Job interviews tend to make most candidates at least a bit nervous, but being as prepared as possible can help you handle them with confidence. Answering questions in a concise, yet informative manner can be challenging if you are anxious, but especially so when the interviewer is asking for you to describe a past experience. However, utilizing the STAR method can help you structure your responses in a way to keep you from inadvertently rambling or not giving enough relevant information. Learn more about using the STAR method in a job interview:

  • Situation:

When the interviewer asks you to “Describe a time in which…”, first focus on providing the background on the situation you will be using as your example. This is the part where you talk about the necessary context the interviewer will need to understand the situation. Say when and where it occurred, who else was involved, and any other relevant details.

  • Task:

Once you have given the necessary background, transition into explaining the task for which you were expected to complete. Give a one to two sentence description of your responsibility in that example.

  • Action:

Then, describe the actions you took in order to accomplish the task. Be specific about the steps in the process.

  • Result

Finally, conclude your response by explaining the end result of the situation. This includes what you learned or achieved.

Example response using the STAR Method:

For example, if the interviewer asks about a time in which you made a mistake and how you handled it, you could describe the situation like, “At my first sales job, I really wanted to prove myself, and so I did not like to ask questions. (Situation). I was told to contact a specific past client and schedule a demo of a new product (Task). I tried to figure out how to use the product on my own without asking for help and gave the presentation (Action). I ended up fumbling through the demo and not making the sale. I then came to the realization that being afraid to ask for help was only going to hurt my performance and reputation. Next time I met with my boss, they answered all my questions. The next demo I scheduled with a client, I did much better and ended with a sale (Result).

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