How To Use the STAR Method During Your Interview

How To Use the STAR Method During Your Interview

Coming up with an answer to an interview question may seem difficult, but there’s a simple way to craft your answer. Using the STAR method, you can come up with a concise yet insightful answer that checks all the boxes. Learn more about this method and explore how to use it during your next interview.

What is the STAR Method?

STAR is an acronym for situation, task, action, and result. When a hiring manager asks you a question, you should ensure your answer covers each step. Although this method applies to a variety of questions, it applies best to behavioral questions.

For instance, the hiring manager might ask you how you would handle a disagreement with a coworker. With the STAR method, you would first explain the situation, talk about your role, discuss the action you took, and give the results.

You can use the STAR method to prepare answers to common interview questions. However, the method is also useful for answering any unexpected questions during the interview. Even though you might spend hours preparing for an interview, you might encounter a question you’re not ready for. Rather than giving a short answer that doesn’t satisfy the interviewer, you can give a detailed response that shows them your value.

Examples of Questions You Can Answer with STAR

Here are some common interview questions you might need to answer. For all of these questions, the STAR method is highly effective:

Talk about a time when you didn’t agree with your employer, and explain how you resolved it.

How would you deliver bad news to someone?

Talk about a time when you had to collaborate with a different department to complete a project.

Give an example of a failure you experienced and talk about what you learned.

Talk about a time when you achieved a challenging goal.

Give an instance when you needed to persuade a colleague or client to do something.

Discuss how you once handled a conflict with a colleague.

Have you ever needed to motivate your coworkers? If so, how did you succeed?

How STAR Works

To better understand the STAR method, you need to break down each step. It’s like building a story using an outline. Here’s a closer look at each aspect of the acronym:


If you’re writing a book, you need to give the readers an idea of where everything takes place. Answering an interview question is similar in that you need to set the stage. Talk about where this situation takes place and any other relevant details.

By forgetting this step, you leave the hiring manager in confusion. They won’t have enough context to appreciate your role, actions, or result.


Typically, the situation you’re describing involves multiple people. It’s important for the interviewer to understand your specific role and what your employer expected of you. To talk about your task or role, you should bring up the goal of the situation.

Don’t elaborate too much on your task, because the focus of your answer should be on the action and result. One or two sentences should be enough to describe your task.


It’s crucial to explain what actions you took to resolve the situation. To do this in the clearest way possible, outline your actions in steps. Be sure to use the pronoun “I” and not “we,” so it’s obvious that you were the one to handle the situation. You should go into great detail when you talk about your actions.


While talking about your actions gives the interviewer insight into your abilities, the results are even more impactful. After you talk about your actions, explain the outcome with two or three details. For instance, you may have had a satisfied customer or better sales conversions. If possible, outline the results with metrics. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the hiring manager to see your worth.

Preparing to Use the STAR Method

Now that you’re familiar with the STAR method, you can get ready for your interview. The

method alone isn’t enough to ace your interview; there are a few steps you should take to improve your answers and your outcome.

First, read the job description and write down a list of buzzwords or important skills. When you answer interview questions, you should use the skills or words. This will remind the hiring manager that you’re a good fit for the position.

Next, you should review some common interview questions. Think about how you can answer them using the STAR method, and take notes. Write down your answers to several common interview questions and analyze them. Does your response satisfy STAR? More importantly, does your answer show the skills the hiring manager is looking for? If you have a friend willing to help, ask them to look over your answers.

If you don't have any professional experience, you can answer the questions based on other scenarios. You may have volunteered your time or collaborated on group projects in college. If you're applying for an entry-level position, the hiring manager won't expect you to have professional experience. As long as the situation relates to the question, you can use it.


It’s not enough to just write down and memorize your answers. If you want to truly impress the interviewer, you should also practice your answers out loud. Say them in front of the mirror until you feel comfortable. Be wary of sounding too rehearsed, or you won’t come across as natural.

By practicing your answers out loud, you improve your confidence. It reduces the nerves that often come with interviews, and this in turn increases your chances of a job offer.

Don't Stress

Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to avoid stress. If you're intimidated by the STAR method or by the ideas of an interview, take a few deep breaths. It's not as difficult as it seems and your preparation will go a long way.

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