Interview Questions and Answers: The STAR technique interview questions

The STAR technique of answering interview questions is the global standard. STAR is an acronym ST: Situation and Task, A: Action, R: Result. This is a structure for your interview answer. Interview questions are answered by compartmentalizing their subjects into this form.

STAR is particularly useful for formulating your own interview answers logically. The STAR approach is extremely effective in helping you make the best of your interview answers.

ST: Situation and Task,

This is literally the subject and the description of what needs to be done.

Example:

The interview question is about problem solving.

Your own interview answer naturally has to start with explaining the situation, being the nature of the problem, and the task, what needs doing to solve it.

A: Action,

The next phase in your interview answer is a description of what actions you took to deal with the problem.

R: Result.

Critically important in all interview answers: Describing the result. In the case of the problem solving question, you're defining the result as a measure of the effect of your solution. The logical sequence of interview answers has to be made clear. You can, literally, fail to answer any interview question, if you leave this section out.

Advantages of the STAR technique for interviewees

The STAR technique is basically a storytelling approach. The STAR technique is pretty much the gold standard for interviewers, too. It's the way interview answers are supposed to be constructed.

Its less obvious uses are equally important to interviewees:

The STAR technique can be used to assess your interview answers, when choosing examples. In the problem solving interview question above, for example, you may have several cases to choose from, but only one that really comes out well. If one of your interview answers sounds or looks wrong to you, it probably won't look too good to the interviewers, either.

The STAR approach is also a way of keeping track of your interview answers and doing some on the spot quality control. You can tell if you're going off topic, because ST: Situation and Task, A: Action, R: Result doesn't leave much scope for going off topic. An ad hoc interview answer, on the other hand, does.

Even if the interview answers aren't too good, the STAR approach makes interview answers easier to assess for interviewers. With unstructured answers, they may have to ask several more interview questions to decipher the answer.

Using the STAR technique in preparation for interviews

You can use this method to think your way through the familiar interview questions. You will have at least some interview questions that you're expecting. Try putting together your interview answers for a few of them using the STAR technique. See how the missing bits, gaps, and other details are suddenly a lot clearer, and you can see them for yourself?

The STAR technique can actually be the key to beating the interview system for those having trouble with their interview answers.