What Is The STAR Interview Technique?


Preparing for a job interview can be daunting. After all, you don't know the questions that are going to come up and having answers ready for every scenario is impossible. But the STAR technique can help you prepare some strong answers that you can adapt accordingly. Read on to learn more about what the STAR technique is, and how you can use it during an interview.

What is the STAR technique?

The STAR technique is a structured method for responding to behavioural interview questions. The letters in the acronym stand for:

  • Situation: The specific situation that you were in, preferably a situation relevant to the job you’re applying for.

  • Task: The task that you were completing at the time, whether this is a formal task or an informal problem in the workplace.

  • Action: The action that you took in an effort to resolve the problem, with step-by-step details.

  • Result: The eventual outcome of your actions, and how you reflected on the outcomes as either a positive or negative overall result.

When to use the STAR technique

Use the STAR technique for any question where the interviewer asks about your behaviour in the workplace. The STAR technique is a simple and memorable means of providing, not only your response to a difficult situation, but also the context surrounding your decision and some of the reasoning behind what you did. Some questions where you can use the STAR technique include giving examples of certain skills in the workplace, talking about a time that you dealt with a challenge, and providing examples of working as part of a team.

STAR Interview Technique

Benefits of the STAR technique

There are a few benefits of using this technique during a job interview, including:

1. Providing a clear narrative

One of the main benefits of the STAR technique is that it presents the interviewer with a clear narrative that they can follow. You lead them through the context around a decision and the task at hand, before telling them about what you did and why. This important background information engages the listener and means that an interviewer can understand the reasoning behind the decisions you made.

2. Cut down on rambling

Without some sort of answering structure, there's potential for you to ramble or go round in circles. A lack of structure means you're going to say whatever comes into your head, which is a risk when an interviewer is going to be analysing every word you say. The STAR structure gives you a guide to work from, and can help you to know when and how to wrap up your answer, even if you're responding to a question that you haven't prepared for in advance.

3. Ease of preparation

Preparing for multiple interview questions is far simpler when you have a clear structure in place. You can go through the questions you expect one by one, listing a specific situation and committing the structure of your answer to memory. You may even be able to mix and match different situations and tasks with actions and results, which can make remembering different answers a far simpler process.

Using the STAR technique is an excellent habit for any interviewee, so start practising this structure to answer action-based questions for a better chance at a successful interview!

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Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.