As behavioral interviewing is increasingly becoming the technique of choice for top companies, it’s getting more and more difficult for candidates to predict questions and prepare answers ahead of time. Using the STAR interviewing technique, the most difficult interview question can easily be broken down into 4 parts: Situation, Task, Action, Result. This allows you to remove the emotions from behavioral interview questions and highlight your overall decision-making skills. We deconstructed a couple different questions that you might encounter during your next interview, and applied the STAR technique to answering them.
Question #1: Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge.
Situation: Provide a backstory.
“We were scheduled to give a presentation on our Risk assessment and strategy to the Board. Just before the meeting, we were experiencing technical difficulties with the slideshow.”
Task: Explain the ultimate goal of the situation.
“It was critical that my team present this information to the board, so I needed to figure out a way to deliver it with or without technology.”
Action: Share the actions you took to resolve the situation.
“I had a copy of the presentation printed out for each member of the Board, as well as my own copy with notes. I presented the information without technology in the moment and emailed a digital copy to the Board members later on.”
Result: What was the end result?
“My team was able to present our Risk assessment and strategy to the board without having to reschedule. An added bonus was that the board members were able to take notes on the printed copies of the presentation.”
Question #2: Why are you looking to make a move from your current position?
“My company has been going through a major restructure and has notified us that layoffs will be eminent.”
“I wanted to be proactive in acquiring a position in which I felt secure so that I can continue to add value, grow my skills, and support my family.”
“I reached out to Carrie Delehanty regarding the IT Security Analyst position I received through JSG’s job alerts. She explained the desired skill set and company culture and I decided it could be a great match, so I submitted my resume and references to her.”
“That has brought me to your organization and I hope to bring my experience to make an immediate impact on your IT Security Team.”
Using the STAR method to answer interview questions gives you the opportunity to give a well-rounded answer without fumbling or over-explaining. In preparation for an interview, I tell all of my candidates to research some typical behavioral interview questions and construct STAR answers. Of course you will almost always be asked a question you aren’t necessarily prepared for, but your practice of the STAR method of answering will stop you from going into panic mode and guide you through a thoughtful response.