August 8, 2017
Preparing for job interviews can seem overwhelming. You have the education, the skills and the knowledge that this is a position you're qualified for. But how do you gain the confidence that will convince your future employer you're the applicant they've been waiting for? Using the STAR method to prepare yourself for your interview will leave you feeling capable and confident enough to win over interviewers and secure the position you've got your eyes on.
As you prepare for your job interview, try breaking down your skills-based anecdotes into answers that follow the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. This technique is an ordered way to respond to behavioral questions more companies are putting into use. The questions you'll be asked during behavioral interviews will be applicable to situations you may encounter in the position you're applying for. Your answers will give them better insight into the type of employee you are and if you would be a right fit for not only the position but for the company. The skills that employers are looking for in behavioral interviews include leadership, communication, planning and organization, as well as critical thinking and team building.
Using this method, you can respond to an interview question successfully in a way that details the situation, task, action and result of a specific example using past experiences. Kim Coffey, a career advisor at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), suggests those new to the STAR method should begin by writing out four scenarios. You should have both a positive and negative example of a situation where you worked with others. Similarly, you should detail a task that was successful and illustrate a task that failed.
An interviewer asks you to describe a time where you had to step up into a position of responsibility and to explain the negative and positive outcomes of that experience.
Coffey recommended looking past the negatives of the situation to bring the answer back around in a way that will look favorably on you and prove your ability to overcome adversity. "Instead, you want to focus on what you learned from the situation to avoid it again in the future, and right any wrongs so that you end the story on that positive note."
To make sure you're fully prepared for your job interview, you're going to have to invest time in yourself by looking back at your past experiences to find specific examples that highlight your abilities. Coffey said you should have a few examples from those four base scenarios to pull from. "Writing them out is a way to get people to realize all of the wonderful details that go into each story and helps them to realize the impact that their actions had and any takeaways for the result," Coffey said.
Remember that preparation leads to confidence. By practicing for your interview using the STAR method, you'll be more self-assured on the day of your job interview, giving you an edge on the competition.
Ashley Wallis is an Army veteran and writer with a BA in English Language and Literature from SNHU. She is currently living in the Denver area. Find her on twitter @AshDWallis.
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