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How to STAR During Your Interview

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How To STAR During Your Interview:

Behavioral interviews help your employer understand your motivations, characteristics and personality.  They usually start with, “Tell me about a time you…”

Success hinges on how you relay your story. The Situation-Task-Action-Result format is a proven approach. Below are 5 steps to develop a STAR story.

  1. Gather a bank of questions
  2. Write down key experiences both in and outside of work. Try to have 2-3 stories for every question.
  3. Highlight YOUR specific contribution.  The “Action” part, what YOU did, is the most important part of your story.
  4. Use note cards to bullet out your story into each of the STAR sections and practice with your partner. For example:
 

Question: Tell me about a time you had to work with a difficult team.

Answer:

Situation (S): Our finance department needed to deliver quarterly reports to the board. The fashion department was known for delaying their submissions and the submissions were not in the needed format, leaving our team barely meeting the deadlines.

Task (T): I had to ensure that we got quality data from the department and on time.

Action (A):

  • I first contacted the fashion director early to alert her on the deadline and how a delay in submission might affect her budget. I also walked her through what we needed.
  • Then, knowing that she was not the numbers person, I also asked for an analyst to work with.
  • Given previous mistakes on format, I also create a spreadsheet in the format that we needed the data and walked the analyst through how to fill it and to link the department’s data to it. 
  • I also scheduled check-ins with the analyst to get updates and answer questions.

Results (R): We finished the report on time. Additionally, my approach led the standardization of the spreadsheet that I had created.