Job Interview Tips: The STAR Method

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After reading our last two blog posts, you now know how to prepare for your next job interview. Next, we move onto the interview itself. Together with Inge Fisher from Inge Fisher Consulting CC we explain how to answer behavioural based questions using the STAR method.  

What are behavioural based questions?

Interviewing today is often behavioural based, using the premise that past behaviour predicts future performance. 

Interviewers love using behavioural based questions to learn more about you and your capabilities. You will be asked how you behaved in a certain situation or carried out a certain task, what actions you took and what the result was.  Your answers will demonstrate to the interviewer whether you have the competencies to perform the job.

What is the STAR Method?

A frequently used interviewing tool is the STAR method. SITUATION, TASK, ACTION and RESULT.

Situation: Describe the specific situation you were in.
Task: What was the main aim of the task?
Action: What actions did you take to remedy the situation? Or what did you do that demonstrated the skill?
Result: What was the end result of your actions? Did you accomplish your main aim?

How do you answer behavioural based questions using the STAR method?

For example, you are being interviewed for a Remuneration Advisor position.  The interviewer might ask:

Question: Please give me an example of how you developed pay scales for your organisation.

Answer: As there was no job grading system in place, I graded all the positions on the Paterson job grading system. I then participated in a salary survey from a well-known company who conducts surveys.  Based on the market data, I was then able to construct pay scales per job grade.

The interviewer might question further on this to gain a deeper understanding by asking about the market data, or the types of jobs to further assess the depth of your knowledge.

Examples of behavioural based questions:

  • Explain a time when you disagreed with your Manager and how you resolved the problem?
  • Tell me about when you’ve used initiative?
  • How do you approach problems? Give an example of you solving a problem.
  • What role do you assume when working within a team?

The STAR method can be a useful tool when being asked behavioural based questions and having situations and examples ready to go can help you feel prepared and calm. Your answers will come across more composed and confident.

Look out for our next blog on other common questions to expect in a job interview.

Megan Moffett

Author