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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Behavioral Interviewing and the STAR Method

Behavioral Interviewing and the STAR Method
Behavioral Interviewing is a style of interviewing that more and more organizations are using in their hiring process.  The basic premise is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.   It focuses on experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities that are job related.
The STAR method simply provides a logical approach to answering questions by providing a guided approach to using one of your past successes in responding to the question.
What is STAR
STAR = Situation or Task - Action - Results
Situation or
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand.   This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
Action you tookDescribe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the efforts of the team.   Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did.
Results you achievedWhat happened?   How did the event end?   What did you accomplish?   What did you learn?
How to Use the STAR Method
In order to be successful in behavioral interviewing:
  • identify two or three of your top selling points and determine how you will convey these points (with demonstrated STAR stories) during the interview
  • Wait until the interviewer is finished asking the question, pause, and contemplate your answer.
  • Make sure you answer the question completely.
  • Identify examples of situations from your experiences on your resume where you have demonstrated desired behaviors.
  • Frame your answer as a story that you can tell.
  • Be specific and detailed. Tell them about a particular situation that relates to the question, not a general one.   Briefly tell them about the situation, what you did specifically, and the positive result or outcome.   Your answer should contain these four steps Situation, Task, Action, Result or "STAR") for optimum success.
  • Whenever you can, quantify your results.   Numbers illustrate your level of authority and responsibility.   For example: "I was a shift supervisor." could be "As Shift Supervisor, I trained and evaluated 4 employees."
Example of a STAR Answer
During my internship last summer, I was responsible for managing various events.
I noticed that attendance at these events had dropped by 30% over the past 3 years and wanted to do something to improve these numbers.
I designed a new promotional packet to go out to the local community businesses.   I also included a rating sheet to collect feedback on our events and organized internal round table discussions to raise awareness of the issue with our employees.
We utilized some of the wonderful ideas we received from the community, made our internal systems more efficient and visible and raised attendance by 18% the first year.

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