How to use the STAR method for interviews

how to use the STAR method for interviews

How to use the STAR method for interviews

You might have heard of the STAR method, but do you know how to use the STAR method for interviews?

The STAR method is designed for job seekers at the interview stage. It’s a technique that helps you give concise answers that highlight your accomplishments and best demonstrate why you’re the right candidate for the job.

It’s an invaluable tool, especially in preparation for an interview that could otherwise be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience.

Here we’ll address how to use the STAR method for interviews.


What is the STAR method?


STAR is an acronym that helps you structure your response to a question. It stands for:

    • S – Situation – Provide context and set the scene.
    • T – Task – Describe what needed to be done and why.
    • A – Action – Explain your response, highlighting teamwork or leadership.
    • R – Result – Describe the outcome, highlighting achievements.


How to use the STAR method for interviews


The STAR method is particularly useful for competency-based or behavioural questions where you can provide proof that you possess the skills and/or experience for the job.

Examples of these types of questions include:


        1. Tell me when you performed well at work while under immense pressure.
        2. Can you share a time when you made a mistake at work and how you handled it?
        3. Can you provide an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to achieve it?


Looking at the first example question, let’s look at how to use the STAR method to respond:


    • Situation – Advertising revenue in my department was falling, and our team was aware that if profits did not increase, we were at risk of some redundancies being made.


    • Task – My goal was to raise revenue by 10 per cent in a four-month period. I intended to reach this goal by offering new incentives and trialling a new attraction strategy. I set out to prove that if we invested in this new approach, we could continue to raise revenue year-long.


    • Action – I completed market research to understand the incentives our competitors were offering. I created a new incentive packet for circulation and then set up a meeting with a consultant to understand how we could rework our attraction strategies. I rolled out this new plan with the support of my team.


    • Result – We were able to attract five new partners, which increased our profit margin by 7 per cent in four months. While I did not reach my ambitious goal, I was able to prove a new investment strategy for the department which we rolled out. By year-end, we saw a 20 per cent increase in advertising revenue.



General tips for the STAR method


    • Tell the story with a clear beginning, middle and end.
    • Be honest, even if you did not completely reach the goal you identified, ensure the story has a positive reflection on you.
    • Be specific in your retelling of the story.
    • Vary the examples you draw from. For instance, don’t use examples from one job position or employer.


Visual aids to help prepare


Use the following templates to help organise potential answers using the STAR method:


Do you still need help working out how to use the STAR method for interviews? Reach out to the MCR team.

Related: 10 tips for successfully starting a new job, Three tips to look after your mental health as a casual employee, Job interview tips: Make an impression