Do you know what job interviews are about?

Most people think that interviews are for checking whether a candidate is qualified for the job.

This is a lie. Interviews are not about determining your qualifications. Companies do not waste their time on interviewing candidates who aren’t qualified for the position.

Interviews are about determining whether you are a good fit for their existing team. And one of the main strategies employers use to establish this is through behavioural questions.

It is a popular interviewing tool to see how an individual responds in a real life situation which provides further insight on the person’s behaviour and personality, and also is a good indication of whether or not the required skills and competencies for the job are present in the candidate.

The way you answer a behavioural question can decide whether you get the job or not. But, fret not. The right way to answer a behavioural question is easy when structured based on the S.T.A.R frame work.

What is the S.T.A.R. framework?

STAR is an interview response technique that can help you in giving concise answers to behavioural questions and ensure you ace your interview.

Simply put, STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

S - Situation - This is used to build a context. Before you start giving any answer you must provide details like where did this take place, mention all the stakeholders involved, what preceded this event and why was the situation the way it was. Essentially any relevant details that the listener must know before you proceed with your story.

T - Task - After the context, comes the specific task that had to be delivered in that situation. So describe what needed to be done along with your specific responsibility in that situation. This could be a target or a deadline or logistics or a consensus or an action point relevant to the situation.

A - Action - Now that we know what your goal was, you should talk about the steps you took to achieve that goal. This is the time to talk about any challenges that you faced in completing the task and how you handled them. Remember to focus on what you did as in your individual contribution rather than that of the larger team and to this end remember to say "I did…" instead of "We did…".

R - Result - You end with talking about the outcome of the actions you took and what they resulted in along with what you learnt from the task. It’s a great idea to mention how you were involved in post-analysis of the task to try and improve efficacy.

Let’s look at a common interview question and see how the STAR framework helps in answering it.

Sample question to test teamwork and time management skills: Tell me about a team project that you worked on under a tight deadline.

Sample answer: Once during my retail stint, an employee left a week before Christmas and I was asked to take over his project of staging the festive window display. I was expected to take inputs from all relevant departments to complete this task. I created a discussion group with the stakeholders, asked for inputs, delegated work, checked on milestones regularly and updated my manager on the progress daily and was able to complete the assignment with a few hours to spare. We received compliments from the marketing team for the display and I personally received an appreciation mail from a team member regarding my ability to collaborate well under pressure.

Now you can see how the STAR framework makes it easier to answer such questions well.

Of course, since you won’t know in advance which questions your interviewer will be asking, you’ll benefit from preparing answers for several behavioural questions.
We can help you with this. In fact we can identify all the questions you will be asked at a particular organisation for a particular role and help you prepare ideal responses for each of these questions. To book an interview training session with a Professionals Australia career coach click here.