Achieve Interview Success With The Star Technique

01/09/17

Interviews with prospective employers and internship host companies are your opportunity to sell your experience and prove that you are the best fit for the position.

In answering interview questions, the best way to impress an interviewer is to discuss your credentials and accomplishments in terms of personal success stories.

One of the best ways to structure answers to interview questions with examples demonstrating past experience is the STAR technique. The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format is a job interview technique which if used correctly, will identify all relevant information about a specific capability that the job requires. Through your answers, your interviewer will get an indication of how you will react in similar situations in future, and whether you are a good fit for the role or not.

The STAR technique

  • Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation you were in.
  • Task: The interviewer wants to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation.
  • Action: What did you do? The interviewer is looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what the alternatives were.
  • Results: What were the outcomes of your actions? The interview wants to know what you acehived through your actions and whether you met your objectives. He/She also wants to know what you learnt from this experience and whether you've used this learning since.

Example questions

Here are examples of questions that can be answered using the STAR technique:

  • Tell me about a time when you have demonstrated excellent customer service.
  • Explain a scenario where you have been an effective team player.
  • Can you explain a situation where you have used your own initiative in a work situation?
  • Example answer using the STAR technique

Let’s look at the first question about providing excellent customer service and provide an answer using the STAR technique:

  • Situation: "I was working as a Crew Member at McDonalds when a customer complained of a long wait time for his order." Here we have clearly identified the challenge in which we were faced.
  • Task: "I wanted to resolve the situation in a calm and efficient manner ensuring the customer received the best possible service from me." Here we have identified what it was that we were trying to achieve.
  • Action: "I apologised to the customer for the length of time he had waited. I supplied the customer with a replacement order as well as asked my Manager for permission to supply the customer with a free voucher as a token of good will and appreciation." Here we have identified the action taken to best complete the task at hand.
  • Result: "The customer left the restaurant extremely satisfied. My Manager complimented me on my excellent customer service skills." Here we have identified the positive result as an outcome of the actions taken.

Here's a short video summarising the STAR technique. By following this simple method, you can narrate direct, meaningful, personalised experiences that best demonstrate your qualifications, experience and fit for the role.

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