Dissecting the STAR approach for behavioral & situational interview questions

In our last webinar focussed on interviews, we had a very engaging mock interview session. During this session, we asked few questions to the audience & shared our feedback on improvement. One common characteristics that emerged from the discussion was the non usage of STAR approach while addressing situational questions. In this article, we will focus on STAR approach in detail.

STAR refers to Setting a situation (S), Describing your task (T), detailing your involvement & action (A) and explaining the results (R). Whenever there is a situational or behavioral question asked in your interview, structuring your answer using STAR approach will help you communicate your thoughts concretely. Now, let us look at few examples of situational or behavioral & situational interview questions for better understanding.

  1. Explain a situation where you made a mistake & how did you overcome the situation
  2. Give an example where you had to manage a project
  3. Explain a situation where you faced a failure & how did you overcome
  4. What will you do to get things done from a colleague who is not very supportive
  5. Explain a situation where you had to handle customer escalation

A possible response (STAR Approach) for the first question can be as below,

While I was working as a business analyst during my tenure at ABC company, it came to my attention that business understanding of a key metric was incorrectly captured by the development team. Since it was towards the end of the project, incorrect information would mean wrong results. After confronting the mistake, I further deep dived on the metric & corrected the logic by taking support of the team. Furthermore, I had to take support of management & appraise all the stakeholders about the project delay by 2 weeks. It was a good learning experience where I learned the importance of getting into the finer details & documenting the meeting discussions.

Here, in the above example, you can clearly see that the situation is explained & the response is provided in detail for the user to understand. Following your response, the panel might ask you (if required) to further understand your thought process & experience. During an interview, it is quite natural to start speaking immediately once a question is asked. However, do make sure you understand the question & if it is a situational / behavioral questions, remember STAR to make your life easier.

Good luck! We have some exciting webinars lined up. Do check out the same in our website.

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