tells if the problems are solved or not, what results did they get, and how it differs from the expected results.
For example, instead of asking what is a candidate’s biggest weakness, the good STAR question is to give an example of a goal that didn’t meet and how they handled it.
The method requires focusing on the prior work which is an anecdote, providing details and what actions are taken to solve the tasks.
When the STAR method is used in the right way, it can be extremely effective.
What Are The Typical STAR Questions For An Interview?
To understand what kind of questions can be expected from an interview that is based on the STAR Methodology, here are some of the questions that can be asked.
Questions With Sense Of Judgment
Well, this kind of question can help in revealing the quality of judgment that the candidate takes and how they make the decisions under different circumstances.
The question it includes are :
- Tell me about the difficult decisions that you have made last year.
- Describe the time when you set your sights too high or too low.
- Tell me about a time when a candidate had multiple important projects, and how they prioritize and finish them.
- Can the candidate tell about the experience where they have received the conflicting pieces of feedback on projects they were on and how they address it?
- Describe the time when the project had to suffer or fail because of a close colleague, and how the candidate married to explain the failure to their project manager.
Questions About Handling The Pressure
These kinds of questions can help in revealing how candidates perform under pressure. Also, it can help in getting an insight into their actions in different kinds of circumstances.
It includes :
- Describe the decisions that you have made which were unpopular and how they handled the implementation.
- Share about the time how they learned something which they were not familiar with and how fast they did it.
- Describe the situation where they have to disagree with their superior and how they settled the disagreement.
- Describe the situation which was stressful and how they handled the situation.
- Describe an experience where they had to deal with upset customers and how it went.
Questions About Leadership Potential
Such questions can help in revealing the candidate and their potential regarding the leadership, confidence, and willingness to take the initiative.
Well, it includes :
- You indicate on your resume that leadership is one of your strengths, describe the experience where you had to use the ability.
- Share the example when you have to show initiative and take the lead.
- Can the candidate talk about a time when they had the feedback negative, and how they handled it.
Questions For Self Awareness
Such questions can help in revealing the self-awareness of the candidate and also what kind of strength they have . with that if they are aware of their weakness or not. If yes, then what are they doing to solve it?
Here are the questions :
- Tell me about the time when you successfully dealt with your coworker to whom you might not like personally or vice versa.
- Give an example of an experience when you were trying to accomplish something but ended up failing.
- Tell me about the project which was not going to meet its deadline and how you minimize or confront the consequences.
- Tell about a time when you felt you did not belong. And how you made your presence is known or your opinion to your co-workers.
How To Format Interview With STAR Approach?
For the interviews, it’s important that you know how you are going to use the STAR questions and incorporate them into your interview strategy.
In order to format your interview with the STAR approach, here are some of the steps that you need to follow.
Create The List Of Star Questions But Role Specific
The first step you need to do is to start by making a list of questions.
These questions should be applicable to a specific candidate’s characteristics, skills, and prior experiences.
The list of questions can also serve as a general starting point. But to delve into the specific background of candidates and their relation to their role, it’s important that you tailor the questions according to that.
When you are using the STAR interview method, you should ask the questions which are needed and the answers which should be situation-specific.
For example, if you want to know about the flexibility of the candidate, you should ask questions depending on that.
Tell Candidates What You Are Exactly Looking for In Their Answer
Not everyone agrees that it should be an important step, there are some recruiters who prefer not to do the explanation. Also, they don’t make it clear what situation-specific answer they want and let the candidate deal with the situation.
This helps in getting the benefit of being vague, at least you get candid answers.
But experts like Todd Lombardi, who is a college-related specialist at Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc, believe that it’s important to do the explanation of what you are looking for before the candidate answers any behavioral interview question.
It includes speaking about projects on which candidates worked, how their roles evolved, and how they have handled the deadline or situations which are unexpected.
Know Exactly What You Are Looking For
STAR Interview questions are particularly helpful when it comes to determining the major characteristics of the candidate or receiving the content for the issues which are optically there.
When you are using the STAR question approach, you should know exactly what you are looking for so you know if the candidate is giving you the answer that you want or not.
Regardless of how they answer, you need to note how they demonstrate or didn’t use those characters. This can help you in learning more about it.
Keep Yourself Open-Minded
Each candidate has their own different experiences, all of them contribute to something unique and it brings unexpected answers sometimes to the questions.
It’s important when you are an interviewer, you are open-minded. Also, you want to build a team with diverse employees, each of whom is bringing something new and different ideas along with past experiences.
So if they are giving you different answers, it doesn’t mean that it’s not right.
How To Prepare For A STAR Interview?
Acing the STAR interview requires practice and preparation. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you will be for the technique and use it to your advantage.
For the candidate, learning about how you should prepare for your STAR interview is important, here are some of the steps that can help.
Highlight Your Skills And Experience Which Are Needed
Take time to look for the skills and experience that the interviewer is looking for.
It means you have to put time into learning about the job and reading the job descriptions. The recruiters will tailor their questions in order to find out if you have the right skills or not.
Studying the roles and responsibilities of the position will help you in providing clues of what kind of behavioral questions you can get.
If your role in your interview is going to need problem-solving, you might get asked to answer questions depending on that.
Reflect On Your Wins And Achievement You Got Previous
When you are using the STAR method, you are required to write down specific examples of the situations where you can demonstrate your competencies.
Also, make sure they are relevant to the role that you are going for.
According to the SHRM or Society for Human Resource Management, the answers to the behavioral question give the concrete and verifiable evidence provided.
Also, it is important to show how you handled things and it is important.
You need to avoid being vague and walking the interviewer through the steps which are specific to achieving the desired result.
You Need To Practicing The Answers
The next one you should consider is practicing the answers which is one of the most effective ways of preparing for a job interview.
You can do it alone, or better with the help of a friend.
Get a friend who plays the part of the hiring manager and ask a set of behavioral questions in a mock interview.
You can simulate the real interview with them which can help you in feeling much more prepared as well as confident.
Your friend can help you by offering a fresh perspective and telling you what is going to work in your way or not.
When you are practicing, you need to do it on your own and make the practicing much louder.
The more comfortable you get in vocalizing the answer and helping yourself in nature as you do in the interview.
Review Your Behavioral Questions
Review The common behavioral interview questions and use the technique for answering them.
Common STAR interviews basically focus on questions such as soft skills such as communication, and leadership. Collaboration or problem-solving.
While there is no way that you can predict exactly what the interview is going to ask you, there are good chances that you might get the variation of some similar questions.
How To Use The STAR Method In An Interview?
Well to understand how you can use the star method for the interview, it’s important that you understand how to use each
Techniques for delivering compelling as well as structured responses.
Situation: Set The Stage First
Begin to answer the questions by giving the context that the interview has given to you. This is important for the situation and the challenges that you mentioned are specific to the context.
Make sure you are keeping this brief and focus on the details for setting the scene.
You want to limit the part only to a few sentences. The bulk of the answer should focus on the results and what will lead to that.
Make sure that the situation you have chosen is demonstrating the skill or capabilities that you are asked about and a complex enough role you are applying for.
Tasks: Explain Where You Are Best To Fit In
Describe the task that you completed and how you are involved in it.
Also, you need to find a similar portion of the answer, but this part should be brief and make it on point.
Put your answers in simple sentences, and explain where you are best to fit in.
Action: Describe Your Steps
Well the most important part of the answer, here you need to describe each of the steps. This is the opportunity for showcasing the capabilities.
Your hiring manager doesn’t just want to know about what you achieved so far, but also how you did it.
Explain each of the steps that you took to overcome the challenges and reach your goal.
Here make sure you are being specific as much as you can, with describing each step and adding in detail, and avoiding vague statements.
Well according to SHRM, candidates must focus on keeping their focus on themself when they are answering the question.
Results: Impress With What You Achieved
This is the time when you should share the results of the actions you took and how they impacted you.
This can help the interviewer that you took the right steps that lead you to achieve success and understand how you work in detail.
Make sure that the experience you share, and the outcome should be positive.
What Are Tips For Getting the Most Out Of STAR?
In order to make sure you are getting the most out of your STAR method.
Here are some of the tips that you can consider :
Make Sure You Are Keeping Relevant
Well, it might seem obvious, but there are a lot of times when your question and answer regarding STAR are not relevant.
Think about what you want to communicate, and it should reflect on the question and answer.
Ideally, it should be related to a position that can help in understanding the skills and help in knowing if the candidate is right for the job or not.
So if the interviewer is not asking the right question, the chances the candidate will not share the right answer too.
It’s important that both are keeping it relevant to the position and the job.
Have Examples Ready
There is no way that candidate will get a behavior interview question in advance.
But it’s a good idea that candidates have a few examples and understand the STAR method.
This way, they can tweak as well as to adapt the answer depending on the question.
It’s important to keep in mind that the answer should not be word to word memorized.
This should be natural when the candidate answers.
Give The Proper Context
Imagine giving a question to a candidate that has no proper context, this might confuse the candidate to find the right way to answer.
The same goes for the candidate, when you are answering the question, it should have the proper context.
But when you are answering, there are some of the things that you need to consider and how you should not answer :
- When you are answering, you don’t have to go into depth detail about how you found the client.
- Also, you need not to describe the whole working relationship from start to end.
- Give them the backstory and explaining is not needed.
Show What You Worked On
It’s important that candidates do a little bragging about what they worked on.
This is something you should not be afraid of, and show how you made a difference. also when a candidate is going for the interview, it’s important to mention these points too :
- What kind of impact does their action lead on a department or company?
- What was the result was exact, so use the numbers and data for backing it up.
- What do candidates learn from the whole experience?
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