Career Success Center : Interviewing 101

The S.T.A.R. Method

In today’s job market, employers ask questions that are geared towards gaining insight on how you behave. This is called “Behavioral Interviewing.” They believe past performance is the best indicator of future performance. Therefore, during the interview, you could be asked to provide specific examples that highlight skills you say you have and those that are necessary for the job.

When answering, leave out any negative information. In order to shine and stay on track, we recommend that you use the "STAR" method when answering: ST for situation/task, A for action, and R for result. Have three to five positive work related stories you can talk about. Be short and concise, without rambling. Know what you want to say and where your message is going.


Question: Have you ever lead a team before?

Situation/Task: “Yes; a relevant example being at my last company, where I was initially a software developer, on a team of six.  We developed a new finance module for our core accounting product.  The project was critical as launch dates had been set with a lot of sales and marketing investment riding on the product being ready.  However the project was behind schedule, when our team leader unfortunately became ill, and had to leave."

Action: "I was the captain of my college’s baseball team and I loved the challenge and responsibility of leadership, so I volunteered to fill in.  By using my technical analysis skills, I spotted a few small mistakes that were causing sporadic errors and slowing us down.  Therefore, I negotiated with our product director, and got a small bonus incentive for the team – approval for two pizza evenings.  With that, we could pull a couple of late night shifts to correct the coding and catch up with the critical project landmarks."

Result: "Though this took us 1.5% over budget, the software was delivered on time with a better than target fault tolerance. The project was seen as a great success as the additional project cost was minimal compared to the costs of delaying the launch, and the negative affect on our product branding. The team members were delighted with the extra bonus and as a result, I was officially promoted to team leader."