Has this ever happened to you? Just when you thought your interview was going well, and you were even starting to enjoy it, the interviewer completely threw you off with a “describe this situation” question. Did you stumble and bumble before finally spitting out a sort of half-answer? If so, you’re not alone. But there is a better way. It’s known as the STAR method. Let’s walk through it using the sample question: What is a time you demonstrated leadership skills?

What Is the STAR Method?

The STAR method was designed specifically for this type of behavioral prompt question. It gives you a framework for your story, making it easier to stay focused and create a meaningful response.

STAR is an acronym for:

  • Situation: Build the scene, including just a handful of details.
  • Task: Describe your responsibility in that situation.
  • Action: Explain the action steps you took.
  • Result: Share what happened.

This easy-to-follow four-step process keeps your interviewer engaged while also helping her decide whether your story shows that you’re right for the job.

The STAR Method in Action

The first step in the STAR method is thinking of an applicable scenario. You can prepare a few different anecdotes ahead of your interview, since you won’t know for sure what will be asked. But for this example, we’re focusing on a time when you showed leadership. It could be at work, at school, or in a volunteer position.

With your scenario in mind, you’re ready to start with the Situation step. Use a few simple sentences to explain what was happening right then. Maybe you were at soccer practice. Were you on the field or in the locker room? Who else was with you? What specifically happened that called you to leadership? Let’s say two players got into a fight.

The next step is to talk about your Task. How did you end up in that specific situation? Were you on the team? Perhaps you were the team manager, or maybe you were the water boy. What were you responsible for in that moment?

Next, explain your Action. Leave out everything irrelevant and describe what action you took. Did you break up the fight? Call the coach? Help the two sides talk out their differences? Focus on your leadership skills.

The last step is the Result. Briefly describe the end of the story, taking care to connect your Action to the Result. Maybe you saved the day, or maybe you just made the team’s life a little bit easier. Either way, focus on how your leadership made things better.

The STAR method can take a bit of time to perfect, so try doing a few mock interviews to get comfortable. Once you nail it, though, you can use this method to answer any behavioral prompt type of interview question.

If you’re ready to take the first steps into your future, contact Pro Resources today.