Posted on May 2014 By Speller International
The STAR method is a structured and highly effective approach to answering what can often be tricky questions in job interviews. Specifically, the STAR method will help you excel in answering behavioural interview questions.
Behavioural interviewing (sometimes referred to as competency based interviewing) is an increasingly common approach adopted by hiring managers, given a growing confidence in its ability to predict candidate behaviour. The underlying premise of behavioural interviewing is that the prediction of future behaviour and ability is best judged by the assessment of performance in a past and similar situation. Behavioural interviewing drills down on these specific “on-the-job” experiences.
So what is the STAR method exactly and how can it help you? “STAR” stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results…and here’s how to apply each component in a behavioural job interview setting:
STEP 1 – SITUATION OR TASK
When asked about how you dealt with a particular type of SAP related situation or task, be sure to keep your description of the situation concise and only focus on relevant details. As an example, an interviewer might ask if you ever dealt with a difficult stakeholder and how you handled the situation. In this instance, for step 1, you simply describe how you came to meet them, what your working relationship was and then explain how they were being difficult.
STEP 2 – ACTION
In step 1, you set the context, and in step 2 you will tell a story highlighting your handling of the situation in a way that emphasises your best attributes, in relation to the SAP role you are being considered for.
This is the most important part of the STAR method as it is designed to give you the chance to demonstrate your skills, capabilities and experience.
Here are some tactics to bear in mind:
Be careful to focus as much as possible on you and your actions, instead of those of the team around you.
You need to provide concrete detail, don’t expect your interviewers to fill in blanks and make presumptions.
Explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it (in that order).
What you did and how you did it
The first thing an interviewer would like to know is how you reacted to a situation. Was it an instant reaction, because the situation required you to think on your feet or because it was something you were very experienced with? Or perhaps it was a more complex situation you had to plan ahead for before acting? This is when you can start to pitch important skills you possess to your interviewers, such as how you read and assess a situation.
Why you did it
Following the same example of dealing with a difficult stakeholder you should substantiate your approach. Did you take a casual and confidential approach? Or was your approach more formal, using mediation through a third party for example. Highlight the reasoning behind your judgement.
STEP 3 – RESULT
The last step is also crucial. What were the outcomes? What did you learn? How did all the parties, including the employer benefit out of your handling of the situation? What would you do differently, if anything, if you had your time again?
Interviewers want to see that you drew on a variety of skills and experience to achieve your objectives. As you tell your story it should become clear to them that you are deliberate in your actions, and do not leave things to chance.
If you need further help understanding how best to prepare for a behavioural interview, feel free to leave your questions and comments below and we’ll be glad to respond. Remember, it’s an old cliché, but thorough preparation is the key to succeeding in any job interview.