Using the STAR Method for Job Interview SuccessPublié le 21 November 2019
Job interviews can be stressful! After updating your resume, writing a unique cover letter, even taking a psychometric test as part of the application progress, having to answer in-depth questions about your work history and professional experience is still difficult. When a hiring manager switches topics and starts to ask behavioural questions, your answers can have an enormous impact on your chances of receiving a job offer. With over half of hiring managers conducting behavioral-based job interviews for positions at every level of a business, it is something that you as a job seeker need to prepare for. This is the perfect moment to employ the STAR Method for job interview success.
What is the STAR Method?
The STAR Method is a way to provide clear and informative answers to questions in job interviews that relate to your behaviour and working style. A hiring manager is often looking beyond what is found on your resume in order to determine how your personality fits with the demands of an available job. To do so, they will likely present you with a hypothetical situation and ask how you would respond, or simply ask you to describe a similar event in your work history.
“Tell me about a time when you exceed expectations and how you accomplished it?”
Instead of scrambling to think of an answer that presents you in the best light, without coming across as panicky, nervous or ill-prepared, use the STAR method.
Situation: Provide background information and any relevant details
Task: Describe your role, duties and responsibilities in this situation
Action: Go into greater detail about the exact steps you took
Result: Detail the outcome, including any statistics that support your actions
In order to answer this question, let’s break down each component and see how you can use the STAR method for job interview success:
You first need to provide the hiring manager with background information, including your job title, for whom you were working, what your regular job duties entailed and anything else that is important. This is so that the hiring manager will understand the full context of the situation.
“When employed by EastWest Tech Solutions as a Business Development Agent, my coworkers and I were each assigned a specific industry that we were to target. We did this through specific marketing projects, ad targeting and expanding relations with existing clients. I was in charge of increasing sales to recruitment agencies in Ontario.”
Describe your duties and responsibilities in this situation. Based on your job role, inform the hiring manager what the expectations were regarding the task. Make sure they understand what it meant to successfully complete the assignment. Be as specific as you can when describing that task and the expected outcome, and include figures and numbers if possible. This will allow for an easy comparison when you later describe the outcome of your work assignment.
“We had specific quotas we were expected to reach. My task was to increase sales by enlarging our client base by at least 30% at the end of the financial year, while also re-signing at least half of my existing clients to contract renewals and extensions.”
Detail all the steps you took to gather information, design your action plan, and execute it to completion. A hiring manager wants to see that you were aware of the resources you had at your disposal and how you maximized their effectiveness. This thought process is part of the soft skills that you will bring to a job. In a 2019 survey, 92% of hiring managers stated that soft skills were just as important as hard skills, but they are more difficult to explain in the limited format of a resume. A job interview is a great opportunity to demonstrate how you can put your soft skills to use when tackling a large project. Always strive to show how you applied creative and original thinking when creating your action plan.
“I first contacted existing clients who had indicated they were extremely pleased with their results with our company. I scheduled time to speak with them, and asked about the specific components of our services that they found most beneficial. This gave me valuable information that impacted how I shaped outreach to similar potential customers while, at time same time, giving me the chance to discuss the benefits of early renewal with existing clients. With this firsthand knowledge, I advertised these specific services to prospective customers through marketing materials and in my direct communications with them, supported by testimonials and hard statistics provided by existing clients.”
Tell the hiring manager about the results of your assignment. It is best to include a combination of hard figures and intangible results, because both are important to the continued success of a business. Hard figures are numbers and figures that quantify the results, while intangible results include client relationships that you have formed and important information you have learned, which does not have an exact financial value but it extremely beneficial to a business.
“After putting this action plan into motion, I was able to achieve a client renewal rate of 65%, and an increased sales rate of 50% by the end of the financial year. Additionally, I was able to learn more about the exact needs of clients in the industry I was servicing, making further marketing and outreach projects much more effective. Many new clients remarked how impressed they were that I was able to anticipate many of their needs and demonstrate how our products could provide solutions. In the end, my clients were happy with our products and my supervisors took special note of my results in our annual reviews, asking me to help train new employees to use similar methods.”
An Answer Blueprint
By using the STAR Method when facing questions in a job interview, it provides you with a blueprint to respond with a complete and thoughtful answer. It lays out important information that describes your working style and thought process, and details how you were able to use all the resources at your disposal to gain the information needed to accomplish your goals. You should always strive to be as straight-forward and concise as possible with your answers, as 63% of hiring managers state that rambling during a job interview could cost you the job. By sticking to this format, it provides a strong outline that will help you organize your thoughts, explain the process in a clear and logical way, all while reducing the chance that you will panic while trying to think of the right answer.
It is important for hiring managers to ask questions relating to your thought process and behaviour when approaching work projects. While they can be stressful, job seekers should think of it as an opportunity to expand beyond the facts and figures listed in a resume. By providing an organized and in-depth explanation of your past professional accomplishments using the STAR Method, it will be easy for a hiring manager to see how you will do the same in a new job role.