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Smash your interview with the STAR method

STAR Interview Methods


One of the biggest challenges of interviews is answering the questions. You could have all the experience in the world. But unless you can articulate your answers properly, it won’t matter. And whilst there’s tons of interview advice we could offer, today we’re focusing on the STAR method.


The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. It’s a way of structuring your interview questions to give a clear answer. If you don’t follow the STAR method, there’s a strong chance you’ll end up going off-track. You don’t want to leave the interviewers confused and scratching their heads. Follow STAR and you can’t go wrong.


When to use the STAR method

The STAR method works best for competency-based interview questions. These are questions that ask you to give specific examples that reflect your skills.


Examples of competency-based questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you used your initiative
  • When have you worked as part of a team?
  • Can you give me an example of when you achieved a target?
  • When have you overcome a problem in the workplace?
  • Describe a situation where you led a team.
  • When have you demonstrated perseverance?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you showed excellent attention to detail?
  • When have you made a suggestion that was taken on board?


What does the STAR method stand for?


The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.



Start your answer by describing the situation at the time. It’s all about giving context. For example, the company name, your job title, and how long you’d been working at the company.



The next part of your answer should describe the problem or task. What were you trying to achieve? What was difficult about the scenario?



This is where you describe the action you took. How did you go about resolving the issue or achieving the goal? Were you working as part of a team or solo? Remember, this part should reflect the skill in question.



Finally, describe the outcome. What did you achieve in the end? Using tangibles like stats or figures will strengthen your answer. For example, details of any targets.


Example of a STAR interview answer



“Tell me about a time when you used your initiative.”


Sample answer


Situation: “In 2019 I was working as an admin assistant for a lettings company called Holly Homes. I was part of the team responsible for admin tasks, like making up customer booklets.”


Task: “Whenever the sales team requested a customer pack, we would produce the packs on demand. But this would result in delays as we weren’t always able to immediately meet the request. And sometimes we would be short on supplies and would need to order them in.”


Action: “To resolve this, I started to batch prepare customer packs. This meant we always had some ready to go for last-minute requests. I also created an inventory list so we could monitor the stock levels and order anything that was low on supply.”


Result: “As a result, the admin manager implemented my changes permanently to the process. We also experienced no further delays for producing packs. This meant the business ran more smoothly and improved the end customer experience.”


STAR for the win

STAR is a simple but effective way of acing your interview. It ensures your answers are clear and concise. Just be sure to prepare some examples ahead of your interview so you don’t have to think on the spot.


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Vanessa Ramkissoon

Vanessa Ramkissoon | Recruitment Content Expert