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Your Guide to the STAR Interview method – Nigel Benjamin, Recruitment Expert

Having spoken to many, many hiring managers over the years, they have told me that interviews become difficult for candidates once they start to ask behavioural based questions.

Common feedback from hiring managers has been that candidates especially struggle when asked the “tell me about a time…” type of question. These type of questions are popular with hiring managers and their purpose is to let your previous work performance prove what you’re capable of achieving in the future.

A great method for responding to these types of questions is the STAR Method of Behavioural Interviewing. It’s a great technique because it allows you to provide concrete examples of proof that you possess the experience and skills for the job available. And the acronym STAR really helps you remember how to respond when you’re in the middle of a stressful interview! STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Here’s how it works: 

Describe the Situation; give context to your story. What is the event, project, or specific challenge you faced?

Describe the Task you were asked to complete. Give details about this assignment or responsibility you had and include any problems or issues you encountered.

Explain the Action you took to complete the task. Provide character by talking about any creative solutions or problem-solving you did that led you to choose to take this specific action.

R  Explain the Result of your actions. Remember companies want to know what’s in it for them, so the result is a key aspect of this approach! Did you resolve a conflict, save the company time or money, improve a process? And, if possible, relate it back to how you might be able to use it in the role you’re interviewing for.

And this technique can be used throughout the interview, not just for behavioural questions! It’s very useful when reviewing some of the job responsibilities and achievements on your CV, for example.

You’ll likely find this technique most helpful when talking about your work experience from the past, not hypothetical questions about how you might handle something in the present or future. Other behavioural questions where the STAR method is very helpful might start off like:

·        “Tell me about how you…”

·        “Describe a situation where…”

·        “Give me an example of when…”

·        “What do you do if…”

Use STAR to Prepare!

Make sure you memorise what the acronym STAR stands for, and practice sample questions with yourself before your next interview. Use your CV or make a list of some of the accomplishments you’re most proud of and describe them using this method. And think about the kinds of skills that are in the job description, and how you could use the STAR method to show you have those skills too. You may also want to search other examples of behavioural questions online, to help you prepare for your next interview.

If you’re an Engineer considering your next role, and you’d like some help in the job search process, get in touch.


Nigel Benjamin is a recruitment specialist with a desire to engineer the most effective workforces possible. For over 20 years, he has been helping businesses find their perfect hires.

Email Nigel – nigel.benjamin@focusselection.co.uk 

Connect with Nigel on LinkedIn

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