Interview Techniques: The STAR Method

Guest post by Stacy Blackman Consulting.

When I was attending Kellogg and going through on-campus interviews for my summer internship, I learned about a technique called the STAR method.  Even to this day, I consider the technique to be one of the most useful frameworks for answering interview questions.  I continue to teach this technique to my clients.

The STAR technique can be applicable when asked “situational” questions: “Tell me about a time when you…”

  • “Tell me about a time you succeeded.”
  • “Tell me about a time you came up with a solution others had not found.”
  • “Tell me about a time you took control of a difficult assignment.”
  • “Tell me about a time others followed you.”

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

The reason the STAR method is effective is that it allows you to develop a very complete answer, but keeps your response organized and keeps you from wordy answers.  Rambling is an unfortunate but common occurrence in interviews.

As an example:

Situation—“Product XYZ was losing market share to a new company.”
Task—“I needed to create an innovative solution to regain our lost share.”
Action—“I led our new members to implement initiatives A, B, and C.”
Result—“We regained lost share, plus 10%.”

At this point, you stop answering the question.

For each of your responses, aim to not to go longer than 90 seconds.  If you do go longer than 90 seconds, you may begin to see your interviewer lose focus.  Often, the interviewer will continue asking further questions, inquiring for details related to your story, so you need to be ready for this.  However, if you begin with the basic parts of your story—STAR will help you get there.

For more robust guidance on your MBA application essays, check out the Stacy Blackman Consulting Essay Guide Series – school specific guides with essay tips, sample essays, information on what your target schools value and more. Visit to learn more.

Founded in 2001, Stacy Blackman Consulting has helped thousands of MBA applicants gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world.  The Stacy Blackman team, comprised of MBA graduates, former admissions officers and expert writers, editors and marketers, helps clients develop and implement a winning marketing strategy.  Stacy Blackman clients have a significantly increased probability of admission to top schools and are frequent recipients of merit scholarships.  The company is regularly featured in publications such as BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal and the Economist.   Visit the Stacy Blackman blog for daily news updates and admissions tips, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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3 Responses to Interview Techniques: The STAR Method

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