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The STAR Method

Updated: Aug 20, 2018

So now we know that telling a compelling story which engages the interviewer's heart and mind is the way to interview success, how do you do this when most of us aren't natural storytellers?

STAR Method

One proven option is to use the STAR method which enables you to structure your answers in a "story-like" format.

Listeners will remember more of what you said and you'll feel more confident being able to relay the information you want to get across because you're telling a "story".

So what is the STAR Method?

STAR stands for:-

S – Situation or background i.e you're setting the scene for your example T – Task or Target i.e what were you required to do (where, who was involved) A – Action i.e what you did (always use I not we), skills and behaviours used R – Result i.e what was the outcome, what happened?

Your STAR story should be about a real experience, ideally be no longer than 2 minutes and always delivered with enthusiasm and energy.

Here’s an example..

Question “Can you give an example of a time you unexpectedly had to take up a leadership role"?


(Situation) “Yes; a relevant example being at my last company, where I was initially a software developer, in a team of 6 developing a new finance module for our core accounting product.” (Task) “The project was critical as launch dates had been set with a lot of sales and marketing investment riding on the product being ready. However, the project fell behind schedule when our team leader unfortunately became ill and had to leave.”

(Action) “I had been sports team captain previously, where I loved the challenge and responsibility of leadership, so I volunteered to stand in. By using my technical analysis skills, I spotted a few small mistakes made in the initial coding that were causing the sporadic errors and slowing us down. I negotiated with our product director a small bonus incentive for the team and budget for two pizza evenings so we could pull a couple of late night shifts to correct the coding and catch up with the critical project landmarks.”

(Result) “Though this took us 1.5% over budget, the software was delivered on time with a better than target fault tolerance. The project was seen as a great success, as the additional project cost was minimal compared to the costs of delaying the launch and the negative affect on our product branding. The team were delighted with the extra bonus and I have now been officially promoted to team leader as a result.”

Practice makes perfect

It's essential to do this before any interview, so ask someone to act as interviewer and practice, practice, practice telling your stories out loud!

Our next Blog gives some interview question examples that you can use to practice your storytelling. If you feel you need help or someone to bounce your stories off, give us a call on 09 972 0200 to discuss how we can help.

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