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Star Technique Interview Preparation: How To Answer Interview Questions

Employers are looking for the most superior candidates. Sometimes interviews force us to not be our best selves, but there is a crucial technique you can utilise to smash that interview and rocket your career – the STAR technique.

Competency based questions are about testing the real life applications of the skills you have filled your CV with. This tests your reactions, ability to think on your feet and dives deeper into your past work experience.

Let’s say you get asked ‘When was the last time you showed leadership skills?’. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but there’s a reason for that, it works. Even if you aren’t applying for a leadership role, the employers want to know about your potential as well as your existing skills as you are an investment.

Star technique interview responses:

This is where STAR comes in. Here’s how we would answer that with a hypothetical situation:

Situation – When I was editor at Company/Publication we had multiple printing deadlines to meet in one month which would never usually happen.
Task – We had very little time to do a lot of work, it was doable but it was going to be very challenging to achieve the deadline to a high standard. We had no budget to hire any new staff, so something needed changing.
Activity – I organised the team like never before with new delegations, and positioned everyone in their strongest sector, with different teams to usual so everyone could help out. I took a more creative role within the process to help out rather than delegate from behind a desk.
Result – We hit the deadlines, the content produced was some of our best and the team ended up being a closer unit. The new structure stuck and the teams managed to produce exciting content quicker because of the shake up.

You can also use this technique for more broader questions like ‘What are your strengths?’ to keep your answer focussed and timely. This method is intended for competency questions like the above, however here’s how we would answer that with another example.

S – We were once attending a conference where my manager was speaking on a project we had been working on for months at Company.
T – He fell extremely ill and needed someone to fill in and discuss the project we had been working on.
A – There were a few of us from the team that could have filled in, but I showed initiative and delivered the presentation and was honest with the audience that we were a manager down.
R – The presentation went smoothly, his slides had accompanying notes that I could follow, and it showed me that my strengths were knowing how to use initiative, handle pressure, speak in public and to take mishaps in their stride.

Obviously this method is a long winded way of answering the question, however, it does structure responses and helps especially if you are suffering from interview nerves. Don’t be afraid to show your personality in these questions, if you found the situation intimidating at first but the result was still positive, tell them, it shows progression and adaptability.

It is best practice not to answer every question using the STAR technique as you can appear robotic, and potentially offer too much information. Keep things concise and be yourself, remember that getting the interview is the hard part.

At Distinct, we will do our upmost to ensure that you are fully prepared for your job interview. Please get in touch with us if you need any advice or support in your job search. 

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