So, I use to have the biggest fear of interview questions and have had a lot of bad and good experiences answering them. This STAR method is useful for internship interviews (as well as any other interviews) where you are asked a lot of situational questions. So during one of my internship interviews I was introduced to the STAR method. This method helps answer questions directly and not go on tangents. It allows you to show off your skills and character. Some things to remember when using the STAR method is to show enthusiasm and enunciate. Keep it under two minutes and it does not have to be a work experience, as long as it describes a relevant skill or behavior.
So what is the star method?
S – Situation, background set the scene
T – Task or Target, specifics of what’s required, when, where, who
A – Action, what you did, skills used, behaviours, characteristics
R – Result – Outcome, what happened
How to use it…
Question: Have you ever lead a team before?
This is another reason why the STAR method is so powerful. The above question is a terrible closed question. You could answer “yes” or “
no” and move quickly onto the next question. But Leadership is an important skill, and you must not miss this chance to shine. A lot of folks would give the easy answer here, but you have a great chance to impress, and basically do all the interviewers work for them.
So here is how I would answer this question.
(Situation) “Yes; a relevant example being at my last company, where I was initially a software developer, In a team of 6 developing a new statistics module for our process development department.”
(Task) “The project was critical as launch dates had been set with a lot of other departments and contract investors riding on the product being ready. However the project was behind schedule, when our team leader unfortunately became ill, and had to leave.”
(Action) “I had been dance team captain at school, where I loved the challenge and responsibility of leadership. So I volunteered to stand in, and by using my technical analysis skills, spotted a few small mistakes made in the initial coding, that were causing the sporadic errors, and slowing us down. I then negotiated with our team supervisor for a small bonus incentive for the team, and budget for two pizza evenings, so we could pull a couple of late night shifts to correct the coding and catch up with the critical project landmarks.”
(Result) “Though this took us 1.5% over budget the software was delivered on time with a better than target fault tolerance. The project was seen as a great success as the additional project cost was minimal compared to the costs of delaying the launch, and the negative affect on our product branding. The team was delighted with the extra bonus and I had been promoted to team supervisor as a result.”
I suggest practicing your answers out loud, to ensure it’s continuity and that you don’t go over 2 minutes.
My answer above not only answers the leadership question asked, but also conveys that you have other skills and behaviors any interviewer would be interested in.
Answering tough interview questions like this will work wonders, but answering poorly worded questions will really set you apart.
Hopefully this help? Comment or ask any interview questions you may have a hard time answering.