The STAR Method
The STAR method is followed when using stories to describe your experience or answering questions. It is an acronym for situation, task, action and result. Using STAR to prepare for and answer behavioral questions is a great way to have impact during interviews.
When answering an interview question, the goal is to provide detail in an organized, succinct way. The STAR Method provides a framework or a simple checklist in your mind. It helps ensure you don't leave anything important out.
A challenge or situation that you’ve experienced. More recent the better for relevancy.
What was the goal? What did you seek to do? Where were you headed? Describe the context a bit more. Give us the meat, the details.
What did you have to do to fulfill the task? What did you encounter? Was there anything surprising? Who else, perhaps, was involved?
What happened as the result of your actions? Were you able to get the task done, meet your objectives, solve the problem? Perhaps most importantly, what did you learn? Give us the “why” on this experience and why it was something important for you to share. How has this impacted your short and long-term thinking.
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
What goal were you working toward?
Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on YOU. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution? Be careful that you don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project, but what you actually did. Use the word “I,” not “we” when describing actions.
Describe the outcome of your actions and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Make sure your answer contains multiple positive results.
The most important tip is to make sure your story is tied back to the character traits the interviewer is looking for (e.g., dedication or teamwork).