Using the STAR Technique for Interviews

Using the STAR Technique for Interviews

When responding to an employer’s question during an interview, the STAR technique can help.

I learned about STAR from my younger sister, Christina. She holds a leadership position with a Fortune-500 company. In that role, Christina oversees hiring for several positions. I asked her what she looks for in a job candidate. She told me that her company uses the “STAR” system. Not knowing what “STAR” meant, I asked her to explain.

After listening to her, I understood. People with felony backgrounds that are looking for jobs may benefit from understanding the STAR system. It’s an acronym:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Activity
  • Result

When a prospective employer asks a question, try to incorporate the STAR technique in your response. For example, your prospective employer may ask you:

  • Describe a time when you had to work on a tight timeline.

By using the STAR technique, you may structure your response as follows:

Situation: Set the context for your story. “I worked as a laborer on a construction site. A cement truck was scheduled to deliver a load in 20 minutes. If we did not have the foundation hole ready for the cement, the cement truck company would charge us $100 for every 10 minutes that it had to wait. The person who was responsible for completing the rebar tying sprained his ankle and was not able to complete his job.

Task: I needed to tie all of the rebar that would secure the foundation.

Activity: I jumped into the hole and I began to tie the rebar. I brought another team member on the construction crew in to help.

Result: We were able to tie the rebar on time so the cement truck could pour the concrete and we saved the company the penalty of having to pay $100 for every 10 minutes of delay time.

Practice the STAR technique and you will make a favorable impression on employers. Show that you think clearly and that you can articulate your thought process. In the example above, the candidate shows how he thinks in terms of the team and getting the job done on time. He is conscious of making the best use of employer resources.

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