Talent acquisition professional Luke Hannon shares relevant tips and hints in your career search.
Text: Luke Hannon
Interviews are scary. In a recent survey, 93 percent reported feeling anxious before an interview. We’ve all been there when the interviewer asks one of those dreaded “tell me a time when…” questions. It’s so easy to clam up and panic.
What if I told you it doesn’t have to be like this? Luckily, I’ve got the perfect system that you can use to nail these types of questions and help land you the job your talent deserves!
All you need to remember is STAR!
S - Situation
Here is where you briefly outline what happened and the state of affairs at the time. You can even start your answer by saying, “There was a situation X time ago where X” happened. Keep this section concise and to the point. No fluff, just facts.
Two tips here:
I’d always recommend using an example from the past year if possible.
Make sure to pick an appropriate example that won’t make the interviewer feel uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable? How can an interview answer make the interviewer uncomfortable? Well, I had a situation a few years ago (see what I did there!) where a candidate mentioned a difficult situation at work where they found out their wife had been cheating with a colleague. Well, the interviewer understandably didn’t know how to react. Needless to say, the interview went downhill from there, and he didn’t get the job! So start off strong by outlining the situation.
"You want to focus on what YOU did to make a success from the situation. Far too often in life, we are taught not to talk too much about ourselves."
T - Task
Once you’ve outlined the situation, you must tell the interviewer about the challenge.
“Because of the situation, I had to X.”
Again, don’t feel the need to spend too much time on this. A few sentences are more than enough to set the scene for the challenge you have to solve.
The real meat and potatoes of your answer are up next!
A - Action
Go! Go! Go! Now is the time to blow the interviewer away with the spectacular actions you took to resolve the situation! Your actions should make up the bulk of your answer. Take the interviewer on a journey, and explain to them step by step how YOU, with YOUR knowledge and expertise, solved the problem.
A quick tip: I see far too many people focus on what others did in this section. Let your colleagues find their own jobs. You want to focus on what YOU did to make a success from the situation. Far too often in life, we are taught not to talk too much about ourselves.
Now is the time to forget that lesson.
It’s time to use phrases like “I managed”, “I improved”, and “I led” as much as you can. Be as specific as possible about what you did. The interviewer wants to know that you took a considered and logical approach to solving the problem. So show them exactly that! Actions speak volumes.
R - Result
So what happened next? How was the situation resolved? If you’ve done the first three sections well, the interviewer will be dying to know! So now is your chance to tell them how your big brain fixed the problem.
Want to really blow their minds? Do your best to use numbers and percentages to show how you turned the situation around. Want the job? Then you need to wow them with the result!
There you have it! Use the STAR method in your interview, and you’ll improve your chances of finding the job your talent deserves! Stay tuned for next month!