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A candidate at an interview demonstrating the STAR interview technique

Have You Heard of the STAR Technique?

Written By MK Career Solutions
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Have You Heard of the STAR Technique? It’s What’s Standing Between You and Your Dream Job

Everyone has big ideas about securing their ideal job and kick starting their dream career, but this relies on you managing to secure the right role for you. It’s not simply a case of applying to your dream company to work for and hoping for the best, as there are a million other candidates out there who are all trying to do the same thing. This is why standing out in an interview and showcasing your talent is key. Thankfully, this is where the STAR technique comes in.

What is the STAR Interview Technique?

There are a lot of things that go into a job interview, but most interviewers will endeavour to find out how you would behave in a certain situation. They do this by asking you behavioural questions, which are aimed at finding out more about your workplace experience, and they are looking for a ‘story’ style answer in response. The STAR interview technique will help you to answer these questions in a way that details what happened, explains how you reacted and highlights your strengths. The STAR technique will also help you to showcase the results – such as increased sales, a solved problem or a boost in productivity – based on how you behaved in the situation.

How to Use the STAR Technique to Get Your Dream Job

The STAR technique is made up of four steps; Situation, Task, Action and Result. When you are utilising the STAR technique, you will need to: describe the Situation, explain the Task ahead, tell the interviewer what Action you took and detail the end Result.

  •  Situation – This is the part of the STAR technique where you set the scene of the task and give a little bit of background. You should provide details of the project, who you were working with and what the problem was.
  • Task – This is the part of the STAR technique where you explain your role within the situation, making sure to highlight what you did. Instead of focusing on the team’s efforts, focus on your specific task.
  • Action – On this part of the STAR technique, you should detail how you handled a problem and overcame the hurdles in front of you. It’s important to highlight whether you did this solo or as part of a team, as well as letting the interviewer know that you were able to correctly assess and respond to a problem.
  • Result – The final part of the STAR technique is where you detail the positive outcome of your actions and how the problem was solved. It’s also a good idea to mention anything that you learned from the experience. You could detail how sales increased by a certain percentage thanks to your Action; giving a statistic helps the interviewer to quantify just how much of an impact you had.

Of course, the STAR technique alone won’t guarantee that you land your dream job. But, it does put you in a good position to do your very best in an interview setting. It’s the ideal way to prepare yourself for otherwise challenging questions.

Tips for Answering STAR Technique Questions

If you are getting to grips with the STAR technique for the first time, you might be feeling overwhelmed and unsure about how to approach things. Luckily, there are a lot of things that you can do to help you to prepare. Below, we have listed some of the key things to do when you are using the STAR technique in your dream job interview.

  • Before going to the interview, make a mental note of situations where you have had to demonstrate skills that are relevant to the job you want. Think about the type of things the interviewer will be looking for – many of these will be listed on the job posting itself – and think of examples that show your capabilities.
  • When you are answering a question, think of your answer as a story. This means it should have a beginning, middle and an end. Instead of rambling and throwing key details at the interviewer, work your way through Situation, Task, Action and Result. This will help to stop you from waffling.
  • Though you are likely to feel pressured to land your ideal job, it’s not a good idea to embellish or exaggerate a story. The interviewer will have interviewed a lot of candidates over the years, and they will be able to tell if you are overstating your experience. With the STAR technique, it’s always best to be upfront and honest in your answers.
  • You should have a number of different situations to talk about, otherwise you might end up talking about the same one for multiple answers. Being able to detail different situations gives you a better chance of highlighting an array of skills relevant to your dream job. Plus, it creates a much more interesting interview experience for both you and the interviewer.
  • A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that the STAR interview technique means focusing on positive experiences at work, those that had an impressive outcome. However, that is not always the case. When you are interviewing for your dream job you can highlight your capabilities and competencies, even if the situation was not resolved in the way that you would have liked. As long as it reflects well on you, the situation is worth sharing.
As you can see, the STAR interview technique plays an important part in helping you to secure your dream job.

Whether you have a dream company that you would like to work for, or a specific role that you are keen to try, the STAR technique can help you to stand out from other candidates. Not only does it help you to clearly showcase your skills and experience in a way that’s relevant to the industry, it also shows the interviewer that you are a prepared interviewee.

Want to know more about how a career coach can help you with the STAR technique? We would love to hear from you.


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