Figuring out how to answer interview questions can be quite daunting – you need to think up the right information to answer their question, make it succinct yet detailed, and then deliver it with conviction. Using the STAR interview model will help you add structure when answering some tricky interview questions.
This blog won’t likely solve all of these problems, but it will go a long way to ensure you have the opportunity to add detail whilst keeping it succinct and also deliver it with clear logic. You can also download our full interview preparation guide if you are currently looking for jobs and want to be as prepared as possible for your next interview.
Introducing the STAR model: great for answering most interview questions, but particularly, for responding to behavioural based questions and giving detail when you’re running through your CV.
S – Situation
T – Task
A – Action(s)
R – Result(s)
For the interview situation you really want to “set the table”; give them all the important information. Examples would be budgets, time constraints/deadlines, scenarios, team size, and specifics within your context. The reason you want to go through all of these is it will provide them with an adequate understanding of the context to be able to follow along with the subsequent steps.
Task is for what you’re looking to achieve or what you’re looking to remedy given the situation – it’s reiterating, clearly, to give the interviewer a direction to the “story”.
The action(s) that you take are the meat of the answer. You want to specifically mention steps that you, yourself, took to deliver on the task. It’s well and good to give credit to the team where it’s due, however they’re not the ones that are interviewing so you really want to emphasise your input. Speak through the actions in sequence and mention how a decision/occurrence affected the next step – this shows a clear logical flow of thoughts and excellent communication in bringing the interviewer along for the smooth journey.
Result is the dessert, it’s where you leave the interviewer nodding, smiling, and pencilling in your start date. The key is to provide tangible impacts of your work. I’ll say it again for those at the back – Provide. Statistical. Evidence. You want to address the task and give a realistic account as to whether it was achieved – if yes, what did it mean, was it on time? Was it within budget? How did the team feel? If not, what did you do to minimise the effect on the business? How much over budget was it? When were you able to deliver against the estimated timeframe? All of these will allow the interviewer to assess your value, ability to self-reflect, and critically assess the situation and its impact on the business.
Hopefully after reading the above, you feel ready to be a superstar in your next interview. If all else interviews KISS (no, I don’t mean kiss your interviewer) I mean 'keep it simple, silly'. Another blog for another time.
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