In this very powerful interview article, you will learn how to use the STAR Technique to answer difficult behavioral interviews questions. STAR interview questions and answers.
During your job interview, you will be asked a series of challenging situational and behavioral interview questions that assess your suitability for the role you have applied for. If you want to pass your job interview, make sure you read this article very well because it will help you be the standout candidate.
STAR interview questions and answers
This article will cover the following three things:
- Perfect explanation of what the STAR Technique is and how you can use it to answer difficult behavioral interview questions.
- List of behavioral interview questions that are likely going to come up during your job interview.
- Top scoring answers to those interview questions that use the STAR Technique to help you be the standout candidate.
What is the STAR Technique and how can you use it to answer difficult behavioral interview questions?
The STAR Technique stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
The STAR Technique is a method used to answer interview questions that require you to provide evidence of a situation you have previously been in.
For example, if the interviewer says to you, tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team, you would use the STAR Technique to answer the question correctly.
In your answer to this interview question, you would:
- Start off and tell the interviewer the SITUATION you were in.
- You would then briefly outline the TASK that needed doing.
- You would then give in depth details about the ACTION you took to complete the task.
- You would finish off and tell the interviewer the RESULTS following your actions.
Behavioral interview questions and answers STAR method
Below are different types of behavioral interview questions you are likely going to encounter during your job interview.
- Tell me about a time when you had to solve a difficult problem.
- Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker.
- Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure.
- Tell me about a time when you delivered excellent customer service.
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
- That really is a difficult interview question to answer.
- Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.
You can see that all of those behavioral interview questions require you to give details of the specific situation you have previously been in. Do not make the mistake of telling the interviewer “what you would do in those situations”, but instead tell them “what you have done.”
STAR technique interview questions and answers examples
Some example answers to difficult behavioral interview questions that utilize the STAR technique.
Question #1: Tell me about a time when you provided excellent customer service.
“In a previous role, I was dealing with an elderly customer on the telephone who was struggling to place an order online.
It was my task to reassure the customer, explain the products we had available, and talked her through the purchasing process.
Company policy meant I had just two minutes to deal with each customer. However, because of the nature of this situation, I needed to take longer to provide excellent customer service.
I started out by asking the customer several questions to establish her needs.
I then explained the products we had available that I felt would be suitable and the different pricing options for each one.
Finally, I walked the customer through the online ordering process and I reassured her every step of the way.
Although the call took seven minutes in total to complete, the customer felt reassured and they returned to the company time and time again, in the future.”
Question #2: Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker.
Tip: This question comes up all the time during job interviews. Make sure you prepare an answer to it. Below is an example response.
I was working as part of a team in a previous role with a co-worker who had a very different style of working. To myself, he was a very slow and methodical worker, whereas I am a very fast and diligent worker.
Early on during the project, our work styles clashed, which resulted in progress being hindered.
I felt it was my responsibility to speak to him to try and reach a compromise for the sake of the project.
I sat down with my co-worker and I explained how I felt our different work styles were causing an issue. I asked him what he felt I could do to help the project progress better.
He explained that he needed to take his time with some tasks because he was very methodical. I listened to what he had to say before coming up with a plan that we could both work with.
I suggested that I should focus on time sensitive tasks to which there were several and he could concentrate on more technical matters that needed in-depth analysis and a methodical approach. My coworker agreed to my suggested plan.
By analyzing the conflict and by using a compromised based approach to dealing with it, we were able to ensure the project was still finished on time and to the right standard.
Question #3: Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a difficult problem.
Here’s an example answer that utilizes the STAR technique.
“I was working on a time sensitive project with five other people when two of the team members all of a sudden went off sick.
This meant we were short staffed for the remainder of the project, so we needed to find a way to overcome this difficult challenge.
We sat down as a team and tried to come up with a new plan of action. I came up with an idea whereby we would all commit an extra hour each every evening after work.
This would give us an extra 4 hours each week on the project. I also suggested that we should outsource some technical tasks to contractors online. This would again save us time and guarantee the project would be finished on time.
We all agreed to this plan and after we had all committed to the extra hours, the project was still completed to specification and on time.”
Question #4: Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with your boss.
Tip: Most people say I’ve never disagreed with my boss, but that is not the best way to answer the question. Let now look at a brilliant example answer that uses a STAR technique of Situation, Task, Action, and Results.
“In my last role, an irate customer was asking for a refund. I asked my boss permission to give the customer a refund, but he refused.
It was my job to explain to my boss why I disagreed with his decision.
I explained to him that the customer had been very time consuming to deal with and despite my best efforts to provide excellent service, they were threatening to leave a negative review online if we did not refund their payment.
I explained that the negative review could have a negative impact on the business financially and I felt the cost of the refund was worth it.
After I explained my feelings, my boss agreed to refund the customer, which I felt was the best solution for the business.”
Question #5: Tell me about the time when you made a mistake.
Tip: Most people respond with I’ve never made a mistake, I’m a perfectionist, but that is not the best way to answer this interview question. Let me now look at an example response that uses the STAR technique.
“When I first started my last job, my manager gave me an important time sensitive task to complete.
It was my responsibility to make sure the task was completed on time as per his instructions.
Unfortunately, in my hastiness to do a good job, I did not listen to the brief fully, and I ended up missing out part of the task. As soon as I realized I had made a mistake, I informed my manager, I apologized, and I quickly put things right.
Although I had made a foolish mistake, I learned a lot from the situation, and I made sure moving forward I took thorough notes of all the instructions I was given.”
There’s a perfect and thorough article on how to use STAR technique when answering difficult behavioral interview questions.
Thank you very much for reading and I wish you all the best for passing your job interview.
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