Interview Strategies: The S.T.A.R Method
So you’ve made it to your big interview? Congrats! After sending dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes, you’re invited to one of the most important days of your career. You’ve put a LOT of work into your resume but here’s the thing….resumes DON’T tell the entire story. It’s easy enough to use key phrases, action-based verbs and optimise your resume but the interview is far more fluid and dynamic than a carefully crafted pdf. Your excellent resume is a ticket to the interview. The company will get to see a bit of who you are in this interview: Your interests, your perspectives, the values you bring to work, all the higher level stuff that just CAN’T fit into a resume etc. That’s certainly a lot to ask for. But listen, we’ve helped a LOT of job seekers with all the nuts and bolts of acing the interview, resume and the whole kit-n-kaboodle. The real test is about to begin.
Show people what you got because the interview is where you ⭐SHINE ⭐
There are many interview strategies but there’s only one S.T.A.R method. We trust interview strategies like S.T.A.R to deliver results. The S.T.A.R method is a simple technique to categorise and explain experiences in your interview. Remember that your interviewer won’t know anything about your former work experiences. They won’t know ANYTHING beyond your resume. So S.T.A.R creates a simple, easy-to-follow narrative that goes from A-to-Z. This technique will keep you on point and focused on a competency based answer. And interviewers loooove competency.
So first things first.
S.T.A.R? What do these letters mean?
Great question! S.T.A.R means Situation, Task, Action and Result. Let’s repeat this one more time.
*Some food for thought: doing well in an interview means knowing how the interview is structured. Knowing what your interviewer will ask will make you better prepared to answer succinctly. Being R E A D Y is part of being the allstar you are!*
- Situation comes first. The interviewer will ask about previous work experiences and this is where you want to start FIRST. Questions like “Share an example of a time when you faced a difficult problem at work.” are almost ALWAYS asked. This is THE easiest ball to knock out of the park. Reflect on your experiences. Just what WAS the last time you had a challenge at work? For example Ex “We needed to bring in new clients.”
- Task is second. What was your goal or task you had in that situation? You’ll want to describe your responsibilities during this situation. Keep the tasks brief because action is where the good stuff is. Ex “My responsibility during this time was ________ and _________.”
- Action is third. This is where you SHINE with your interview prep. Tell your interviewer HOW you accomplished your task. What did you and your badself do to slaaay this problem? Keep the focus on YOU and YOUR accomplishments! You may have been part of a team but YOU’RE the one being interviewed. Explain your thought process that helped solved the situation. Go into detail about the little in’s and outs that other people might not know about. You want to go IN depth. You don’t want to waste your shot (Hamilton reference, sorry!) since you really have 1 interview.
- Results are last. Answer the question of “What happened as a result from your actions?” and “Did you successfully achieve your goal?” Make sure to finished up with answering “what did you learn from this experience?” Pick 2-3 key results and expand on them. Example (we recommend you actually say something like this) “The results were _______, we _______” Ultimately, the RESULTs are just showing your interviewer the proof in the pudding! And your interviewer wants to know that you’re a good investment to the company.
How Can I Practice the S.T.A.R Method?
Grab a pen and paper and write out possible S.T.A.R responses. Then practice SAYING these answers. Yes, it’s homework but you want to arrive to that interview K N O W I N G your stuff. Interviewers LOVE a prepared candidate. We can’t stress how important it is that you show the interviewer that you came R E A D Y. If the interviewer thinks you’ve shown up with no prep, that’s not good. All that work for nothing? Ooof. Remember those soft skills we talked about in our last newsletter? Mix the S.T.A.R method and some public speaking skills. You’ll give yourself a stronger footing than if you just showed up with no preparation at all.
We hope these tips were helpful! There are several types of interview strategies but S.T.A.R is something we practice ourselves. As they say in sport, “you play the way you practice.” So don’t be afraid to invest a little time for some thoughtful meaningful responses. You’re worth it! We have a whole barnyard of interview prep blogs just for you. If you want more info, the Guardian recently had a excellent article on the S.T.A.R technique.
As Momma Ru Paul says “You betta werk!”
Have a great and safe week!