The STAR Method

The STAR method is a tool for answering behavioral questions. The premise of behavioral interviewing is that the best indication of future success is past success. If an employer can understand your past behavior, it will help predict how you will perform on the job. Behavioral interviewing is a form of story-telling, the applicant is asked to describe examples of past behaviors.

Describe the background to the story.

Describe the task or issue at hand.

Give a detailed account of the specific actions you took. The goal here is to demonstrate the behaviors or attributes the question is targeting.

End with the positive result(s) of your actions, quantifying them as much as possible. This proves you not only demonstrated a particular behavior, but that you were able to effect change as a result of it. The only way to prove past success is by results.

Employers typically list the behaviors that are critical to the job in the job announcement. Reviewing the job announcement for dimensions or desired behaviors is the key to preparing for a behavioral interview. Identify the list of behaviors (leadership, strong communication skills, initiative, etc.) and for each behavior think of an example from your background that demonstrates your competence in that behavior. Once you have this example, put it in STAR format and be ready to communicate it effectively.

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