Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shine in Your Next Interview Using "STAR"

If you have been on an interview lately, most likely you have been asked behavioral interview questions that start out with “Tell me about a time…”, “Describe a situation…”, or “Give an example…”. Behavioral-Based Interviewing is based on the theory that the most accurate predictor of future behavior is past behavior in a similar situation. Interviewers want to learn how you, the interviewee, acted in specific employment-related situations.

The most effective way to answer behavioral interview questions is to become a great story teller. Too many interview answers use vague examples or link a string of buzzwords together. This might sound impressive but the information will be forgotten by the end of the day. People remember stories and you also become more animated, engaging and smile more when telling a good story.

To craft a good interview story, utilize the STAR approach.

  • Setting: Give your job title and the name of the company where you worked
  • Task: Summarize the specific project and/or problem you faced
  • Action: Describe the actions you took to achieve results
  • Result: Describe the results and quantify them, if possible. Interviewers not only want to know that you have the capability; they also want you to demonstrate that you have obtained results. Sharing your results and accomplishments in stories is essential. 

There are a wide variety of questions out there so you will not be able to prepare for each specific question. However, you CAN arm yourself with a small arsenal of stories that can be adapted to many behavioral questions. The beauty of a good story is that it often highlights several strengths. For example, if you have a story about a time you resolved a difficult issue for a customer, you are highlighting both your customer service skills and your ability to solve problems!

To create your own arsenal of stories using the Interview Preparation Worksheet and to access additional interview preparation resources, visit the WGU Career & Professional Development Website.

Completed your preparation and would like to practice? Schedule a mock interview with a WGU Career & Development Specialist!