It is very likely that in a job interview, you will be asked specific questions about real situations you have been in. Usually you will be asked how you solved a particular problem. These types of questions however, do not solely relate to work situations; they can also refer to personal or academic experiences you have had. Essentially, the interviewer seeks to know how you have acted in the past to foresee as how good will you be in the job you are applying for.
To adequately answer these questions, a good strategy is to use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action and Result). The STAR method is simply a guide that lets you expose your past performance in a clear and structured manner. This technique is based on constructing your response based on these four steps:
- Situation: The problem to solve. In this step you should give the context details: What? Where? When?
- Task: This refers to your mission. In this case describes what was the challenge and the employe'sr expectations.
- Action: Describe what actions you put in place to solve the problem, why did you choose these ones and not others, how you applied them and that the way you used them.
- Result: Explains the success and the improvements achieved with your behavior and provide objective data on your performance.
To give an example; suppose you are attending an interview for a sales job in a clothing store. At one point the interviewer asks a question like: "Can you tell me about a situation where you had to deal with a particularly difficult client?"
In this case, following the STAR technique would help. To win yourself a few extra seconds, you can start repeating the question. For example: "There have been many occasions where I've had to deal with an unhappy customer, but especially difficult was ..."
Location: "... a few years ago when I was the store manager in the shoe "Golden Heel ". We faced tough competition because they had opened two new stores in the same area. That morning a customer complained because we sold him shoes in poor condition which caused him to fall over. "
Tasks: I was expected to engage with the customers and to deal with competition. As a manager, I could not allow this client to influence other people who were in the store."
Actions: "The first thing I did was to offer customer support and establish a bond that allowed him to calm down. As a solution to prevent the return of the item, I offered to put non-slip stickers on the soles of the shoes to prevent them from sliding. The shoes were not defected, they were leather and when new, are known to be rather slippery. I also promised the customer that if the problem persisted I would change the item"
Result: "The client was satisfied and in the years since I was in the store, he regularly came two or three times per season, and recommended us to friends and family.
As you can see, the STAR method provides you with a good structure to fully explain your performance, highlighting the improvements you applied with your behavior.