STAR Method: our complete guide to shining in job interviews

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Olivier Croce

Olivier Croce

Founder & Managing Director

Published on




When it comes to job interviews, the STAR method is an essential tool for recruiters and candidates alike. This technique, renowned for its simplicity and effectiveness, enables us to structure our answers in such a way as to highlight our skills and experience in the most relevant way possible.

In this article, we'll explore the STAR method together, focusing on how it can turn a job interview from a mere formality into a real opportunity to shine. Whether you're looking for your next professional challenge or trying to find the ideal candidate for your company, the STAR method is proving to be an invaluable tool.

We'll break this method down step-by-step, providing concrete examples and practical tips for successful application.Our aim? To provide you with all the keys you need to make the STAR method your asset in any interview situation.

We hope you've packed your sunglasses!

The STAR method demystified

Those paying close attention will have noticed that STAR is an acronym. But what exactly is the acronym for?

The answer is simple: each of the letters in the word STAR cuts out a step in an answer. Let's imagine that a recruiter asks you to review your career path. Rather than launching into a chronological sequence, the STAR method can be applied as follows:

Situation: Here, we start with the context. This is where you set the scene for your anecdote. This part is crucial, as it allows the other person to situate themselves within the framework of your story. For example, if you're talking about a professional challenge, start by describing the work environment, the team you were working with, or the specific project you were working on.

Task: Having established the context, it's time to talk about the specific task you had to accomplish. This is the time to clarify your role and the objectives you were assigned. Were you tasked with leading a team, solving a complex technical problem, or managing a difficult customer?

Action: This is the heart of your story. Here, you detail the concrete actions you took to address the task. The emphasis should be on what you, personally, did. It's important to show how you approached the situation and what strategies you put in place to achieve your goals.

Result: At last, we come to the conclusion of your story. What were the results of your actions? It's essential to illustrate the impact of your efforts, preferably with measurable results. For example, did you increase sales, improve team efficiency, or solve a long-standing problem?

The "STARized" response thus leads to an answer of the type :

‍Situation: After graduating from XYZ University with a degree in marketing, I began my career at ABC Corp, a fast-growing technology company, as a marketing assistant.

Task: My main task was to develop and implement digital marketing strategies to increase the company's visibility and generate leads.

Action: I took the initiative of launching several targeted social media campaigns, optimizing our website for SEO, and working closely with the sales team to align our marketing strategies with their needs. I also set up a tracking system to analyze the effectiveness of our campaigns.

Result: Within a year, my efforts led to a 25% increase in web traffic and a 15% rise in qualified leads. This success led to my promotion to Marketing Manager, where I was able to broaden my scope and make an even more significant contribution to the company's growth.

Using this structure, you can build a complete, coherent answer that demonstrates not only your problem-solving ability, but also your ability to think in a structured way and communicate effectively.

Another major advantage is that the STAR method avoids generalization. This helps candidates to stand out from the crowd, by showing specific examples of their skills and achievements.

‍Sohow do you (properly) apply this method?

For candidates: prepare your answers

  1. Identify key experiences: Before the interview, think about professional situations in which you have excelled. Choose varied examples that show a range of skills and achievements.
  2. Tailor your answers: Tailor your answers to the position and company to show that you've done your research and understand what's expected!
  3. Be specific and concise: Provide precise details without getting bogged down. Your answers should be detailed enough to illustrate your expertise, but concise enough to maintain your interviewer's interest.

For Recruiters: evaluate them

  1. Ask open-ended questions: Encourage candidates to share detailed experiences by asking open-ended questions that require more than a simple "yes" or "no".
  2. Look for clarity and relevance: Listen carefully to ensure that answers follow the STAR structure and are directly related to the skills and experience required for the job.
  3. Evaluate results: Pay particular attention to the 'Result' part of the answers. This will give you valuable indications of the candidate's ability to generate positive results.

Pitfalls to avoid?

  1. Lack of specific details: A common trap is to give answers that are too vague or general. Be sure to provide specific details that clearly illustrate your skills and achievements.
  2. Too many details: Conversely, too many details can drown out important information. Focus on the most relevant elements of the story.
  3. Omit a STAR component: Each STAR component is crucial. Omitting any one of them can render your answer incomplete.
  4. Scripted answers: While it's a good idea to prepare your answers, they shouldn't sound recited. Keep a certain spontaneity to appear authentic.

By mastering the STAR method, you equip yourself with a powerful tool for navigating the professional and personal world with confidence. It's a skill that, once acquired, will serve you throughout your career.

We hope this article has provided you with an in-depth understanding of the STAR method and inspired you to adopt it in your communication and development strategies!

Meanwhile, if you need advice or dedicated support in recruiting, hiring or developing your teams, we're here to help ☞