With the rising competition around the globe, a wide variety of compelling interview techniques has emerged. Although the questions asked in an interview are generally fundamental questions that are related to real life yet people find interviews becoming more tricky, archaic, and hard to comprehend. One can easily become eminent by following the right set of techniques. One such technique is called the STAR method technique for answering interview questions with ease.
STAR Interview Questions
The STAR method is widely considered renowned for its cheerful and optimistic results. Let’s first understand what the STAR method exactly is. The STAR method is a method followed by an individual to prepare for behavioral questions asked during interviews. These questions are typically comprised of situational, task-related, action-oriented, and result-driven questions. Different letters in STAR stand for and mean different things.
S: S stands for Situation. An individual explains a situation in detail by giving off some background information about the situation. Alternatively, it can also be called an introduction as one lays out the introduction of their answer under the category ‘S’.
T: T stands for Task. A person should elucidate further about the tasks that they had to do or accomplish. They can also elaborate on the challenges and obstacles that they had to encounter and conquer over. One can incorporate the responsibilities that they were held accountable for in the situation
A: A stand for Action. Under action, every individual has to put forward the actions and activities that they performed to complete the tasks that were given to them. If used accurately, one can portray and showcase their best skills via examples.
R: R stands for Results. Under R, i.e. Results, one has to talk about the outcomes and consequences of their actions. If a person can add details about their achievements, then they should.
Why is the STAR method best?
There is a wide range of benefits and advantages of using the STAR method during an interview. Some of them are written down below as follows:
- The STAR method is an easy, simple, and appropriately structured way to answer interview questions. It starts with a general introduction and background information which helps an individual build a rapport with the employer or the interviewer.
- It gives a brief introduction about the tasks that you were given whilst it highlights your performance and ability to perform those tasks.
- When one mentions the challenges that they had to face and the actions they undertook to overcome their fears and conquer obstacles, they are reflecting the positive personality of someone hard-working and capable.
- The interviewer doesn’t feel confused or lost with the easy and well-organized structure of your story.
- It is an excellent way to answer a question by adding all relevant details (situation example, your role and responsibilities, your problem-solving skills, and your ability to drive positive results)
- It covers everything about the questions enabling you to outshine in your interview.
STAR Interview Questions
An interview not only tests one’s ability to perform the given job or their skills and performance but also an individual’s personality. To test every individual’s personality, a myriad set of questions are designed. These questions may seem quite easy but to answer them cleverly is what gets an individual to ace their interview and grab the job opportunity.
The questions are asked to evaluate an individual’s initiative skills, result in orientation skills, influence/persuasion skills, conceptual and cognitive thinking skills, problem-solving skills, core values and principles, analytical thinking skills, customer-oriented skills, communication skills, and other core skills.
A few of these questions are enlisted below as follows:
- What is your greatest achievement?
- Describe a time when you had to make a difficult choice/decision
- What is your greatest strength? Or what are your strengths?
- Have you ever made a huge blunder at work? If yes, what happened after?
- Have you ever achieved a specific goal? If yes, how?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What do you prefer- to work on weekends or work on weekdays? Why?
- Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a conflict at your workplace.
- Tell me about a time when you handled the pressure well.
- Describe a situation where you were able to use your communication tactics to your advantage.
- Do you prefer a well-paying job with a stressful environment or a less-paying job with a supportive and friendly atmosphere? And why?
- Would you live your dream job with less or a well-paying job that you hate? And why?
- Have you ever been offended over something or someone at your workplace? Can you elucidate the situation further?
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss or colleagues and how did it go?
- Have you ever delivered a piece of bad news at your workplace? If yes, how did you manage to do it, and what you said?
- Describe a time when you were able to overcome your fear/fears.
- What was your greatest failure? What happened after that?
- What interests you the most? Why?
- Describe your relationship with your best boss.
- Describe your relationship/bond with your worst boss.
- Have you ever caught your co-worker practicing mal tactics? If yes, what happened next?
- Have you ever resigned from a job that you liked? If yes, then why?
- Describe your bond with someone you didn’t like at your last workplace.
- What motivates you in your life?
- What lessons have you learned from your last workplace?
- What matters the most to you when joining a new place for work?
- What phrase/quote always stays with you while working? Or what quote/saying/phrase has pushed you ahead in your life?
- Describe a situation where you had to lie at work.
- What do you prefer more- working in a group or working individually?
- While working in a group, what do you think is the most important skill?
- Imagine you won a million-dollar lottery, what will you do with all the money?
- What is your ultimate goal in life?
- Have you ever gotten into an argument or conflict at your last workplace? If yes, what was the reason?
- What skills have you improved and how has it helped you achieve your desired goals?
- What do you do to expand your knowledge while also working full-time?
- Whom do you look up to when faced with a difficult situation? Describe using an example.
- What is more important- consistency or hard work?
- What’s the biggest challenge you faced at your last job?
- Describe a situation where you used your good judgmental skills to solve a problem.
- What is your main goal for this year? Have you made any progress on it yes?
- Have you ever compromised over your core values at work? Why and why not?
- Describe a time when you improved your skills.
- Have you ever missed a deadline? If yes, what happened next?
- Were you ever assigned a task that you were not familiar with? If yes, what happened next?
- How would you handle an angry boss?
- How did you deal with an aggressive customer or a rude employee?
- Were you ever assigned a seemingly impossible task? If yes, what happened next?
- What was your greatest challenge at your last workplace? How did you overcome it?
- How do you find inspiration when going through a mental block?
- Describe a work that you worked on for hours but failed.
- What’s your definition of hard work? How do you apply the definition in real life?
- If you had 100 customers but could only serve 30. Which ones will you serve and why?
- Have you ever received negative criticism for your work that broke your heart? How did you accept it?
- What challenges have you faced while serving your customers?
- Have you ever applied some tactics to improve your relationship with customers? If yes, how?
How to Answer Questions Using the STAR Method?
Responding to questions in a structured way using STAR not only helps you impress your employer but also helps an individual to come up with comprehensive yet concise answers. It is a precise way to stick to the relevant ideas and details without getting confounded within the story.
|S for Structure
|T for Tasks
|A for Actions
|R for Results
|What was the situation? What was going on?What was your job position at the time?What made the situation problematic? What were the negative things about the situation?
|What work or role were you assigned? (Your work, role, etc.)What was the goal that you were trying to reach?What was the most needed task to perform in the situation?What were your plans to overcome the problem?
|What steps/actions did you take?What actions did you perform to overcome the problem?
|What was the outcome of your problem?What the results were?What those results made you realize?What did you learn?What you felt could have been done better?
- Always speak positively about everyone and everything. Making pessimistic comments reflects your negative persona and vitriolic traits.
- Even if a situation is negative, add points that make it seem positive. Keep your outlook positive while speaking or describing a situation.
- Keep your answers brief and precise. Don’t dive into extraneous and unwarranted details.
- Make notes before your interview. Research and prepare in prior.
- Stay confident and honest
- Keep a good posture, make eye contact, and smile generously while talking.
1. What is your greatest achievement?
Purpose: The interviewer wants to check your values and skills.
What to do: Rephrase the question (Describe a time when you achieved something great). Frame an answer using the STAR method.
Example: In 2020, when the pandemic happened, I became jobless. That’s when I started looking for freelance content writing work (work-from-home jobs). Along with freelance work, I started writing a novel in my free time (Situation). I would work for 3-5 hours every morning. I was told by my Publisher from time to time to proofread and add details (Task). I did what I was told. I’d post my chapters, get reviews and make the required changes every day (Action). After six months, my book got published and sold worldwide (Result).
2. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult choice/decision
Purpose: The interviewer wants to fetch a better insight into your leadership qualities, responsibility, surveillance skills, perseverance, assertiveness, confidence, etc.
What to do: Brainstorm and come up with a situation where your decision proved right. Remember, talking about a failed decision might depict your character as someone who lacks problem-solving aptitudes.
Example: During my summer internship this year, I was working with a team of five on a project. The due date for submitting the project was approaching and we were 90% done with the project. We had a week to finish working on the project, but then, two of my teammates had a reservation and they couldn’t help further. Other members of my teams almost gave up as it was nearly impossible to get the project done in mere 7 days (Situation). I had to make the impossible possible by finding a tentative solution (Task). I told my teammates to change the designs at the last minute. The project remained the same, but we just changed the designs as it was possible to stick to a simple design given the time constraint. It was indeed a challenging decision but I had strong faith that it will work out if we keep the design less intriguing at the end (Action). On the day of project submission, our team not only outshined but was also praised specifically for the simple design (Result).
3. What is your greatest strength? Or what are your strengths?
Purpose: The purpose of this question is not only constrained to get a better understanding of an individual’s skills. How to respond to this question reflects your confidence and your attitude toward work.
What to do: Rephrase the question (Describe a situation where you applied your greatest strength into action). Think of a situation, and respond.
Example: I think my biggest strength is my creativity and readiness to come up with creative solutions at difficult times. At my last job, when we couldn’t reach target X for sales. I was disheartened a bit as my hard work was not paying off (situation). I gave myself some time to reflect on my work and that’s when I realized that it was not about hard work but technique (Task). So, I devised a brand new plan to generate more qualitative advertisements to reach out to a wider range of audience monthly target. I asked my team to advertise more. Soon, I created new designs and changed our way of advertising (Action). The plan flourished and we were able to meet our target. Most of the clients that reached out to us got our contact information via the new designs and advertisement (Result).
4. Have you ever made a huge blunder at work? If yes, what happened after?
Purpose: The sole purpose of this question is to identify a person’s creativity, ability to solve, and inventiveness.
What to do: Come up with a situation that brilliantly demonstrates your ability to work effectively under strain.
Example: When I was working at company X, I was assigned a presentation on topic Y. I worked day and night but before, the day of my presentation I accidentally deleted the presentation. I tried backing up the data but it didn’t work. I was apprehensive as I just had one night to solve the issue (Situation). At first, I thought it wasn’t possible but then, I came up with an idea. I had no other option but to prepare my presentation again (Task). I started working on the presentation again, the only difference was that this time my presentation was short and not that detailed (Action). Although I knew I could’ve done better, I thought to myself that it was better than nothing. I learned a valuable lesson from that situation to always have my auto-save option on. Since then, to this date, I’ve always kept my auto-save on (Result with reflection).
5. Have you ever achieved a specific goal? If yes, how?
Purpose: The purpose of this question is to evaluate an individual’s zest or passion intensity, if they are ambitious or not, and if they take action to attain their goals.
What to do: Rephrase the question (Tell me about a time when you achieved a specific goal that you set). Now, think of a situation and phrase your answer using the STAR method.
Example: At my first job place, I was assigned the task of providing 150 diet plans in a month. at that time, I also had my clients via my social media. I aimed a little higher than that; my goal was to provide double the amount I was asked to (Situation). At first, I performed my calculations which introduced me to a sub-goal of preparing at least 10 diet plans per day. It wasn’t easy as it depends on the number of clients you have (Tasks and obstacles). Some days, I’d have more than 10 clients, and some days I’d have just 2-4. The only thing I could do was to gather more clients using my social media profile. On weekends, I’d advertise my content and showcase my profile to attract clients. On weekdays, I would work with the clients from my workplace and the ones that I got through social media. Sometimes, I’d prepare 20-25 diet charts in a day. Being super consistent helped me attain my goal (Action with skills). By the end of the month, I’d prepared more than 420 diet charts. I was escalated with my performance and understood the importance of consistency and hard work. I also realized that sometimes you need to create ways and tactics to jump over your obstacles (Result in reflection).
Now We’ve learnt about ‘STAR Interview Questions’, The STAR method is a method that structures your interview responses in a concise yet elucidated manner. A wide pool of situation-based and behavioral questions are asked under the STAR technique. However, various other questions can be rephrased and responded to by using the STAR interview technique accurately. It helps the recruiter to test your capacities through your answers by accessing the skills that you utilize while handling situations.
Frequently asked questions
- Question 1: How do I prepare for a STAR interview?
Answer 1: You need to follow some steps to prepare for a star interview. These steps are enumerated below as follows:
- Research a few days before your interview.
- Prepare a list of basic and situational questions
- Prepare your answers using the STAR method. Make notes using STAR Method.
- Think of a situation best suited for the given question. Add background information
- Elucidate the tasks you were supposed to do.
- Define your outcomes along with the actions that made you reach that outcomes.
- Question 2: How long should my answers be for a STAR interview?
Answer 2: For a star interview, you need to speak for at most 2-3 minutes. Remember; don’t speak at huge lengths as it might get boring and annoying. Your answers should be concise and precise. Try staying confident and being articulate about your points.
- Question 3: What are the three P’s of an interview?
Answer 3: The three P’s of an interview are: Preparation, Presentation, and Practice. The first step is to prepare for an interview thoroughly. Do in-depth research; get yourself educated about the field and company. The second most buttressing technique is presented. The way you present your skills and knowledge imparts an impression on the employer. So, make sure to outshine and come across as a confident being. Lastly, an individual should practice more and more. For example, one can practice framing answers using the STAR method before an interview.
- Question 4: Why is using the STAR interview method important to use during the interview?
Answer 4: The STAR method is important to structure your answer in an organized, efficient, and effective manner. It helps a person to showcase their behavioral skills, core values, and problem-solving skills. It also enables a person to prove their problem-solving skills.