Behavioral Interviewing and the STAR Method of Answering Interview Questions

About Behavioral Interviewing and the STAR Method

Behavioral Interviewing is a style of interviewing that is becoming more and more popular with organizations in their hiring process. The basic premise is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is understanding past performance in a similar situation. It focuses on experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities that are job related.

The STAR method provides a logical approach to answering questions by describing one of your past successes in responding to the question.

What is STAR

STAR = Situation or Task – Action – Results

Situation or Task
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. from a previous job, volunteer experience or any relevant event. Make sure you describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Give enough detail for the interviewer to understand.

Action you took
Describe 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 achieved
What happened? What was the outcome? What did you learn? Discuss how the task was successful as a result of your action.

How To Use the STAR Method for Behavioral Interviewing

In order to be successful in behavioral interviewing:

1. Wait until the interviewer is finished asking the question, pause and think about the question and your story before answsering the question.

2. Make sure you answer the question completely. If they ask a question with “and why” make sure you explain why.

3. Use examples of situations from your experiences on your resume where you demonstrated desired behaviors.

4. State your answer as a story that you can tell.

5. Be specific and detailed. Make sure the story relates to the question and isn’t too general. 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.

6. Quantify your results. Give specific numbers whenever possible. For example: “I was a supervisor.” could be “As Supervisor, I trained and evaluated 6 employees.”

What To Do With Your Hands and Arms When Networking or On Video

85% of what you communicate is not with words. It’s through the tone of your voice, the way you sit and a wealth of other messages that your body involuntarily sends.

What to do with hands and arms when interviewing or filming a video resume:

  • Clasping your hands is a signal that you are closed off.
  • Putting your palms together with one thumb over the other says that you need reassurance.
  • You should never cross your arms over your chest, since this gives the impression that you are not in agreement, closed off, defensive or insecure.
  • Open hands and showing palms show that nothing is being concealed.

To come across confident, have your hands open and relaxed on the table or at your side. When your body is open, you project trustworthiness and will actually feel more confident. It is ok to use some hand gestures, as long as they’re in sync with what you’re saying, and not too wild.