STAR Method for Interviewing

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1 STAR Method for Interviewing Employers ask behavioral based interview questions relating to your past experiences and actions to understand your future potential for the position you are interviewing for. For example, instead of asking, Are you analytical? an interviewer might ask, Describe a task or project for which you were responsible for that best demonstrates your ability to analyze information. In order to answer a behavioral based interview question, you will want to use the STAR method. After reading about the STAR method, scroll down to see and practice behavioral based interview questions. You should define the general context of the situation, describe others involved (if any), and mention the problem you had to overcome. Use examples from past internships, class projects, community service, or other work experience. Situation Ex: During winter quarter, I participated in a team of three for a case competition that required our team to assess Boeing s marketing strategy. Explain what you were supposed to do. Describe the key objective and specific issues addressed in the situation above. In examples where you were working as a group, be sure to explain both the overall task of the group and your specific role so the interviewer knows how you contributed to the project. Task Ex: My team had 48 hours to create a strategic plan to improve Boeing s marketing approach. We were given information about Boeing s past marketing development and needed to build upon their previous work or suggest a new advertising plan of our own. We decided to create a new advertising plan, for which I was responsible for creating the budget. Describe what you did to accomplish your task. This should be the most substantial part of your response. Explain what actions you took in the situation to complete the task and achieve your end result. Include any skills you used soft or hard skills in your answer. Be sure to keep the focus of your answer on you. If you use an example where you worked in a group, focus on your individual participation. Action Ex: I researched competitors and analyzed their financial reports to determine the industry average for advertising expenses. I then looked to Boeing s advertising budget from last year to allocate appropriate expenses to our advertising plan. I also created a net present value analysis to show the value of our advertising plan to the business over Boeing s previous advertising campaign. Identify your accomplishments. Describe the outcome that happened as a result of the actions you took. Include descriptions of the objectives you successfully completed and what you learned from this entire experience. Where possible, quantify your results. Numbers make your results seem more tangible to employers. Also remember that many behavioral interview questions try to see how you responded to negative situations. In those cases, focus on any positive outcomes or learning experiences you had. Results Ex: My team and I made it to final rounds and placed first out of 25 teams for the Boeing case competition. Through the experience, I was able to sharpen my analytical skills, and understand how to present data in a way that would help others make decisions. I also learned how to work effectively in a team under a high-stress situation. Undergraduate Career Services Room 212 Dempsey Hall, Box Seattle, WA (206)

2 Behavioral Based Interview Questions Tell Me: 1. Tell me about yourself. 2. Why did you choose this career and why are you interested in our company? 3. Why should we hire you? 4. What is your greatest strength? 5. Why did you choose to attend your college and how has your education prepared you for your career? Team Work: 1. Tell of a time when you worked with a colleague who was not completing his or her share of the work. How did you react to this situation? 2. Describe some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were implemented, or carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts. 3. Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why was this person difficult? How did you handle that person? 4. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task. How did you assist him or her? What was the result? 5. What role have you typically played as a member of a team? Leadership: 1. When thinking about leadership styles, what kind of supervisor do you work best for? Provide examples. 2. Give an example of a time you had to make an important decision. How did you make the decision? What factors did you have to consider? 3. Give an example of a time you had to persuade other people to take action. 4. Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome? 5. Give an example of how you provided leadership and direction under unusually difficult circumstances. Communication: 1. Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across. 2. Describe the most significant or creative presentation that you have had to complete. 3. Tell of a time when your active listening skills really paid off for you - maybe a time when other people missed the key idea being expressed. 4. Give a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?

3 5. Tell me about a time when you were approached by an unhappy customer, co-worker or team member. What was your response? Problem Solving: 1. Give a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem. 2. Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision. 3. What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision? 4. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision, but didn't have all the information you needed. 5. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company/class/organization was facing. What was the challenge and the outcome? Work Ethic: 1. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. 2. Describe a time when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it? 3. Tell me about a difficult situation when it was desirable for you to keep a positive attitude. What did you do? 4. Describe a time when you were unable to follow through on a commitment you made. What happened? How did you explain this to the other party? 5. Often our work environments require that numerous tasks to be completed simultaneously, which can put demands on us. Give an example of when you were in this type of situation and how you resolved it. Analytical/Quantitative: 1. Give an example of how you applied knowledge from previous coursework to a project. 2. Describe a task or project for which you were responsible for that best demonstrates your ability to analyze information. 3. What are the important trends or cutting edge issues in our industry? 4. Tell me about your level of experience with excel (or other types of technology) and any knowledge of advance functions. 5. There are times when a large amount of data and information need to be analyzed. Tell me about a time you faced this situation and what you did to boil everything down to what was most important. Initiative: 1. Give an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it. 2. Describe a situation in which you found that your results were not up to your professor's or supervisor's expectations. What happened? What action did you take? 3. We can sometimes identify a small problem and fix it before it becomes a major problem. Give an example(s) of how you have done this.

4 4. Recall a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose. What was the nature of the problem? How did you handle the situation? 5. What are some initial steps you would take to learn quickly and succeed in this new position? Flexibility/Adaptability: 1. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments. 2. Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills. 3. Give a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree. 4. Tell of some situations in which you have had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you? 5. Describe a situation when you needed the cooperation of many diverse people in order to succeed. How did your approach vary from one person to the next? Interpersonal Skill: 1. Give an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). 2. Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do? 3. Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise in order to complete a task. What was the situation and how did you come to a compromise? 4. What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining a successful working relationship? Give an example of how you have made this work for you. 5. Give a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result? Organization: 1. Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be a complex project. Specifically, what steps did you take to prepare for and finish the project? Were you happy with the outcome? What one step would you have done differently if given the chance? 2. Describe a situation that required a number of things to be done at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result? 3. Tell me about a time you saw an opportunity to improve an existing process to make it more efficient. Were you able to implement it? 4. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay focused? 5. Tell me about an event or project you planned. What was the purpose and how was the event or project organized and executed? Goals: 1. Why did you choose this career? 2. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?

5 3. How do you evaluate success? What do you think it takes to be successful in this career? 4. What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction in your life? 5. Tell me about a time you fell short of reaching a desired goal. What was the situation and what would you change if given the opportunity again? Prioritization: 1. Sometimes it's easy to get in "over your head." Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance on a project or assignment. 2. How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give examples. 3. Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple responsibilities. How did you organize the work you needed to do? 4. Describe the most difficult scheduling problem you have faced. 5. Describe how you prioritize your time between multiple classes, school projects and outside activities. Overcoming Difficulties: 1. Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How did you resolve it? 2. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person. How did you handle the situation? 3. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn? 4. Tell me about a time you were faced with a difficult ethical dilemma and how you dealt with it. 5. What steps have you taking to overcome a weakness?

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