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How to Interview like a S.T.A.R

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

by #ProjectDisplaced Guest Contributor, Naomi Myers

So you have submitted an application, possibly many applications and you have been invited for an interview. Congratulations, this is the first hurdle!

The outfit is sorted, you have a plan for ensuring how you will get to the location on time or prepped an appropriate background for your online interview. What’s left? How can I prepare for the actual interview? What will they ask me?

Generally the interviewer will give you an opportunity to introduce yourself. Keep it short and sweet, avoid reciting your resume line-for-line (they’ve already read it) and tell them what they need to know and make sure you remain positive in your choice of words. Whilst many of us are “struggling” in isolation we need to remember that interviews are an opportunity for us to showcase the best of ourselves. Keep the conversation positive, and focussed on what you bring to the role, and why you’re a great fit for the job and their business.

The next part of the interview will be all about your skills and experience. Revisit the advertisement and see what skills are referenced. This is your biggest clue!

Depending on the role and the level of seniority the skills will vary. However there are some core competencies that are required in most roles and they were addressed in a previous blog and highlighted as transferable skills. These skills are customer service, communication, computer, problem solving and team-work skills.

S.T.A.R. interviewing is a particular technique that enables you to clearly demonstrate your actions in previous situations that has resulted in a successful outcome.

In short, S.T.A.R. is an acronym for the following:

Be Specific

Identify the Task

Identify the Action

Explain the Result

The interviewer is likely to ask a question like;

“Tell me about a time that you resolved an issue for a difficult customer”

S — Approximately 2 months ago, I had a customer complaint in the restaurant that I was working in as a supervisor.

T — The customer was threatening to write a bad review on Trip Advisor and was really upset. I asked the lady what she was upset about as she was ranting and very angry. She explained that the meals that had been ordered by the table of 10 had been delayed and the waiter was rude and didn’t seem to care.

A — I asked the customer lots of questions and listened to all of the concerns that she raised and apologised profusely for the inconvenience and the embarrassment of the situation as she was the hostess of the group. She immediately calmed down. As a gesture of goodwill, I offered to waive the cakeage fee that the restaurant usually charges for cutting and serving birthday cake which came to a cost of $20 out of a $520 check.

R — The lady was thrilled with this gesture and appreciated the time taken to listen and understand her complaint and wrote a 5 star review on Trip Advisor the next day.

This example demonstrates a recent example, identifies the role of the candidate, shows strong listening and empathy skills (key in all customer service roles) and a fabulous outcome. It also demonstrates an approach to customer service that is commercial and not about giving lots of free product to the customer. Of key importance is that the interviewee (candidate) did not rely on their manager to resolve the complaint but was able to make the example all about them and their actions.

5 top tips for S.T.A.R Interviews:

  • Keep your examples recent, this indicates that your behaviour is current

  • Be clear and succinct in your verbal response, this demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively

  • Make sure your response is all about you, not your team or your manager!

  • Listen to the question and make sure you cover the key component

  • Ensure your example is commercial

Practice makes perfect. If you want to practice this style of interviewing, contact Project Displaced and for a consultation specifically targeting preparing for an interview We have loads of experienced HR consultants and recruiters to support you in all aspects of securing your next role! You can instantly book a job interview preparation session for free, at a time that suits you, 7 days a week. Visit our website or Facebook page to make a booking.

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Naomi Myers is an Organisational Development professional with a strong background in hospitality and recruitment. Passionate about culture, people and leadership, Naomi enjoys supporting others, problem solving and seeing others succeed. Currently stood down from her current role in the Club industry, this is an opportune time to give back and share some of the experiences and networks that have been established throughout her career.

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