The STAR interview technique

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If you’ve ever wondered whether there’s a magical way to answer interview questions efficiently and comfortably, then you’ll be happy to learn about the STAR technique. 

Answering competency questions is what makes or breaks your job interview, and if you’ve had issues with this in the past, the STAR technique will provide exactly what you need. 

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Approach and Results, and it’s a simple technique that will allow you to answer any interview questions that come your way as long as you keep these four aspects in mind. 

The great thing about the STAR technique is that it tells you exactly when to use it, and that’s whenever you get asked a competency questions. This kind of questions are used to get a picture of what a candidate would do in a specific, real-world scenario. 

People often get nervous when they have to answer competency questions because they

re so open-ended that your brain goes crazy. The trick is to prepare, and that’s where the STAR technique comes in. 

To use this technique correctly, your answer needs to cover all the elements STAR represents. Let’s take a look at each of them:

S = Situation

The situation is the context, so this is what’s going to help you set the scene and provide your interviewer with the necessary background. You want to be detailed and specific with this, so you must provide names, dates, and all the details that will make your answer more credible.

This is where you specify where you were working at the time, who you were working with, and every other detail you feel like it’s necessary to provide to give context to the picture you’re painting later on. This will also serve for accuracy and it helps tell a more memorable story. Details are important, so by providing them, you’re making sure the story sticks.

T = Task

Now that you’ve provided context, which is the base of your answer, you’ll want to build on that and provide an outline. Be concise, but paint a picture. Talk about how the situation related to you and what you had to do to resolve the issue. Mention how challenging or relevant it was for you to overcome that obstacle, and be sure to say what hurdles you had to work through. 

This is where you go through the timeline carefully and tell the story of everything you had to go through in order to get the job done. This is where you talk about the obstacles and truly make them understand how big the problem was. This will allow you to speak about how altering it was for you, how it made you better for the job, and how it made you grow in the workplace.

A = Approach

This is all about the approach you used to resolve the situation. You want to explain exactly how you got it done and all the steps you took in order to achieve a successful outcome. Don’t make it all about you, though, but do make sure you talk about the skills the interviewers is most interested on and highlight that you have them. 

You will need to be detailed yet concise, but you really want them to understand everything you did and how your actions directly contributed to a satisfactory result. Talk about team work as well. After all, the goal here is to let them know what skills you can bring to the table. The skills you talk about should be the kind of skills that make you perfect for the position you’re interviewing for. 

R = Result

The result is the outcome of the situation, and of course, it should be positive. Make it quantifiable and you will have answered the question successfully. When you offer numbers and stats, you make your efforts a lot more impressive because you’re showing your interviewer exactly how what you did was positive for the company and to what extent your actions benefited everyone. 

If you want to make sure you use the STAR technique effectively, practice it! Do a quick search of the most common competency questions and prepare your STAR answer for at least a couple of them. Call a friend to help you out! This will make you feel more confident for when you have to do it on the spot. 

As you can see, the STAR technique offers a clear and concise guideline you can follow to provide the best possible answer to any competency questions thrown your way. Thanks to this technique you’ll be able to remain calm and confident and significantly improve your chances of getting a call back.

After all, competency questions are all about making sure you’re the right fit for the job, so by making sure you answer them correctly, you’re letting them know they’ve found what they were looking for. 

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