If you want to nail that job interview, you better get ready to spill the beans on all your past experiences. And no, we don't mean that one time you got drunk at the office Christmas party (unless of course, it's a hilarious, appropriate story).
But seriously, the hiring manager will want to know all the deets on how you handled different situations in the past. And don't worry, we've got your back. Just use the STAR technique, it's like a roadmap for answering those tricky questions. Trust us, it'll make you sound like a boss and have them begging to hire you.
So… What is the STAR technique?
The STAR method is a four-step approach to answering these questions:
But, wait! Which are the questions that really need a START response then?
If you want to ace that fancy schmancy competency-based interview, you better brush up on their job description skills. That's right, they're gonna ask about a time you showed off one of those competencies they listed. And trust me, they won't be impressed if you just wing it…
Most of these fancy-pants grad jobs are all about soft skills like talking the talk and walking the walk with your team and making deals like a pro. But don't worry, they'll also ask about your work experiences. If you ain't got none, don't sweat it, just talk about all the cool extracurricular activities you did, or the super awesome school projects you killed it on!
Yeah, we know… You still need to know how the STAR technique works…
It's like storytelling for adults, except this time, it's all about the difficult stuff and how you fixed it. And let me tell you, it's as easy as ABC...or should I say STAR. Ok, that’s enough. Here's an explanation of the meaning behind each of the four components of the technique:
Set the stage of the story by providing context and background information. If you're asked about teamwork, your response should contain details about the project, who you were working with, when you started the project, and where you were at the time.
Specify your particular role or participation in the scenario. Make ensure that the recruiting manager understands what you were expressly assigned to perform, as opposed to what the other candidates did.
This is most likely the most essential section of the story. You tell how you tackled the challenging scenario or solved the problem here. Indicate if you worked alone or as part of a group. What you're attempting to express is your appraisal of the scenario, your answer to the problem, and how you enlisted the help of the team.
Add as much information as you can so that the interviewer can understand you. Avoid buzzwords and company-specific lingo while doing so.
Finally, state the beneficial outcome of your efforts and the skills you learned. If applicable, quantify the outcomes and demonstrate the impact of your activities.
So now you are probably wondering: how do I answer interview questions using the STAR technique?
Sure, you never know what page you'll turn to next and what the exact question will be, but one thing's for sure: it's gonna be a doozy. Expect to flex your critical thinking muscles, show off your problem-solving prowess, prove that you're the ultimate pressure cooker, and regale the interviewer with tales of your conflict resolution conquests. Oh, and don't forget to mention that time you were in charge and led the team to victory (or at least, not total defeat)!
Once the big interview is confirmed, it's time to dig into that job posting like it's a big tub of ice cream. (Mmm, career opportunities...tasty.) Take a good look at the responsibilities and desired skills, and start brainstorming all the ways you're going to knock the socks off the interviewer.
And don't forget, a little self-reflection never hurt anyone. Take a stroll down memory lane and think about all the times you've saved the day at work. (You know, those moments where you single-handedly prevented the office from burning down, or brought the team back from the brink of certain doom.) Write 'em down, because trust me, those anecdotes are gold. It'll be like you're reading from your own personal hero's journey.
Ladies and gents, are you ready to shine like the STAR you are? It's like a secret weapon for acing those behavioral interview questions. The key is, to be honest, and don't be afraid to brag a little bit about your accomplishments.
When practicing your STAR stories, treat them like you are telling them to your grandma or grandpa. Keep it simple, sweet, and to the point. And don't worry about being overly dramatic, just make sure you get the important details in there.
Oh, and remember! Pick the best anecdotes from your most recent work experiences but if you have an old story that's still a classic, go ahead and use it. Don’t forget brevity is the soul of wit.
And STAR responses.