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Use the STAR Job Interview Response Technique

STAR Behavior Job Interview- Situation, Task, Action, Result.

This strategy is designed to help candidates successfully manage the behavior job interview. Competency-focused questions start with specific phrases such as “Tell about a time when…” and “Share an example where…”.

This is the one part of a job interview where you are expected to pre-formulate your answers and practice before the job interview.

Examples of behavioral interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time you needed to complete a project under a tight deadline.
  2. Have you ever given extra to a project?
  3. A team member refuses to complete his or her task. How did you handle it?


Here are some ways you can ‘show’ ‘how’ you dealt with situations in a job interview.

The interviewer doesn’t want to know what you did. They want you to explain ‘how’ you accomplished the task. Did you follow a strategy? Did you take other people’s needs into account? Do you know what the labor laws are? What software are you proficient at?

Step #1 Before the job interview. Make a list of the skills the job posting listed as important to this job. Shape your answers around these skills. Match your skills and qualifications to these. Be careful when you write out your list. First, it needs to be relevant. Don’t stretch the truth. Second, you need to be able to easily offer ‘specific’ information to explain.

Example of vague: I was project manager who chose and worked on a team tasked to redesign the restaurant. We chose a psychologist and a marketing professional to try and create a relaxing ambiance. I finalized the colors, designs, and delegated the purchase of furniture, carpets, and signs.

I presented the final presentation to the general manager for approval. I was also in charge of hiring the contractors.

Example of a behavior interview STAR response: Sales dipped 18% in the last three months. The General manager asked me to be project manger for a redesign. The goal was to increase sales.

The first task was to identify the causes of the dip in sales. I also needed to make sure the staff would not sabotage the project. I created an ‘open project’ style to find out whether the problem was staff related, quality related, or there was another problem. I gave everyone a two week deadline to suggest changes, and then collected and sorted the data.

The data suggested that staff felt rushed trying to keep up with the dinner staff. Wait times for a table were too long. By 8 or 9 o’clock at night both staff, and patrons were frustrated. I booked a 2 hour consult with a restaurant design expert and learned that more tables was not the answer. Instead, we determined that more tables would increase staff stress. Instead, we determined that adding a bar and ‘snack’ lounge would pull some people away from tables and give them something to do while waiting.

I created a projection offering 2 or 3 alternatives. I chose Workflow software instead of project management software. Chose a team of 5 people with different skill sets……

You can see the difference. This person is outlining specific tasks that they did. They did not touch on anything that was someone else’s responsibility, even if it was directly related to the task they were responsible for. I worked with 2 advertising agencies to design a ‘reopening’ campaign targeting people who wanted a relaxing evening to ‘get away.’

Over the next few weeks sales surged. In a six month span the patronage increased 12%. However, most of these customers purchased higher priced items. I suggested listing good wines, which increased sales by 3%. A review at 6 months, and 12 months showed an increase in clientele by 12.3%, but sales increased 22%. The kitchen, and floor staff were not working as hard, and the investors saw a 4% increase in profits.

STAR Behavior Job Interview

There are many ways that STAR can be translated. Remember that this is a behavior assessment. The job interview panel wants to hear how you would handle the situation. What would you feel is relevant? What skills do you want to highlight, and what do you consider the ‘right answer’ to the question.


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