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How to Use the STAR Interview Response Method

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

star problem solving

STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result

What is the star interview response method, star key concepts, how to prepare for an interview using star, examples of interview questions and answers using star, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Are job interviews challenging for you? Do you struggle to give concise answers to interview questions? Are you unsure how to share your accomplishments during an interview without sounding boastful? What's the best way to let the interviewer know that you're the right candidate for the job?

The STAR interview response method can help make the process easier. Using this method of answering interview questions allows you to share concrete examples of how you successfully handled situations at work to show that you possess the experience and skills required for the job you’re interviewing for.

Read below for a detailed description of the STAR interview response technique and examples of how to best use it.

Key Takeaways

  • STAR stands for situation, task, action, result.
  • Each concept in the STAR acronym is a step that candidates can use to respond to interview questions.
  • By following all four steps, applicants can provide comprehensive answers to interview questions.

STAR stands for  S ituation,  T ask,  A ction,  R esult. Using this strategy is particularly helpful in response to  competency-focused questions , which typically start with phrases such as, "Describe a time when..." or, "Share an example of a situation where...."

Jon Marchione / The Balance

The STAR interview response method is a way of answering  behavioral interview  questions. Behavioral interview questions are questions about how you have behaved in the past. Specifically, they are about how you have handled certain work situations.

Employers using this technique analyze jobs and define the skills and qualities that high-level performers have exhibited in that job. Since past performance can be a good predictor of the future, interviewers ask these questions to determine whether candidates have the skills and experiences required to excel in the job. 

For example, employers might be looking for proof of problem-solving skills, analytical ability, creativity, perseverance through failure, writing skills, presentation skills, teamwork orientation, persuasive skills, quantitative skills, or accuracy.

Examples of  behavioral interview questions  include the following:

  • Tell me about an occasion when you had to complete a task under a tight deadline.
  • Have you ever gone above and beyond the call of duty?
  • What do you do when a team member refuses to complete his or her quota of the work?

Some interviewers structure their questions using the STAR technique. However, job seekers can also use the STAR interview method to prepare for behavioral interview questions.

STAR is an acronym for four key concepts. Each concept is a step the job candidate can take when answering a behavioral interview question. By following all four steps, the job candidate will provide a comprehensive answer. The four steps referenced in the acronym are the following:

Situation:  Describe the context within which you performed a job or faced a challenge at work. For example, perhaps you were working on a group project, or you had a conflict with a co-worker. This situation can be drawn from a work experience, a volunteer position, or any other relevant event. Be as specific as possible.

Task:  Next, describe your responsibility in that situation. Perhaps you had to help your group complete a project within a tight deadline, resolve a conflict with a co-worker, or hit a sales target. 

Action:  You then describe how you completed the task or endeavored to meet the challenge. Focus on what you did rather than what your team, boss, or co-worker did. 

Instead of saying, "We did XYZ," say, "I did XYZ.") 

Result:  Finally, explain the outcomes or results generated by the action taken. It may be helpful to emphasize what you accomplished or what you learned.

Since you won’t know in advance  what interviewing techniques  your interviewer will be using, you’ll benefit from preparing several scenarios from the jobs you’ve held.

Make a list of the job qualifications. First, make a list of the skills and/or experiences that are required for the job you're applying for. It may help to look at the job listing and similar job listings for indications of the required or preferred skills/qualities. You can then  match your qualifications to those listed in the posting .

Create a list of examples. Then, consider specific examples of occasions when you displayed those skills. For each example, name the  situation, task, action, and result .

Match your skills to the job. Whatever examples you select, make sure they are as closely related to the job you’re interviewing for as possible.

Prepare a response. For each example, prepare a brief response:

  • Describe the situation (2-3 sentences).
  • Explain your task (1-2 sentences).
  • Describe the action you took (2-3 sentences).
  • Share your result (2-3 sentences).

You can also take a look at  common behavioral interview questions and try answering each of them using the STAR technique.

Tell me about a time you had to complete a task within a tight deadline. Describe the situation and explain how you handled it.

Example answer.

While I typically like to plan out my work in stages and complete it piece by piece, I can also achieve high-quality work results under tight deadlines. Once, at a former company, an employee left days before the deadline of one of his projects. I was asked to assume responsibility for it, with only a few days to learn about and complete the project. I created a task force and delegated work, and we all completed the assignment with a day to spare. In fact, I believe I thrive when working under tight deadlines.

What do you do when a team member doesn't complete their share of the work?

When there are team conflicts or issues, I always try my best to step up as team leader if needed. I think my communication skills make me an effective leader and moderator. For example, one time, when I was working on a team project, two of the team members got embroiled in an argument, both refusing to complete their assignments. They were both dissatisfied with their workloads, so I arranged a team meeting in which we reallocated all the assignments among the team members. This made everyone happier and more productive, and our project was a success.

Tell me about a time you showed initiative on the job.

Last winter,   I was acting as an account coordinator, supporting the account executive for a major client at an ad agency. The account executive had an accident and was sidelined three weeks before a major campaign pitch.

I volunteered to fill in and orchestrate the presentation by coordinating the input of the creative and media teams. I called an emergency meeting and facilitated a discussion about ad scenarios, media plans, and the roles of various team members in relation to the presentation. 

I was able to achieve a consensus on two priority ad concepts that we had to pitch and on related media strategies. I drew up a minute-by-minute plan of how we would present the pitch. Based on our discussions, the plan was warmly received by the team. The client loved our plan and adopted the campaign. I was promoted to account executive six months later. 

How can you share examples of your achievements during a job interview?

One of the best ways to share your accomplishments with an interviewer is by telling a story . When answering questions, share a description of what you did and how you achieved a positive outcome. This way, you’re showing the interviewer what you’re able to do rather than just telling them you can do the job.

What can you do when you can’t think of an answer to an interview question?

When you’re asked a challenging question, use the STAR interview technique to respond. Think of something you did at work related to the question, then explain how you handled the situation and what the outcome was. 

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Using the STAR method for your next behavioral interview (worksheet included)

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The purpose of behavioral interviewing is to objectively measure a potential employee’s past behaviors as a predictor of future results. In behavioral interviews, candidates are asked to give specific examples of when they demonstrated particular behaviors or skills. Here are some example behavioral interview questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team to successfully execute a project.
  • Do you have any experience with solving complex problems?
  • What is a project that you are most proud of?
  • Tell me about a time you failed.

You may notice that a couple of these questions are close-ended, meaning that in a normal every-day conversation you may respond with a simple “yes” or “no.” In a behavioral interview, it is important to practice a “yes, and…” mentality. In other words, provide context for your interviewer with an example that can help you demonstrate the depth of your skills and knowledge.

Interview Tips

When preparing your responses for a behavioral interview, you will also want to keep in mind the following:

  • Focus your responses on actual behaviors and emotions. It can be tempting to say what you think will help you get the job, but bending the truth in a job interview can be risky. What you say, if not truthful, can come across as disingenuous to an interviewer, and may not match up with your application materials ( resume, CV, cover letter ) or what a referral has shared about you.
  • Describe your role in past situations. When it comes to sharing your experiences with a potential employer, it is important to show ownership of accomplishments by using “I” statements. This can be especially tricky when giving examples of teamwork or collaboration, but using “we” statements can make it difficult for an employer to have a clear understanding of what your skills are. Instead, focus your response on how you contributed to the outcomes of the team efforts.
  • Provide specific examples of your actions. Avoid giving answers that are too generalized. When responding to behavioral interview questions, it is important to share specific and clear examples that can give your interviewer insight to your potential as a candidate.
  • Reveal your skills related to the job. Your interviewer will prepare questions that will relate directly to the responsibilities of the role. For example, if the target role requires supervision of others or working in a team-based environment, you may be asked to share examples of times when you demonstrated effective leadership or collaboration. If you are asked to share your strengths, refer to the job description to hone in on what skills are important to the role. The ability to communicate effectively, work well with others, and think creatively are a few common descriptors used in internship postings.

The STAR method

S.T.A.R. is a useful acronym and an effective formula for structuring your behavioral interview response. Let’s start by breaking down the formula:

  • Situation (20%), explain the situation so that your interviewer understands the context of your example, they do not need to know every detail!
  • Task (10%), talk about the task that you took responsibility for completing or the goal of your efforts.
  • Action (60%), describe the actions that you personally took to complete the task or reach the end goal. Highlight skills or character traits addressed in the question.
  • Result (10%), explain the positive outcomes or results generated by your actions or efforts. Here, it is important to highlight quantifiable results. You may also want to emphasize what you learned from the experience or your key takeaways.

Situation, 20%, Explain the situation so that your interviewer understands the context of your example, they do not need to know every detail! Task, 10%, Next, talk about the task that you took responsibility for completing or the goal of your efforts. Action, 60%, Describe the actions that you personally took to complete the task or reach the end goal. Highlight skills or character traits addressed in the question. Result, 10%, Explain the positive outcomes or results generated by your actions or efforts. Here, it is important to highlight quantifiable results. You may also want to emphasize what you learned from the experience or your key takeaways.

The percentages listed in the graphic above represent the time to dedicate to each section of your story. These numbers are meant to guide you, but don’t worry about getting it exactly right! The most important thing to keep in mind is that most of your response should focus on your A ctions.

Sample response

Here is an example STAR-formatted response for the prompt, “tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership.” Instead of responding simply with “I tutored kids in math,” provide context for your interviewer and demonstrate your skills through an engaging example.

  • Situation: When I was a junior in high school, there were several students in my math class who were struggling with some of the more difficult concepts.
  • Task: With an upcoming national exam, I was asked by my math teacher to start an after school session to assist the other students.
  • Action: I stayed after school twice a week to review class materials and homework. I created a comprehensive study guide. I demonstrated the best methods for solving difficult problems, explained strategies that worked for me, and developed new problems to help them practice.
  • Result: Our class average for the national exam was the highest it had been in over ten years, and overall the students I helped were able to develop a better understanding and appreciation for math.

Situation - When I was a junior in high school, there were several students in my math class who were struggling with some of the more difficult concepts. Task - With an upcoming national exam, I was asked by my math teacher to start an after school session to assist the other students. Action - I stayed after school twice a week to review class materials and homework. I created a comprehensive study guide. I demonstrated the best methods for solving difficult problems, explained strategies that worked for me, and developed new problems to help them practice. Result - Our class average for the national exam was the highest it had been in over ten years, and overall the students I helped were able to develop a better understanding and appreciation for math.

Preparing your responses

When preparing examples to share in an interview, it can feel overwhelming and unrealistic to predict and prepare responses for all questions that may (or may not) come up. While the example shared above was in response to a question about leadership, it could also be adapted to questions regarding communication skills, work ethic, and time management/organization. Consider how the examples you prepare may connect to one or more question, and prepare to adapt your responses on the fly.

Start by identifying both technical and transferable skills needed within a particular role. Review the job description and role responsibilities, paying close attention to the usage and frequency of certain action verbs. Depending on the size and age of a company, you can also use Glassdoor Interview Reviews to learn about others’ experiences and find potential interview questions. Prepare 3-5 stories by creating a bulleted outline or jotting down notes using CAPD’s STAR method worksheet . It can be tempting to script or memorize certain stories, but doing so may limit your ability to adapt as needed in an interview, and can seem unnatural or disingenuous to an interviewer.

Want to learn more as you prepare?  Here are more interview tips .

Time to practice

Ready to start practicing? Schedule a behavioral mock interview with a CAPD staff member to practice your responses, receive feedback, and gain confidence before the real thing. With MIT’s Alumni Advisors Hub , you may be able to find alum from your target company who are willing to provide insight and conduct behavioral mock interviews, as well as coding or technical question prep. You can also use LinkedIn’s Interview Prep tool to receive instantaneous, AI-powered feedback on pacing, how many times you’re using filler words, and sensitive phrases to avoid.

After the interview

Take some time to reflect. What went well? What could go better next time? Jot down some notes to celebrate your wins and to help yourself prepare for future interviews.

Lastly you’ll want to email to your interviewer(s) within 24 hours to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest and excitement for the role. If you spoke with multiple interviewers, consider emailing each one individually. It doesn’t hurt to include some reasons why you think you’d be a great fit, and mention anything worth noting or revisiting from the interview. Our professional correspondence samples can help you to get started.

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26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)

300+ Interview Questions Answered.

300+ Interview Questions with Expert Answers.

Employers like to hire people who can solve problems and work well under pressure. A job rarely goes 100% according to plan, so hiring managers will be more likely to hire you if you seem like you can handle unexpected challenges while staying calm and logical in your approach.

But how do they measure this?

They’re going to ask you interview questions about these problem solving skills, and they might also look for examples of problem solving on your resume and cover letter. So coming up, I’m going to share a list of examples of problem solving, whether you’re an experienced job seeker or recent graduate.

Then I’ll share sample interview answers to, “Give an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem?”

Problem-Solving Defined

It is the ability to identify the problem, prioritize based on gravity and urgency, analyze the root cause, gather relevant information, develop and evaluate viable solutions, decide on the most effective and logical solution, and plan and execute implementation. 

Problem-solving also involves critical thinking, communication, listening, creativity, research, data gathering, risk assessment, continuous learning, decision-making, and other soft and technical skills.

Solving problems not only prevent losses or damages but also boosts self-confidence and reputation when you successfully execute it. The spotlight shines on you when people see you handle issues with ease and savvy despite the challenges. Your ability and potential to be a future leader that can take on more significant roles and tackle bigger setbacks shine through. Problem-solving is a skill you can master by learning from others and acquiring wisdom from their and your own experiences. 

It takes a village to come up with solutions, but a good problem solver can steer the team towards the best choice and implement it to achieve the desired result.  

Examples of Problem Solving Scenarios in the Workplace

  • Correcting a mistake at work, whether it was made by you or someone else
  • Overcoming a delay at work through problem solving and communication
  • Resolving an issue with a difficult or upset customer
  • Overcoming issues related to a limited budget, and still delivering good work through the use of creative problem solving
  • Overcoming a scheduling/staffing shortage in the department to still deliver excellent work
  • Troubleshooting and resolving technical issues
  • Handling and resolving a conflict with a coworker
  • Solving any problems related to money, customer billing, accounting and bookkeeping, etc.
  • Taking initiative when another team member overlooked or missed something important
  • Taking initiative to meet with your superior to discuss a problem before it became potentially worse
  • Solving a safety issue at work or reporting the issue to those who could solve it
  • Using problem solving abilities to reduce/eliminate a company expense
  • Finding a way to make the company more profitable through new service or product offerings, new pricing ideas, promotion and sale ideas, etc.
  • Changing how a process, team, or task is organized to make it more efficient
  • Using creative thinking to come up with a solution that the company hasn’t used before
  • Performing research to collect data and information to find a new solution to a problem
  • Boosting a company or team’s performance by improving some aspect of communication among employees
  • Finding a new piece of data that can guide a company’s decisions or strategy better in a certain area

Problem Solving Examples for Recent Grads/Entry Level Job Seekers

  • Coordinating work between team members in a class project
  • Reassigning a missing team member’s work to other group members in a class project
  • Adjusting your workflow on a project to accommodate a tight deadline
  • Speaking to your professor to get help when you were struggling or unsure about a project
  • Asking classmates, peers, or professors for help in an area of struggle
  • Talking to your academic advisor to brainstorm solutions to a problem you were facing
  • Researching solutions to an academic problem online, via Google or other methods
  • Using problem solving and creative thinking to obtain an internship or other work opportunity during school after struggling at first

You can share all of the examples above when you’re asked questions about problem solving in your interview. As you can see, even if you have no professional work experience, it’s possible to think back to problems and unexpected challenges that you faced in your studies and discuss how you solved them.

Interview Answers to “Give an Example of an Occasion When You Used Logic to Solve a Problem”

Now, let’s look at some sample interview answers to, “Give me an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem,” since you’re likely to hear this interview question in all sorts of industries.

Example Answer 1:

At my current job, I recently solved a problem where a client was upset about our software pricing. They had misunderstood the sales representative who explained pricing originally, and when their package renewed for its second month, they called to complain about the invoice. I apologized for the confusion and then spoke to our billing team to see what type of solution we could come up with. We decided that the best course of action was to offer a long-term pricing package that would provide a discount. This not only solved the problem but got the customer to agree to a longer-term contract, which means we’ll keep their business for at least one year now, and they’re happy with the pricing. I feel I got the best possible outcome and the way I chose to solve the problem was effective.

Example Answer 2:

In my last job, I had to do quite a bit of problem solving related to our shift scheduling. We had four people quit within a week and the department was severely understaffed. I coordinated a ramp-up of our hiring efforts, I got approval from the department head to offer bonuses for overtime work, and then I found eight employees who were willing to do overtime this month. I think the key problem solving skills here were taking initiative, communicating clearly, and reacting quickly to solve this problem before it became an even bigger issue.

Example Answer 3:

In my current marketing role, my manager asked me to come up with a solution to our declining social media engagement. I assessed our current strategy and recent results, analyzed what some of our top competitors were doing, and then came up with an exact blueprint we could follow this year to emulate our best competitors but also stand out and develop a unique voice as a brand. I feel this is a good example of using logic to solve a problem because it was based on analysis and observation of competitors, rather than guessing or quickly reacting to the situation without reliable data. I always use logic and data to solve problems when possible. The project turned out to be a success and we increased our social media engagement by an average of 82% by the end of the year.

Answering Questions About Problem Solving with the STAR Method

When you answer interview questions about problem solving scenarios, or if you decide to demonstrate your problem solving skills in a cover letter (which is a good idea any time the job description mention problem solving as a necessary skill), I recommend using the STAR method to tell your story.

STAR stands for:

It’s a simple way of walking the listener or reader through the story in a way that will make sense to them. So before jumping in and talking about the problem that needed solving, make sure to describe the general situation. What job/company were you working at? When was this? Then, you can describe the task at hand and the problem that needed solving. After this, describe the course of action you chose and why. Ideally, show that you evaluated all the information you could given the time you had, and made a decision based on logic and fact.

Finally, describe a positive result you got.

Whether you’re answering interview questions about problem solving or writing a cover letter, you should only choose examples where you got a positive result and successfully solved the issue.

Example answer:

Situation : We had an irate client who was a social media influencer and had impossible delivery time demands we could not meet. She spoke negatively about us in her vlog and asked her followers to boycott our products. (Task : To develop an official statement to explain our company’s side, clarify the issue, and prevent it from getting out of hand). Action : I drafted a statement that balanced empathy, understanding, and utmost customer service with facts, logic, and fairness. It was direct, simple, succinct, and phrased to highlight our brand values while addressing the issue in a logical yet sensitive way.   We also tapped our influencer partners to subtly and indirectly share their positive experiences with our brand so we could counter the negative content being shared online.  Result : We got the results we worked for through proper communication and a positive and strategic campaign. The irate client agreed to have a dialogue with us. She apologized to us, and we reaffirmed our commitment to delivering quality service to all. We assured her that she can reach out to us anytime regarding her purchases and that we’d gladly accommodate her requests whenever possible. She also retracted her negative statements in her vlog and urged her followers to keep supporting our brand.

What Are Good Outcomes of Problem Solving?

Whenever you answer interview questions about problem solving or share examples of problem solving in a cover letter, you want to be sure you’re sharing a positive outcome.

Below are good outcomes of problem solving:

  • Saving the company time or money
  • Making the company money
  • Pleasing/keeping a customer
  • Obtaining new customers
  • Solving a safety issue
  • Solving a staffing/scheduling issue
  • Solving a logistical issue
  • Solving a company hiring issue
  • Solving a technical/software issue
  • Making a process more efficient and faster for the company
  • Creating a new business process to make the company more profitable
  • Improving the company’s brand/image/reputation
  • Getting the company positive reviews from customers/clients

Every employer wants to make more money, save money, and save time. If you can assess your problem solving experience and think about how you’ve helped past employers in those three areas, then that’s a great start. That’s where I recommend you begin looking for stories of times you had to solve problems.

Tips to Improve Your Problem Solving Skills

Throughout your career, you’re going to get hired for better jobs and earn more money if you can show employers that you’re a problem solver. So to improve your problem solving skills, I recommend always analyzing a problem and situation before acting. When discussing problem solving with employers, you never want to sound like you rush or make impulsive decisions. They want to see fact-based or data-based decisions when you solve problems.

Next, to get better at solving problems, analyze the outcomes of past solutions you came up with. You can recognize what works and what doesn’t. Think about how you can get better at researching and analyzing a situation, but also how you can get better at communicating, deciding the right people in the organization to talk to and “pull in” to help you if needed, etc.

Finally, practice staying calm even in stressful situations. Take a few minutes to walk outside if needed. Step away from your phone and computer to clear your head. A work problem is rarely so urgent that you cannot take five minutes to think (with the possible exception of safety problems), and you’ll get better outcomes if you solve problems by acting logically instead of rushing to react in a panic.

You can use all of the ideas above to describe your problem solving skills when asked interview questions about the topic. If you say that you do the things above, employers will be impressed when they assess your problem solving ability.

If you practice the tips above, you’ll be ready to share detailed, impressive stories and problem solving examples that will make hiring managers want to offer you the job. Every employer appreciates a problem solver, whether solving problems is a requirement listed on the job description or not. And you never know which hiring manager or interviewer will ask you about a time you solved a problem, so you should always be ready to discuss this when applying for a job.

Related interview questions & answers:

  • How do you handle stress?
  • How do you handle conflict?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed

Biron Clark

Biron Clark

Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.

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30 star interview method questions to prepare for


Almost every job interview has a set of behavioral questions. They usually start with “Tell me about a time when…” and they can catch job seekers off guard if they’re unprepared. 

The good news? There’s a secret recipe that’ll help you prepare for and ace these tricky questions. 

Known as the STAR interview method, this technique is a way of concisely answering certain job interview questions using specific, real-life examples. 

For example, say your interviewer asks you to describe a time you performed under pressure. Using the STAR technique, you can prove you’re able to perform well under pressure by giving an example from your past experiences. 

Let’s explore what the STAR method is, how to prepare for a behavioral question, and how you can use this technique to help you land your next job.

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What is the STAR interview method? 

The STAR method is a technique used to answer behavioral interview questions in a structured and compelling way. Behavioral questions prompt job candidates to give specific examples of how they’ve handled past situations or challenges. 

These are questions like:

  • Tell me about a time you had to pivot part of the way through a project.
  • How do you handle collaborative workstreams?

It can be challenging to share a cohesive example on the spot. But with the right preparation and a STAR interview structure, you can have some answers ready to go.

The acronym STAR stands for –– situation , task , action , result :

  • Situation : Set the scene by briefly describing the situation, challenge, or event you faced.
  • Task : Explain what your responsibilities were in that situation. What role did you play?
  • Action : Describe what steps you took to overcome the challenge or address the situation 
  • Result : Share what you achieved through your actions.

Each pillar helps you tell an in-depth yet short story with a beginning, middle, and end.

25 examples of STAR interview questions

But how do you know when it’s the right time to use the STAR format during an interview? 

It’s simple: be on the lookout for behavioral questions. They usually start with prompts like these:

  • Tell me about a time …
  • Share an example of a time…
  • Describe a time when…
  • Have you ever…
  • Do you usually…

Here are a few specific examples of behavioral interview questions to answer with the STAR method: 

  • Have you ever had to develop a new skill on the job? Tell me about your approach to the learning process. 
  • Describe a time when you had a tight deadline to meet. How did you get things done? 
  • Have you ever had a direct disagreement with your manager ? How did you handle that situation? 
  • Tell me about one of your proudest professional accomplishments. 
  • Describe a time you motivated your team to achieve results. What was your approach?
  • How do you go about setting team goals ?
  • Give me an example of a time when you failed to hit your goals. How did you respond and what did you do?
  • Have you ever had to push back on a key stakeholder? What did that interaction look like?
  • Describe the projects you typically enjoy most.
  • Share an example of a time when you had to shift priorities quickly. How did you handle that situation?
  • Have you ever managed an employee who wasn’t hitting the mark ? How did you handle the situation?
  • Share an example of a time when you went above and beyond what is expected of your role.
  • Share an example of a project you needed buy-in from various stakeholders to complete. 
  • Explain a situation where you overcame a challenge at work.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to navigate changes at work.
  • Describe a time when you had to motivate your peers. How did you do it and what was the outcome?
  • Tell me about the last project you owned and were really proud of.
  • Share a time when things did not go your way. How did you respond and what did you learn?
  • Share an example of a time when you were under immense pressure at work. How did you handle the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you surprised yourself.
  • Have you ever spent too much time on a project? How did you recover?
  • Describe a time when you helped a coworker achieve their goals.
  • Give me an example of a time when you performed well under pressure.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a tough decision.
  • Tell me about a time when you made the wrong decision.

These questions can be challenging if you’re caught unprepared. The STAR interview method helps you prepare and deliver a compelling story that will satisfy the interviewer’s questions and demonstrate why you’re the right person for the role.

How to use the STAR method in an interview

Let’s learn how to use each pillar of the STAR technique to deliver a compelling and structured response to any behavioral or situational interview question . 

1. Situation: Set the stage 

Begin answering the question by giving your interviewer context around the specific situation or challenge you faced. 

Try to limit this part to only a few sentences to set the scene. The bulk of your answer should focus on your actions and results. 

Make sure the situation you’ve chosen clearly demonstrates the skill or capability you’re being asked about and is complex enough for the role you’re interviewing for. 

For example, if it’s a more senior role, choose a situation that involves high stakes and demonstrates your expertise.

2. Task: Explain where you fit in 

Describe the task you had to complete and what your involvement was. 

Similar to the situation portion of your answer, this part should also be brief and to the point. For example, it can be a simple sentence like this one: 

“As the customer experience manager, it was my responsibility to resolve the client’s concern at the first point of contact.”

3. Action: Describe each step 

This is the most important part of your answer because it’s your opportunity to showcase your capabilities. The hiring manager doesn’t just want to hear what you’ve accomplished but how you’ve accomplished it. 

Explain what steps you took to overcome the challenge or reach your goal. Be as specific as possible, describe each step in detail, and avoid vague statements like “I worked really hard.” 

Keep the focus on yourself when answering the question. Use “I” statements and talk about what you specifically did, not what was accomplished as a team.

4. Results: Impress with your achievements 

This is the time to share the results of your actions with your potential employer. What positive impact were you able to achieve? How did you resolve the situation? 

Make sure the outcome is always a positive one. For example, even if you’re asked to describe a time you made a mistake, you should focus on what you learned from the experience. 

Employers love to see measurable results, so don’t forget to quantify your results when you can or back them up with concrete examples.


5 example STAR interview questions and answers

Here are some examples of STAR interview questions and answers to help you ace your next opportunity. 

1. Give me an example of a goal you’ve set and how you achieved it.

The scope of this behavioral question is to determine how you set goals and what steps you take to make sure you meet your objectives.

Situation: When I first transitioned into a sales role at company X, I was a bit shy of meeting my first-quarter sales target. 

Task: This motivated me to not only meet my sales target during my second quarter but exceed it. 

Action: I broke my goal down into smaller weekly goals and changed my sales strategy. I leveraged social selling to find new customers and develop relationships with them. I also asked my sales manager to coach me on my closing techniques and objection handling. 

Result: With this new strategy, I exceeded my sales target by 10%. 

2. Tell me about a time you failed. How did you handle it? 

Being honest about a time you failed shows you have integrity. Just remember to focus on what you learned from the experience. 

Situation: Shortly after I was promoted to senior project manager, I was in charge of leading a project for a major client. This project would typically take about a month to complete, but the client was in a rush and asked if I could have it ready in three weeks. 

Task: Excited that it was my first project, I agreed. Shortly after, I realized I'd need a bit more time to finish it and deliver quality work.

Action: I reached out to the client right away and apologized. I also asked for a three-day extension, and they were generous enough to extend the deadline. 

Result: I managed to finish the project and deliver it before the extended deadline. However, I learned to manage my time better and never overpromise on something I can’t deliver. 

3. Can you describe a time people didn’t see things your way? 

Behavioral questions worded this way are tricky. Author Mak Murphy explains that these questions don’t give away the “correct answer” to see if you reveal your true attitude.

In this case, what the question is trying to ask is, “Describe a time you successfully persuaded someone to see things your way.” 

Situation: I recently led a brainstorming session . The purpose of this session was to create a brand awareness campaign for a product my company was launching. 

Task: One of my teammates and I disagreed on what direction we should take for the campaign. I wanted to focus more on maximizing social media presence, and he wanted to go the brand partnership route.

Action: I asked my colleague to have a one-on-one meeting with me. I asked him to share his ideas and perspective. After listening and offering constructive criticism and feedback , I shared my ideas. 

Result: The conversation helped me see blind spots in my strategy and improve it. I also persuaded my coworker to get on board with my strategy by explaining its rationale. As a result, I merged our ideas and created a successful brand awareness campaign. Our social media engagement and website traffic both saw an increase of over 40%.

4. Tell me about a time when you worked well with a team. 

Teamwork skills, particularly remote teamwork skills, are one of the top competencies that employers are looking for . 

Situation: In my previous job as an event coordinator, I worked with a team of five to plan and execute company events and conferences. Last year, we collaborated on the company’s annual holiday party for over 500 employees.

Task: There were so many moving pieces. Everyone on our team had different responsibilities, but we all had to work as one unit to bring the party to life. 

Action: Even though I was the most junior person on the team, I organized a project management system that would allow us to check in with each other daily. They’d never done this before, but everyone loved the virtual task-tracking features. 

Result: Thanks to the new system, our team meetings were far more productive and we ended up ahead of schedule. Ultimately, our team’s collaboration led to what our CEO called the best holiday party he had ever attended. 

5. Can you share a time when you’ve had to juggle multiple priorities at work? 

Situation: While working as a client success manager at a tech company, one of my colleagues left the company for a new opportunity. My manager asked me to take on some of her responsibilities. 

Task: I had to reprioritize my own clients and projects to make room for her most important ones. It was overwhelming at first, with so many tasks to juggle and my unfamiliarity with my colleague’s book of business. 

Action: I worked through my responsibilities and reprioritized them based on the company’s goals, my availability, and other factors (with a bit of input from my manager). I also came up with ways to automate certain tasks to free up more of my time.

Result: Thanks to new automation efforts and successful prioritizing, none of our clients realized that there had been an internal shift at the company. Our team’s high quality of service was maintained — and I became more efficient in the process .

Why should I use the STAR method? 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed during an interview and forget everything you’ve prepared. The STAR framework is a simple way to provide a good answer, even when you’re feeling nervous. 

But the reasons for using the STAR interview technique go further than that. For one, today’s job market is stronger than ever . A quick search through LinkedIn will show you that there are endless opportunities available for candidates. 

But that doesn't mean it’s easy to land your dream job. In fact, recent research has shown that remote and hybrid jobs are receiving seven times the applicants as in-person positions . 

Standing out during the interview process is key to landing a more flexible, higher-paying, or otherwise better-fitting job. The STAR method is here to help you build your communication skills , tell your authentic story, and ace your next interview .


How do I prepare for STAR interview questions? 

Acing STAR interview questions is all about preparation and practice. The more you prepare, the better equipped you’ll be to use this technique to your advantage. 

Here’s what you need to do before each interview . 

1. Highlight the skills and experience required for the role

Take time to look over the job description and highlight the transferable skills and experience you need to succeed in the role. Recruiters will tailor their behavioral questions to find out if you have the right skills for the job. 

If the role you’re interviewing for requires problem-solving skills , for example, you may be asked something like, “Tell me about a time you faced an unexpected challenge at work. How did you overcome it?” 

2. Reflect on previous achievements and wins 

Using the STAR method, write down specific examples of situations where you demonstrated the competencies relevant to the role you’re interviewing for. 

Your answers should provide concrete and verifiable evidence that shows how you dealt with challenges in the past. Avoid vague statements and walk the interviewer through the specific steps you took to achieve your desired result.

3. Practice your answers 

Simulating a real interview will help you feel more prepared and confident. Plus, practicing with a friend can offer you a fresh perspective and tell you what’s working and what isn’t. 

Even if you’re practicing on your own, answer the questions out loud. The more comfortable you get vocalizing your answers, the more natural you’ll sound during the interview.

4. Get ready for common behavioral questions 

Review common behavioral interview questions and use the STAR technique to answer them. Common STAR interview method questions focus on soft skills like communication, collaboration , leadership behaviors , or problem-solving. 

For instance, you may be asked to describe a time you disagreed with a team member or talk about a time you resolved a work-related conflict . Both questions assess your communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills.

More tips to ace your STAR interview

Ready to put the STAR interview technique into practice? Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind: 

  • Use the STAR method to answer behavioral questions, like “Can you share a time when…” 
  • STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result and is meant to help you structure your answers to those questions.
  • The benefit of the STAR method is that it should help you provide clear and concise answers — be specific, but don’t get caught up in the details. 
  • You can prepare to use the STAR method by reflecting on past accomplishments that are relevant to the role you’re interviewing for.
  • Don’t forget to practice your answers ahead of time!

Mastering the STAR interview method

This simple yet powerful method will help you ace your next interview by delivering compelling answers that show employers you’re the right person for the job. 

If you’re planning your next career move, BetterUp can help. Our world-class coaches offer guidance and support to help you during this transition.

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Erin Eatough, PhD

Director, Labs – Go-to-Market

How to answer “Tell me about a time” questions with confidence

The 9 types of interviews you should know about, find the best candidates with a structured interview, 35 behavioral interview questions to ask in your next interview, 33 questions to ask a hiring manager in an interview, 5 problem-solving questions to prepare you for your next interview, 6 ways interview coaching can help you land your dream job, take the initiative: a how-to guide in 10 steps, 25 performance review questions (and how to use them), similar articles, how to use motivational interview questions to drive change, how to ace situational interview question every time, land a promotion: prepare for these internal interview questions, 6 tips on how to answer promotion interview questions, the pomodoro technique: how a break can improve productivity and well-being, answer “what’s your greatest accomplishment” with ease, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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Join Mind Tools

Article • 9 min read

STAR Method

A model approach to nail your next interview.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

star problem solving

"Can you tell me about a time when you…" is a phrase that can strike fear into interviewees. Your mind goes blank, you get flustered and blurt out the first ill-thought-out example that comes to mind.

Fortunately, the STAR Method can prepare you to answer this type of tricky interview question effectively. And, as we'll see, you can also use the framework beyond interviews to help you identify, reflect on, and demonstrate positive behaviors in other areas of your work life.

What Is the STAR Method for Interviews?

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result . It's a framework developed to prepare for and answer competency-based questions in interviews.

Employers ask behavioral-based questions to understand how you've dealt with issues and challenges in the past – and to predict how you'll likely react to situations in their workplace. They're also used to assess whether you have the skills and knowledge needed for the role.

When you use the STAR Method, you draw from real-life work experiences, and communicate them clearly to your interviewer. Let's look at each step in turn.

The Four-Step STAR Interview Method

Competency-based interviews ask open-ended questions designed to reveal how you approach and overcome workplace challenges. Think of the STAR technique as the structure to tell a story that demonstrates your skills .

  • Situation: start by setting the scene for your example. Here, you outline a specific challenge you faced and give the interviewer some context. For example, you could name a project you worked on, where it took place, and the size of your team.
  • Task: this is where you explain your role in the situation. Again, give a few brief details. For example, were you the leader? What was your goal? What were you tasked to do?
  • Action: now you explain what you did. Be specific and explain how you overcame the challenge. Outline the steps you took to resolve the situation. Even if it was a team effort, explain what you did and lead with "I" instead of "we" to detail your approach.
  • Result: finally, summarize the effects of your actions. Mention specific results in your answer, and, if possible, talk about facts, figures and stats that quantify your success. You can also discuss what you learned and share insights that you can apply to future challenges.

How to Answer STAR Interview Questions

Let's look at a STAR Method example, and answer a classic interview question: "Describe a problem that you faced at work – and how you dealt with it."

Situation: "In my last job as a studio manager, two of my designers left just after we landed new business with a big client. Our first deadline was in four weeks!"

Task: "I didn't have time to recruit new designers, given the tight timescale. So, as well as manage the studio, I had to step in and do some of the design work and hold weekly progress updates with the client."

Action: "First, I revised my task list and delegated as many jobs as possible to my studio assistant. For example, they set up job descriptions for the new roles and liaised with recruitment agencies. I also reached out to freelancers I knew, to plug the gaps until we found new hires. With that, and a few late nights, we hit the deadline for our first campaign. It brought in a much-needed $15,000 for that quarter."

Result: "The client loved our work. Now, they account for 40 percent of our business. The situation also taught me to keep a bank of freelancers. I looked into our work culture, too. Exit interviews with the employees who left revealed that they wanted more learning opportunities. So I now take a greater role in making learning and development part of our company culture."

At each stage of the STAR model, career coach Michael Higgins [1] recommends that you:

  • Be specific to engage and convince your interviewers.
  • Be concise to hold their attention for every question.
  • Finish on a positive note to leave a strong impression.

Prepping for Behavioral Interview Questions

Recruiters want to see beyond your resumé to understand how you have behaved in work situations. They're looking for a combination of knowledge, skills, and attributes. These usually fall under common competencies such as teamwork, leadership and decision-making.

You can use the STAR approach to turn your experiences into answers for almost any question that comes your way.

Following the tips below will give you a bank of answers you can turn to.

You'll find examples of typical questions in our article How to Answer Interview Questions .

  • Update your CV/resumé using the STAR Method as a guide. This will enable you to create more compelling applications for future jobs, and then better articulate past achievements in an interview. Tell a story that illustrates how you put your training and experience to practical and effective use in the workplace.
  • Review the job description and match up your skill sets using the STAR framework, so that you can later illustrate them in the interview. You should also research the company and industry to which you're applying, to help predict the types of challenges they face. Where have you experienced and resolved similar issues?
  • Look for the similarities between behavioral interview questions. The wording of questions may be different, but they will be looking for evidence of the same behaviors. For example, with some tweaking, you can apply the same STAR answer to: "Tell me about a time when you had to rely on a team to get things done," and "Think of a time when you worked effectively in a team situation."
  • Practice your answers in front of a mirror or get a friend to interview you. That way, talking about your achievements will come more naturally. And you'll learn how to flex and adapt your bank of answers to fit almost any competency-based question.
  • Be honest. Don't be tempted to use the STAR Technique dishonestly or to exaggerate your skill level . You'll come unstuck if you're hired and later called on to put those skills into practice.

The STAR Technique for Hiring Managers

Use the following tips to make best use of the STAR method if you are interviewing candidates:

  • Match your questions to the role requirements. Spend time considering the competency level and behavioral skill set you want to see. The more specific you are, the more effective your STAR interview questions are likely to be.
  • Take a balanced approach. Don't base too much of the interview around the STAR technique. Or you may end up clear about how the candidate might react in certain situations, but have little idea of who they are as an individual.
  • Allow for nerves. If a candidate is struggling to answer a STAR interview question, don't be afraid to reframe it slightly. This can encourage them to get over their anxiety, and to better communicate their knowledge and experience.

Looking Beyond STAR Interviews

The ability to reflect on – and articulate – your successes is also useful outside of the interview room. For example:

  • Self-reflection. Use the STAR method to help recognize your strengths and weaknesses anytime, to build your confidence and aid in plotting your career. Similarly, a Personal SWOT Analysis identifies opportunities and obstacles in your life, based on your talents. This can point your career in a direction that plays to your strengths and away from your weaknesses.
  • Reframing negative thoughts into positive ones. The STAR approach can also be used to create affirmations . And studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the U.S. [2] support the idea that repeating positive statements about your successes will improve your outlook and build your resilience.
  • Giving feedback. If you're a manager, coach or mentor, you can use the STAR technique to support people so they can recognize their strengths , boost their confidence and develop themselves.


Check out our STAR Treatment infographic .

star problem solving

The STAR Method ( Situation, Task, Action and Result ) is a framework to help you to prepare, reflect on, and answer behavioral interview questions effectively. It's not a tool to memorize "perfect answers." Rather, it's a skeleton key to unlock your strengths and experiences.

If you're a recruiter, understanding the method enables you to uncover the skills, behaviors and knowledge required for a particular role.

Use the STAR Technique at any time to help yourself (and others) to recognize strengths, build confidence and think more positively.

[1] The Guardian. (2014). ‘Using the Star technique to shine at job interviews: a how-to guide’ [Online]. Available here . [Accessed December 18, 2020]

[2] NCBI. (2016). ‘Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation’ [Online]. Available here .

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Systems Tools for Assessment and Response (STAR) Program

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The STAR Program offers training and coaching opportunities for development professionals seeking to address complex organizational problems

The STAR approach empowers teams and individuals to resolve barriers to organizational goals. Using the STAR framework, local government officials and non-profit teams have tackled data collection challenges and uncovered new engagement strategies for key stakeholders.

STAR tools combine elements of Lean thinking - an approach often applied in corporate contexts that can help reevaluate resource constraints - with stakeholder analysis and participatory research methodologies.. The approach embeds communication within the analysis and solution-finding process to map stakeholders and seek diverse perspectives. It allows participants to explore and re-imagine individual and institutional stories.  

STAR walks participants through a set of steps to resolve development sector challenges

What is the simplest definition of the problem?

How do you trace this problem to its source, or root cause? 

What are the factors that keep this problem in place?

What are your immediate next steps toward a solution? 

How do you get the right stakeholders on board to achieve this solution? 

Learn how consultants who participated in the intensive STAR Training Program 2021 began using these tools:

STAR PROGRAM: Problem Solving in the Development Space  

STAR Offerings

STAR Coaching Coaches works with a team of 1-4 colleagues to identify and explore a problem. The team members can be from one or more organizations, but they must have a shared problem to address. Format: Virtual, Live, or Hybrid Duration: Weekly 1-2 hour meetings over a 5-7 week period

STAR Problem-Solving Workshop A team of Stanford STAR Facilitators and STAR Coaches works with a group of 15-20 participants from one organization or related organizations to dig into problems specific to them.  Format: Virtual, Live, or Hybrid Duration: Weekly 1-2 hour meetings over a 4-6 week period

Case Study Simulation Workshop  The Case of Kila Simulation allows participants to explore a fictional situation, based on real-world scenarios in the development sector. Participants learn problem-solving skills by interacting in their designated roles in the Case of Kila. This Simulation can be offered as a free-standing workshop or as an additional component combined with the STAR Problem Solving Workshop.  Participants: From 6 to 24 Format: Virtual or Live Duration: Flexible, ideally 5-6 hours over 2-3 sessions, adaptable to suit client needs

STAR Coach Training  Are you a development consultant interested in learning new skills? Become a STAR Coach through the intensive STAR Training Program. This training develops skills and provides materials that can be used when working with public, private, and non-profit clients. Participants are selected through a rigorous application process once a year. Dates for 2022 to be determined.  Format: Virtual Duration: 12-week program with a time commitment of 5-6 hours per week

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STAR Facilitation Team

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Rachel Cardone

Rachel Cardone is the Deputy Director of the Program on Water, Health & Development and lead course designer and author of the STAR Program materials. She has over twenty years of experience working at the intersection of policy and practice with public, private, and non-profit organizations on strategy, program design, management, and evaluation. Previously, Rachel was a co-creator of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has a BA  from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

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Jay Bakst is a co-creator of the STAR Program and brings specific expertise on Lean thinking to the overall course design. He is a practitioner of continuous improvement, project management, and applying technology to solve real world problems. An expert in manufacturing processes and process improvements and a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Jay is a PMP and certified in Critical Chain Project Management. He works with diverse private, government, and non-profit organizations to improve their operations to become more effective at serving their customers.

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Heather McRae-Woolf

Heather McRae-Woolf coordinates the STAR Program and provides expertise in communications and human-centered design. Heather has served as a facilitator and manager in non-profit, for-profit, and government settings. For more than a decade, she worked as an administrator and consultant for school districts across the United States. Heather holds a BA from Yale University and an MA in International Affairs from The New School. She is also an instructor of mindfulness and self-compassion practices for teens and families. 

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Carrie Heron

Carrie Heron supports the STAR Program through specialized training on how to work with clients in a coaching relationship, with a particular emphasis on addressing power dynamics inherent in problem solving. She is an inclusion and organization effectiveness facilitator, coach, and consultant with over 20 years of experience designing and implementing equity and inclusion interventions. Carrie has a BA from Tufts University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington.

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Using the Star technique to shine at job interviews: a how-to guide

Here’s our guide to using the Star technique when answering questions in competency-based job interviews

  • Looking for a job? Explore the range of vacancies on Guardian Jobs and find the perfect role for you

There are many types of interviews, from the free flowing to the formal, but one that you are likely to come up against at some point is the competency-based interview.

They’re designed to make the job application process as objective as possible, removing any conscious or subconscious bias by the interviewer by asking each candidate the same questions. Some people feel this type of interview is more stilted – there can be less opportunity to build rapport. However, they are very common, especially in large organisations and the public sector, so it’s worth refining your technique.

The questions will be driven by a competency framework that’s required for the job. For example, a marketing executive may require problem-solving skills, or a job in customer services may require conflict management skills.

The interview questions tend to start with a variation of, “Tell me about a time when…” This may sound simple but, in the heat of the interview, it’s easy to give an unstructured answer, miss out key details, or let the story peter to a halt.

One way of avoiding this is by using the Star acronym to structure your response. Here are two examples of how to implement the technique:

A candidate for a marketing executive role might be asked: “Tell me about a time that you solved a problem to a tight timescale.” Here’s how you could structure your response:

S ituation – set the context for your story. For example, “We were due to be delivering a presentation to a group of 30 interested industry players on our new product and Stuart, the guy due to deliver it, got stuck on a train from Birmingham.”

T ask – what was required of you. For example, “It was my responsibility to find an alternative so it didn’t reflect badly on the company and we didn’t waste the opportunity.”

A ctivity – what you actually did. For example, “I spoke to the event organisers to find out if they could change the running order. They agreed so we bought ourselves some time. I contacted Susan, another member of the team, who at a push could step in. She agreed to drop what she was doing and head to the event.”

R esult – how well the situation played out. For example, “Stuart didn’t make the meeting on time but we explained the problem to the delegates and Susan’s presentation went well – a bit rough around the edges but it was warmly received. Stuart managed to get there for the last 15 minutes to answer questions. As a result we gained some good contacts, at least two of which we converted into paying clients.”

There are a few things to note with this response: it’s important to speak in specific rather than general terms and quantify your success. In this example, we mentioned 30 delegates, the names of the people involved and quantified two contacts converted to clients. From a listener’s perspective, this makes the story more interesting and they are more able to gauge your success. Nameless figures and undefined successes can make the answer less feel less convincing. Secondly, as there are likely to be many questions and interviewers have short attention spans, it’s important to keep your answers concise: convey the maximum achievement in the minimum time. Finally, it’s important to finish on a positive note so the overall impression is strong.

In a second example, a candidate for a customer services role is asked: “Describe a situation when you had to deliver excellent customer service following a complaint”

S ituation: “A customer rang up complaining that they’d waited more than two weeks for a reply from our sales team regarding a product query.”

T ask: “I needed to address the client’s immediate query and find out what went wrong in the normal process.”

A ctivity: “I apologised, got the details and passed them to our head salesperson, who contacted the client within the hour. I investigated why the query hadn’t been answered. I discovered that it was a combination of a wrong mobile number and a generic email address that wasn’t being checked. I let the client know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order.”

R esult: “The client not only continued to order from us but posted a positive customer service tweet.”

Used at its best, the Star structure is invisible to the listener and it simply comes across as a well-articulated example. Create a bank of answers in this format in advance, so don’t struggle to do it on the day and can make it appear as seamless as possible.

Michael Higgins is a career coach at This is My Path and is author of Pit Stop: A Career Workbook for Busy People .

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How to use the STAR technique for interviews

August 3, 2023

Two men seated at a desk and engaging in coversation. They appear to be in workplace setting and there is refreshments on the table next to them.

Source: nappy/pexels

What is the STAR interview technique?

The STAR interview method is a technique job seekers can use to answer behavioral and situational interview questions.

In the realm of job interviews, a traditional question-and-answer format is often followed by hiring managers. However, there is a growing trend of incorporating behavioral interview questions, which prompt candidates to provide specific examples such as "Tell me about a time..." or "What do you do when..." or "Give me an example of...".

These behavioral interviews are designed to evaluate a candidate's suitability for the role by assessing their past performance, as it serves as a strong indicator of future success.

Facing a barrage of questions in an interview can be daunting, particularly when dealing with behavioral and situational inquiries. Luckily, the STAR method can help you in preparing for and responding to these types of questions.

In this article, we'll delve deep into the STAR interview response method, explaining its use and how job candidates can apply it to confidently navigate and ace their upcoming interview.

  • What does the STAR acronym stand for?

Why is the STAR technique useful?

How to answer interview questions using the star method.

  • Examples of STAR method interview questions
  • Find your next role with Airswift

The acronym STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result

The STAR method is designed to help you create a cohesive story with a clear outline of how you handled and resolved a problem. In other words, your answer for each behavioral question should follow the same basic pattern.

Here is what each step in the STAR acronym represents:

Think of the STAR technique as a mental outline that helps you to stay on track when responding to behavioral interview questions. By following the outline, your answers will be more coherent, concise, and impressive to your interviewer.

Breaking down your answer into four parts can provide the interviewer with a deeper understanding of your communication skills, leadership abilities, flexibility, and ability to handle difficult situations.

Here are some of the ways the STAR interview method can be useful to job seekers

  • It allows you to provide compelling answers to each question in a logical, easy-to-understand way.
  • It enables you to demonstrate any technical and soft skills, qualities, and work experience to the interviewer by means of concrete, "bite-sized" examples from your past.
  • It also helps you to engage your interviewer more fully by describing your qualifications within a narrative framework. In other words, it allows you to become a teller of your own story.
  • Not only, is STAR useful for interviews, but it can also help you prepare cover letters and job applications in a way that highlights your strengths

A man and woman seated at a desk across from each other. Both are dressed in professional attire and appear to be engaging in a job interview.

Using STAR answers is extremely versatile. No matter what question the interviewer throws at you, you can almost always frame your response in terms of the STAR method. Here's just one concrete example of how you can put it all together.

Let's use "Tell me about a time when you had to use your management skills in order to complete a project on time." as an example of a STAR behavioral interview question.

In this instance, you could respond by relating the answer to a specific work situation by following the structure in the table below:

As you can see, applying the STAR interview approach doesn't have to be too complicated. However, it does require some forethought.

Here are some helpful tips to effectively answer STAR interview questions:

Provide relevant examples.

Use examples that are directly relevant to the skills and qualities the employer is looking for. Customize your answers to showcase your fit for the role.

Prepare in advance

Thoroughly review your resume and think about past experiences that align with the job requirements for the role you're interviewing for. Practice answering some common interview questions with a friend in a mock interview session. 

While having a storytelling element is important and can make your responses more memorable, be weary or straying away from the point. Stay focused and avoid providing unnecessary detail. 

Share measurable results

Whenever possible, include quantifiable outcomes to demonstrate the effect of your actions and enhance the credibility of your responses.

If needed, seek clarification

If there is any confusion about a question, it is advisable to ask the interviewer for clarification before attempting to answer.

Using the STAR format in your next interview

The STAR approach to answering interview questions is a great way to mentally outline your responses to behavioural interview questions. It allows you to demonstrate your skills and experiences, qualifications, and abilities within the framework of a story.

Here are some examples of STAR method interview questions you might be asked:

Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult team member. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?

Describe a situation where you had to meet a tight deadline. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the task on time, and what was the result?

Can you share an example of a problem you encountered at work and how you went about solving it? What were the actions you took, and what impact did your solution have?

Have you ever faced a challenging situation with a customer? How did you handle it, and what was the end result?

Tell me about a time when you had to lead a team through a major change or transition. How did you approach the situation, and what were the outcomes?

Describe a successful negotiation you were involved in. What was your approach, and how did you ensure a positive outcome for all parties?

Have you ever had to deal with a conflict between team members? How did you address the situation, and what steps did you take to resolve it?

Tell me about a situation where you had to work with a diverse group of colleagues to accomplish a shared goal. How did you collaborate, and what were the outcomes?

Describe a time when you had to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. How did you prioritise and manage your time and what were the results?

Have you ever faced a setback or failure in a project? How did you react?

For more tips on finding a job, check out our jobseekers' guide.

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Of course, in order to use the STAR technique in your next interview, you first of all need to land your next interview! That's where we can help.

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This post was written by: Rob Jones and Firaz Hameed, Recruitment Directors at Airswift

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Transformation of Resistances (Star to Delta and Delta to Star)

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Transformation of resistances is a key tool in solving many problems related to equivalent resistance around a given circuit, etc. It reduces the math work and acts as a bonus while problem solving in competitive exams.

Star and Delta formations of Resistances

Delta to star transformation, star to delta transformation, question section (beginner), question section (intermediate), question section (advanced).

In this section we will understand what are star and delta formations of resistances and also try to identify them in simple circuits.

Star and delta formations of resistances is a standard 3-phase circuit or network of resistances connected in the same way as their name suggests.

Star formation of resistances looks like this:

Delta formation of resistances looks like this:

The key to solving problems is to identify them in a simple circuit.

In this section we will convert Delta formation of resistances to Star formation resistances.

Here is the formula for transformation-

\(R_{12} = \frac{R_1.R_2}{R_1+R_2+R_3}\)

Note that the above formula is cyclic in nature hence it works the same for \(R_{23}\) and \(R_{31}\).

Show that \(R_{12} = \frac{R_1.R_2}{R_1+R_2+R_3}\) Lets consider the resistance from \(A\) to \(C\): \(R_{AC,left} = R_2\) in parallel with \(R_1 + R_3\) \(R_{AC,left} = \frac{R_2 (R_1+R_3)}{R_2+R_1+R_3}\) \(R_{AC,right} = R_{12} + R_{23}\) Equating the two: \(\frac{R_2 (R_1+R_3)}{R_2+R_1+R_3} = R_{12} + R_{23}\) Similarly: \(\frac{R_3 (R_2+R_1)}{R_3+R_2+R_1} = R_{23} + R_{31}\) \(\frac{R_1 (R_3+R_2)}{R_1+R_3+R_2} = R_{31} + R_{12}\) Adding the first two equations, and subtracting the middle equation gives: \((R_{31} + R_{12}) + (R_{12} + R_{23}) - (R_{23} + R_{31}) = \frac{R_1 (R_3+R_2)}{R_1+R_3+R_2} + \frac{R_2 (R_1+R_3)}{R_2+R_1+R_3} - \frac{R_3 (R_2+R_1)}{R_3+R_2+R_1}\) \(2R_{12} = \frac{2R_1R_2}{R_1+R_2+R_3}\) \(R_{12} = \frac{R_1R_2}{R_1+R_2+R_3}\) QED

In this section we will convert Star formation of resistances to Delta formation resistances.

We will do this by finding equivalent resitances in place of resistances given in the problem.

For example,

In order to replace \(R_1\) and \(R_2\) (See Star formation) in the given diagram we will be there equivalent, that is \(R_{12}\) (See Delta formation).

\(R_{12}=R_1 + R_2 + \frac{R_1.R_2}{R_3}\)

Prove that \(R_{12}=R_1 + R_2 + \frac{R_1.R_2}{R_3}\) This is the same setup as in the previous setup, with the resistors renamed as follows: \(R_1 \rightarrow R_{23}\) \(R_2 \rightarrow R_{13}\) \(R_3 \rightarrow R_{12}\) \(R_{23} \rightarrow R_1\) \(R_{13} \rightarrow R_2\) \(R_{12} \rightarrow R_3\) So, the general results of the above proof become: \(R_{3} = \frac{R_{23}R_{13}}{R_1+R_{13}+R_{12}}\) And similarly: \(R_{1} = \frac{R_{13}R_{12}}{R_1+R_{12}+R_{23}}\) \(R_{2} = \frac{R_{12}R_{23}}{R_1+R_{23}+R_{13}}\) So, \(R_1 + R_2 + \frac{R_1R_2}{R_{12}} = \frac{R_{12}(R_{23}+R_{13})}{R_{23}+R_{13}+R_{12}} + \frac{R_{13}R_{12}R_{23}R_{12}}{R_{23}R_{13}} \) \(R_1 + R_2 + \frac{R_1R_2}{R_{12}} = \frac{R_{12}(R_{23}+R_{13}+R_{12})}{R_{23}+R_{13}+R_{12}} \) \(R_1 + R_2 + \frac{R_1R_2}{R_{12}} = R_{12} \) QED
Find the equivalent resistance in the given circuit diagram (in terms of \(R\))- In order to solve this question, we will transform the circuit and apply the formula side by side- Notice the highlighted area in the circuit, and then observe the change. Can you identify this transformation (Is it Star-to-Delta or Delta-to-Star)? Next we will do the same to the other side of the circuit. It will look like this- Now observe- Congratulations! We have transformed a complex looking circuit into a simple circuit we can easily solve. Wasn't that easy? Note that the method shown in this example is not the only way to solve the question. Try transforming other points, make your own way. Overall answer to the question is \(\boxed{\frac{2R}{3}}\).

Now we are capable of solving questions related to transformation of resistances.

Find the resistance between A and B if each resistor measures 1\(\Omega.\)

Determine the resistance in ohms between the points A and B (equivalent resistance) of the circuit shown below. All the values of the resistances are given in ohms.

Above shows an arrangement of resistors. Each resistor has a resistance of 1 ohm. Calculate the equivalent resistance of the arrangement

If the equivalent resistance between points \(A\) and \(B\) of the circuit above is \(R_{eq}\) in ohms, find \(\lfloor 10^3 R_{eq} \rfloor\).

In the figure below, all resistors have resistance \(R=1~\Omega\). Find the equivalent resistance in Ohms between the points A and O.

What is the equivalent resistance (in Ω) between \(1\) and \(3\) in this circuit, to 2 decimal places?

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