STAR Interview Technique

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Our festive top tip is to use the STAR interview technique...


The situation, task, action, result (STAR) interview technique is a way of answering questions at interview that provides candidates with a simple way to ensure they provide all the relevant information to answer the questions posed by an interviewer.

Employers will often use competency-based interviews: that is an interview based around a set of questions, which are common for all candidates, which specifically test their capabilities against a competency framework that is required for the job. Competencies can include things like problem solving, team working, leadership  or conflict management skills.

Here are some examples of the types of questions that can be answered using this approach:

  • “Describe a project where one of your teammates was not pulling his weight / disagreed with your ideas /… What did you do?”
  • “Describe a time when you had to… give feedback / find a creative solution to a problem / reject a customer’s request /…”
  • “Tell me something you are most proud of”

The best way for a candidate to avoid waffling or giving vague, unstructured answers is to use a structured response – and this is where STAR comes in. Structure your answer using the four steps of the STAR technique as follows:

  • SITUATION – Start by describing the situation: What happened? When did it happen? Where were you working at the time? This provides the context for the rest of the answer.
  • TASK – Describe the task: What was required of you in this situation? What needed to be done? Focus on your role.
  • ACTION – Outline your actions: What action did you take? Why? Were there alternatives? Again, focus on your role.
  • RESULT – Summarise the result: What was the outcome of your actions? Quantify if possible. Did you resolve the matter? What did you learn? Have you used this learning since?

A response, detailing a distinct experience, using a clear format enables the candidate to ensure that they demonstrate that they possess the competency being tested by the interviewer. 

Remember a 30 minute interview with say 6 questions means only 5 minutes is available per question – so your answers need to reflect this and be concise.

STAR Interview Technique