September 29, 2010
Helping applicants prepare for their job interview with the STAR technique
STAR is an acronym which stands for Situation - Task - Action - Results. The interviewer asks the candidate to think of a situation that is relevant for the job. Then, the interviewer asks the applicant what his or her task was in that situation (what was expected from the applicant given his or her role). After that, the applicant is asked to describe actions, what he or she specifically did to solve the problem or accomplish the task. Finally, the candidate is asked to describe the results, outcome of his or her actions.
The STAR technique is an interviewing technique is a technique used by interviewers to gather job-relevant information about experiences, skills, styles, and other qualities the applicant has. The strength of the approach is that it enables interviewers to acquire very concrete information about the applicant. A well-prepared interviewer can contribute a lot to a useful interview but so does a well-prepared applicant.
The applicant can prepare well by using the STAR framework to communicate fluently and clearly and in a relevant way. For example, if you, as an applicant are good at negotiating, making decisions and writing proposals, you may prepare with STAR how you can explain in the interview that you're good at these things. For each of these strong points you write down a STAR example. Also, it is wise to have a good look at the job description and the job requirements. You may also use the STAR framework to prepare for each of the job requirements.
For example: Situation: "Recently I was in situation in which I had to do a tough negotiation" (provide more details). Task: "My role was to close a very good deal in such a way that the relationship with our negotiation partners would also remain very good. Actions: "I prepared the negotiation as follows (provide details). In the conversation I (describe what you did that worked). Results: Describe what the outcomes of your efforts were (for example what feedback you got).
Preparing with the STAR framework can be seen as very solution-focused. After all, the solution-focused approach is all about doing what works in specific situations. STAR helps you to develop narratives about what you did in situations that are relevant for the job you are applying for.