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.
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