Star Method of Interviewing: How Recruiters Can Make the Most of it

star method of interviewing

Posted by IntroMagic Team on December 28th, 2021

Everyone in HR circles is talking about the STAR method of interviewing these days because it effectively places applicants in situations that allow them to create a captivating narrative that links  their job experience to answer behavioral questions. 

It aids in the transition of the interaction from a simple question-and-answer style to something more engaging. Typically, the applicant will begin with an anecdote that precisely resonates with interviewers. 

Star is one of the frameworks that may assist in determining how well a candidate fits into a job without requiring excessive rambling. So why is it mostly talked about? 

The average interview-to-offer rate is 42.1% but it doesn’t automatically mean you’ve hired a qualified applicant. The STAR method of interviewing comes into play here. It can help determine if applicants will handle specific job-related challenges by assessing quality examples of their approach in the past.

What is the STAR Interviewing Technique

The STAR method is a structured interview process that can be used to get the most from behavioral questions—ones that prompt candidates to provide real-life examples of how they handled a specific situation at the workplace in the past. 

The term STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It gives a straightforward framework for responding to behavioral interview questions. 

what is star method of interview

The response of STAR method interview caters in the following form:

  • Situation (S): Describe a situation, task, or background first. 
  • Task (T): Talk about the responsibilities or tasks that you, as a candidate, had to complete (highlighting the challenges of a certain task).
  • Action (A): What measures were taken to overcome a challenging situation. Candidates describe the steps and the process they took.
  • Results (R): What were the outcomes of the candidate’s action in that situation. It’s great to have hard data or numbers to back this up. (Example: By what percentage did you boost the overall sales?).

Star Interviewing Technique: How it Works

Employers use the star method of interviewing to evaluate the traits and abilities of high-level workers. 

So the question is how to use the star technique for vetting candidates? 

One method to overcome the difficulty of recruiting outstanding people for your team is to investigate their competencies and motivations during the interview stage extensively.

Exploring their prior work elicits frank replies while also testing their capacity to abstract, condense, and connect instances and approaches, indicating their depth of understanding and learning from experience. All of these skills are required for any position involving change management.

Use the STAR paradigm, you may investigate specific experiences and guide applicants via a systematic process to connect them with you.

1. Situation

Inquire about a concrete example of anything they’ve dealt with, complete with circumstances like where and when? 

The STAR method examples include:

  • “Tell me about a moment when you had to cope with…”
  • “Could you give me an example of a circumstance in which…”

2. Task

What went wrong? What steps did they take to get there? This is one of the things that you should look into when assessing an applicant. Doing so helps you identify the areas of concern that had to be addressed to improve the situation. This will also reveal the traits that made the applicant stand out.

3. Action

“Can you explain to me what you did?” and “How did you pull it off?” are two excellent examples to assess the action. 

It’s also good to inquire as to why they picked a particular technique. It helps you put their technical talents to the test and you have the option to ask for clarification. 

Another question to consider is if any choices were ruled out, and if so, why. When a candidate is confronted with an unexpected problem, these questions might provide an unseen window into their thoughts.

4. Results

How did it turn out? This question can reveal a lot about their attitudes and abilities. In addition to offering a magnified picture of the candidate’s aptitude and evaluative abilities, the answer might simply reflect the candidate’s quantitative and qualitative advances.

How Does the Star Method Work?

Ask questions to discover how each candidate will perform in the job so you can evaluate them fairly. To get those insights, you might employ the STAR method, which is a behavioral interviewing approach. 

The STAR technique of interviewing encourages applicants to give a linear tale. Interviewers can detect a sense of judgment in the candidate based on this tale that may not be apparent in more generic skill-based interview questions. 

While the star method isn’t supposed to be confrontational, it has an element of surprise that demands candidates’ aptitude and outlook. 

Instead of asking, “What is your worst flaw?” a suitable STAR question would be, “Give an example of an objective you didn’t accomplish and how you dealt with it.”

Star Method Questions and Answers

The following is a list of frequently often asked STAR interview questions. Although you should customize them to the individual position and applicant, you may use them as a starting point:

star method questions and answers

1. Measuring canniness

  • These questions might offer you more substantial knowledge about a candidate’s reasoning and how they make judgments in tricky situations. 
  • Describe a situation when a trusted co-worker harmed or ruined a project, and how you justified the setback to the project leader.
  • Tell me about a challenging commitment you’ve made previously.
  • Explain a time when you strove beyond
  • Tell me about an instance when you were expected to complete several critical projects and how you prioritize them.
  • Can you vividly recall receiving contradictory feedback on a project? How did you respond to this feedback?

2. Coping with stressors

These questions will help determine how skillfully a candidate behaves under a wide assortment of stressful events.

  • Tell me about a situation when you had to swiftly learn things you weren’t aware of.
  • Was there a controversial choice you made and how did you address your execution?
  • Describe a grueling work scenario and how you tackled it.
  • Tell me about a direct experience where you’ve had to deal with an irate customer.
  • Tell me if you’ve disagreed with a supervisor and how you resolved the dispute.

3. Persuasive skills

These questions can also indicate a candidate’s confidence in their abilities and willingness to take on leadership roles when given little or no instruction.

  • Can you explain how you took the reins in a situation and led the team?
  • You mentioned that one of your key assets is leadership. How were you able to demonstrate your leadership skills?
  • When you successfully delegated a mission to others what were your thoughts?
  • What words did you use to convey your thoughts when you had to break a bad review to a coworker?
  • Describe an instance when an immediate report or a team you oversaw was assigned to work on other assignments without your approval.

4. Open-eyed approach

The questions might reveal a candidate’s awareness of their shortcomings, strengths, and weaknesses.

  • Tell me about a time when a project didn’t make its schedule and also how you dealt with the repercussions.
  • Tell me how you dealt successfully with a colleague who didn’t like you personally.
  • Describe a time when you strived and yet failed to achieve something.
  • Tell me if you were chastised for a job and how you overcame a difficult situation.
  • Explain to me how you made your position or viewpoint apparent to co-workers when you didn’t feel heard.

Tips to Use the Star Method Effectively

There are four stages you must follow to properly include STAR questions into your interview approach. So these are the only tips you’ll need to know for successfully vetting interviewees: 

1. Create a list of STAR questions tailored to each position

A good starting point is to gather a list of questions that are relevant to the candidate’s background and abilities. Once you’ve compiled the list, customize it according to the job’s requirements.

Coordinate the sentence with an ambiguous title or a work experience that dates back a few years. It could also lead the candidate to describe a specific project from his or her most recent job.

STAR interviews are designed to ask situational questions that require detailed responses. For instance, if you’re looking for an adaptable candidate, you might ask how someone put their needs aside to help a co-worker. The spontaneous questions would challenge applicants to recall a typical occurrence in their field of employment.

2. Let candidates have a hint of what you want to see in their response

Some recruiters prefer to avoid asking direct questions to ensure that the applicant is comfortable with the topic and the conversational style. 

They’re eager to see how the interviewee handles the situation which is thrown at them out of context. Some hirers believe that being ambiguous has a benefit: at the very least, it’ll be easier to elicit a frank response from applicants. 

During behavioral interviews, experts usually start by asking questions about the candidates’ previous work experience and how they handled various situations. This helps them gain a deeper understanding of the people they’re interviewing. 

By focusing on concrete instances like people and processes, and results, they can collect substantial evidence of their capability to handle situations they are unfamiliar with. Being spontaneous not only allows a candidate to expand on their responses, but it also allows them to ponder on circumstances that may happen in the workplace. 

However, not clearly explaining what you’re looking for in the first paragraph can lead to an incomplete response. Also, failing to provide the exact details can confuse the applicant. 

If the response doesn’t meet your expectations, ask the candidate to provide a more detailed explanation. You might also want to give her the chance to revise it. This is something that is commonly seen in the Star interview method.

3. Prepare questions in advance to sound relevant

STAR interview questions are usually used to evaluate a prospective employee’s qualities. They can also help gather additional information that’s not on the resume. 

If your candidate’s qualities are in the grey area, the Star technique sheds light as you get to ask about specific instances like “You probably used various methods to convince someone to accept an idea or concept. If so, how did you succeed in persuading them? What was the outcome?”

You should know what to look for when you ask a STAR question. Instead of focusing on the candidate’s answer, ask for something that will make him or her stand out. 

Pay close attention to how a candidate asserts reasons and presents evidence to support their position. It demonstrates qualities that businesses are looking for within leaders and thinkers.

More importantly, observe how the candidate exhibited — or failed in showing those traits, regardless of the context. They’re more significant than the outcome of the problem.

If the résumé doesn’t list analytical talents, consider what’s missing from the candidate’s answer when asked STAR questions. Also, make sure that the candidate’s answer includes any of the concepts that were presented in response.

For instance, if the job description describes innovation as a process or product that can improve the efficiency of a company, then ask a question about creativity. Meanwhile, try to determine what information you want from them.

4. Be observant and flexible while phrasing questions

Each candidate’s life and work experiences are vastly varied, resulting in unique and often surprising responses to STAR behavioral interview questions. Having an open mind is very important to finding the right people for the job. 

It’s not about being rigid or limiting what people can and cannot bring to the table. It’s important to avoid making bad assumptions about the interviewee even if they responded differently to your expectation. 

Use the STAR interview questions sparingly and intelligently. A rapid-fire questionnaire will confuse both the interviewer and the prospective employee. Instead, ask questions that are most likely to get both parties involved. 

A good start is to blend behavioral interview questions with more traditional structured interviews. It gives enough time for an applicant to limber up with a few conventional questions before moving on to the STAR behavioral questions.

The Star Method is the Next Dimension of Quality Interviews

Use these STAR interview questions to help prepare for your next interview. They’re designed to give the job candidates plenty of chances to show how helpful they can be for the firm to prosper. Behavioral interviewing techniques should, hopefully, assist you in having frank, incisive, and productive dialogues with job candidates. 

Let me also introduce you to Intromagic now that you’ve made it this far. It is a platform for job searchers to stand out in a sea of sardines via online interviews because finding the best fish can be difficult in traditional ways. 

Intromagic’s special feature allows you to film interviews quickly and publish your video CV with only one click. What a fantastic idea! There will be no more formatting headaches, significant preparation, or dim illumination. Intromagic, as an AI SaaS platform, is Goldilocks’ perfect.

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IntroMagic is a company started with the mission of enabling every candidate to find their dream role by putting their best face forward. We also aim to help recruiters find the best candidate by enabling acceptance of professional video introductions that complement the traditional resume.