Kia Ora Whanau! Alex from Costas Enterprises here and hopefully I can help with the above questions!
Don’t have time to read?? You can listen to a copy of this post from my podcast the “Get a job and get healthy with Costas Enterprises” podcast on Spotify right here.
What is a STAR Example? Simply put, STAR examples are used as a base for providing answers to behavioral questions.
STAR examples stand for:
A lot of jobs these days use the STAR method to answer behavioural questions, but what are behavioural questions?? Behavioural questions are a way to assess if a future employee can show that they have the skills needed to do the job.
Behavioural questions will most likely appear in a panel interview. A panel interview is when you get interviewed by a panel of up to 3 to 4 people. Each interviewer will have their own set of 7 to 8 pages of questions.
Sounds a little intimidating right? it is semi-meant to feel that way. The future employer wants to see that you can recall an example from your life about when you used this skill.
An example of a behavioural question might be something like:
“The next question we ask is going to cover flexibility within the workforce. Can you tell us a time when you were required to switch between different roles? What did you do? Did you have any obstacles? What were these and how did you overcome these and what was the result?”
Each question on the interviewer’s page will sound quite long and will usually cover either 1 to 2 skills that the employer is trying to determine you have.
So … wait where does the STAR part come into it??
The STAR system is your way of actually answering these questions.
You need to create your own STAR examples for skills that you have identified that you have (remember we covered identifying skills a little bit in a previous post titled Before you apply for a job.), that the employer is looking for.
So you have a list of skills you know that the employer may ask you about, so now you have to look at creating your STAR examples.
Let’s break down what each letter means and how you would answer the above behavioural question.
S – Situation – When being asked a question the situation is you advising the interviewer about a time when you used the skill they are trying to find. To make this easier you might even almost semi-repeat the question back to the employer just adding a sentence. For example “A situation when I demonstrated flexibility within the workforce was …”
T – Task – This follows directly on from the above Situation. Think of this as the continuation of the situation. for example ste start of your answer may look more like “A situation when I demonstrated flexibility within the workforce was when I was tasked with working on two projects at the same time, these projects came with the following obstacles….”
A – Action – The Action is what it sounds like, this is the actions that you took to show you have the skill the employer is trying to find. For Example: “While I was working on project A, I was managing my time by adding all incoming requests into my calendar, when I was tasked with project B an obstacle appeared which was that I now had less time to dedicate to project A. The action I took was that I had a meeting with both project managers and explained that I would be willing to work on both projects however they have to provide me with X,Y and Z in order for me to meet the result”
R – Result – This is the Result of the Actions above. The result is your way of proving to the employer that you have the skills to do the job. For example “The result of this meeting was that I had informed both managers that I was only one person and that if they needed me to meet their deadlines I would need them to provide me with all of the data so I can maximise my time by using my time-management, communication skills I was able to be more flexible and adaptable in the workplace and now I am tasked with more responsibility.”
Extra Tip!!! Do Not Finish Reading Yet!!
I advise that add an L to the end of your STAR examples. Effectively making them STARL.
I have found that if you tell the employer the Result and then what you Learnt from the experience you are not only showing that you have the skill(s) needed but also that you actually thought about your answer.
L – Learnt – This is what you have learnt from the experience. There are a couple of reasons why you need to add this so just go with me on this …
- By saying what you learnt from the experience you are re-enforcing that you have the skill needed for the job and that you have actually thought about it
- The other advantage of adding what you learnt is to capture your audience. What I mean by this is you are kind of shocking/ waking up the interview panel a little and making sure they take note of what you are saying.
But I can only use STARL examples from work right?
NO! your examples do not have to be just from your work experience, these can be personal experiences as well and most times these can show your honesty and openness (two more identifiable skills) so don’t be afraid if you can’t show a work example for the question.
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