How to answer interview questions? Be a STAR!

Everyone thinks they know how to answer interview questions. Just tell them how great you are at everything, right? Well, not quite. So, what’s the problem?

Yes, you do want them to know how great you are, BUT making grand statements is not how to answer interview questions. They don’t count for much. Unless of course, you can back them up.

For example which of these two answers would be most effective at showing your ability as a manager?

“I’m a great manager.”

“I grew a team from ten to thirty in the space of three years and was recognised by being awarded manager of the year.”

If you said the first, then shame on you! Anyone can make claims. The second answer is much more effective because it is about results. Positive results are the proof you need to impress the interviewer.

How do you give the employer proof?

The STAR technique is a well known and widely used tool to help with the challenge of how to answer interview questions. It’s perfect for adding credibility to your answers. Here’s how it works.

Situation – what was the scenario/background?

Task – what did you identify needed to be done?

Action – what did you do? Be specific, what did you do as an individual ?(the team are not interviewing with you)

Result – what was the positive action that came about?

Why the STAR technique will work for you

• Provides the all important “proof”

• It guides you towards giving a strong answer

• It helps you frame your experience in a positive manner

• It shows the positive impact of your achievements

• It makes the interviewer picture you performing successfully. This is very powerful because they naturally start to see you performing for them

Here is an example of STAR in action:

Situation – New regulations create pressure for new compliant payroll system for the next financial year

Task - Led a team of 10 developers to develop a new payroll system in 3 months

Action – Project managed the team, oversaw design and development

Result - Produced the new system within timescales and under budget, saving £30,000 on development cost and £100,000 in fines that would have been enforced for non compliance

Now it’s your turn. Remember, it’s the results that get you noticed. You now have a powerful method to help you put together answers that work.

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