Through the course of the interview process, it is highly likely that you will be asked a series of situational based questions in an interview. These questions will help the hiring manager to understand how you may respond to some common scenarios that are likely to happen in the workplace. One of the most successful interview techniques you can use to answer these types of questions is called the STAR technique.
How to prepare for an interview that requires you to use the STAR technique
The best form of preparation for this type of interview question is to read the job description for the role that you applied for. The ‘Key Requirements’ section, usually located towards the end of the job description, will give you an indication of the soft skills you will likely be assessed on during the course of the interview process. If the description is vague, you may also find it useful to read job descriptions for similar jobs for other companies, as the demands of the role are likely to be very similar. After identifying 5 of the most common soft skills that occur, write them down and start to think of examples across your career history and academic studies that you can use to answer the STAR based questions in an interview.
3 examples of the most common STAR technique interview questions
Describe a time when you were under a lot of pressure at work. How did you react?
In my previous job as an Account Executive, one of my co-workers quit immediately after signing the biggest client our company had ever taken on. Although I was already managing a full load of accounts, I was assigned to this new client whilst the company looked for a replacement. I knew the stakes were high and if we lost this deal, then we wouldn’t hit our quarterly goal. I first took some measures to de-stress to ensure I could manage the pressure. Then I carefully evaluated and restructured my task list to make sure I could manage all my duties. Because of this, I was able to make myself completely available to the client and I also sacrificed some evenings and weekends to take calls until the project was delivered. The client was so impressed with my dedication, they immediately signed an annual contract that earned our company £5 million.
Tell me about a mistake you’ve made at work. How did you handle it?
I was working as an Admin Assistant for an events company, and I was responsible for ordering the floral arrangements for a private event hosted by a high profile client. Unfortunately, I mixed up the information from another event, and the flowers were delivered to the wrong venue on the other side of town. I took this very seriously and knew I needed to find a solution quickly as we were working on a tight deadline. After considering a few different ways to resolve the issue, I admitted my mistake to my manager, informed them of my plan and why I thought it was the best course of action. I took an early lunch break, drove to the other venue, picked up the flowers and delivered them to the appropriate venue an hour before the event. The client never knew about my mix-up, and my boss was very grateful.
Can you tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?
It was the first day of my boss’s two-week vacation and our agency’s highest-paying client threatened to leave because he didn’t feel he was getting the personalised service he was promised. I spent my lunch hour on the phone with him talking through his concerns. We even brainstormed ideas for his next campaign. He was so grateful for the personal attention that he signed another 6-month contract before my boss even returned from her trip.
The STAR technique is one of most crucial components to being successful in an interview. Want to know more about how a consultant can provide you with personalised coaching for an interview?
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