When interviewing for a new job, being able to tell a story is a valuable skill to have. When asked to “tell about a time when…” it’s useful to know how to give concise answers that nevertheless get all the necessary elements across in an easy-to-follow way. That’s where the STAR method comes in: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. How can you utilize this method to best present your stories to the interviews? Here we have a breakdown of each section, and how the model can help hone your answers to be as strong as possible.
First of all, you’ll want to spend a small amount of time setting the scene. Put the story you’re sharing into context to give your interviewer more information on the circumstances. Did you have conflict with a certain coworker? Did your company have a new user signup goal they were trying to meet? There’s no need to go into too much detail here — they only need a bit of background to guide them into the more important aspects of the story.
Next, you’ll insert a couple points to describe how you fit into this story. Maybe you and the coworker with whom you had conflict were placed on a project together. Or perhaps you were given an important task that would help the company meet its new goal. After all, the listener will need to know what your responsibilities were, before they can understand how you addressed them.
Now, we’ve gotten to the most important parts of the story. Once you’ve outlined the scene and how you fit into it, it’s time to talk about the actions you took in order to carry out your role. Did you take specific steps to resolve the issues with your coworker, and if so, what were they? Did you optimize a page on the website to better encourage more subscriptions? This is your chance to go into detail about what you did, in order to show off your skills and expertise.
Finally, your story will end with the results of your actions. Whether your conflict resolution produced a successful project and better work relations with your colleague, or if your page enhancements led to a 78% increase in signups, the final point to drive home is how your capabilities were a benefit at your previous company — and how these same traits could also help your prospective employer as well. As with resumes, hiring managers don’t only want to know your role, but what you accomplished within that role.
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