How to Structure Your Interview Answers Using the STAR Method

One of the challenges in interviews is making sure that your answers aren’t too short or too long.

Some people have a tendency to give very short answers, with monosyllabic, 20 second responses.

At the other extreme are people who waffle on, repeating themselves and boring their interviewers with 15 minute answers.

The secret is to practice the S.T.A.R. technique.

It’s a simple method that ensures your answers contain all of the necessary information, without being too short or too long.

S is for Situation – This is where you set the scene for your answer. Don’t take too long here, but briefly outline where you were working and what the situation was that you had to resolve.

T is for Task – After setting the scene, you need to explain what your role was, the obstacles you knew you had to overcome and what you were planning to do in that situation.

A is for Action – Now that we know what’s going on, here is your chance to shine. What action did you take to fix the problem, add value or build better relationships. And don’t just mention one thing, explain all that you did to get the best possible outcome. Don’t be theoretical, don’t tell people what you would do, tell them what you have done and be specific.

Remember, it’s important that you put the “I” in your interview. Make sure that you’re discussing what you did, not what the team around you or anyone else. This is your interview, not your team’s.

R is for Result – Here’s your chance to brag about the outcome of your efforts. OK, don’t brag too much, but you know what I mean. Successful interviews require you to sell yourself, so make sure that you give yourself the chance to talk about your track record of success. Another important component of the result is to explain what you learned through the experience as well, displaying the ability to continue to grow and develop.

Interviews aren’t recreational experiences and we don’t do them every day, so they can be daunting.

But by practising, perfecting and using this simple technique, you can increase your opportunity to be successful in your future interviews.

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