How to answer interview questions using the STAR technique

April 30 2019 , 0 Comments

Interview star

Interview questions can be a nightmare, especially when all you can think of is tumbleweed floating through your head.

No need to worry, here we will share with you the STAR method to answer those questions with ease.


What is the STAR Technique?

STAR stands for: Situation, Task, Approach and Results. This technique works best when being asked a competency question like “tell me a time you overcame a challenge at work”. An open-ended question like this can baffle a student, however, if you follow the steps you can form a cohesive answer.


This is simply ‘setting the situation’, so provide the interviewer with a little background information of when and where the challenge happened.


Now the setting has been set you can explain the task or challenge at hand. This is the opportunity to tell the interviewer what challenges you were up against and how crucial the task was for completion.


You can now share how you approached the task. Be sure to include others (if you can) as this demonstrates teamwork. Use a systematic approach and outline the steps you took to successfully resolve the challenge. Throughout your answer, integrate any relevant skills you feel are necessary for the job.


Now it’s time to shine. This is the opportunity to say how your approach resulted in a positive outcome!

You now understand the basics, so let’s go through a quick example of what a STAR answer looks like.

Describe a situation where you solved a problem”


At Running Shoe LTD I worked as a Sales Assistant and my main responsibility was to help customers through the journey of picking a pair of suitable running trainers. Due to our high quality and prices it was essential we provided accurate and high levels of customer service.


One day, a customer came in infuriated that a previous colleague had sold her the incorrect shoes and caused a sports injury. It also didn’t help that she had paid over £100 for the pair. She was visibly angry and customers around were starting to feel uncomfortable.


Staying calm and collected, I approached the customer and offered my apologies for the service she had received. Instead of raising my voice, I calmly asked her to explain what had happened and why she was offered those particular shoes. I described to her the reason why the previous colleague had recommended those ones, as it is important never to explicitly blame your co-workers. Starting to calm down, I provided her with additional recommendations on trainers that are suited for her requirements. Unfortunately, we were unable to offer a full-refund, but I spoke with my Manager to ask if I could give a discount.


After speaking with the team and having the discount approved, the customer became very thankful and appreciative of the service. She purchased the trainers and left feeling happy!

Something to consider...

  • When using the STAR technique, try to keep it natural. Remember, it’s important that the answer flows.
  • Read the job description beforehand and know what skills they are looking for. It is most likely the questions will be based on this.
  • Prepare! Go through a friend some mock questions using the STAR method.

And there you have it, by following these simple steps can help put you on the track to success!

This article was written by StudentJob, offering students part time, internships and graduate positions. Need help with application tips? Head over now to find out more!

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