Idea in short

Adopting this technique helps to keep your answers focused and concise, whilst also encouraging you to touch on several different aspects of your past experiences in just one response. If used correctly, you will be able to demonstrate many different skills and qualities that you’ve shown in your career so far. However, there are also several common mistakes candidates make when using the STAR technique that can be detrimental to your application. Here are three things to avoid

Situation and Task – Being unprepared

As effective as the STAR technique can be, failing to prepare and fill in all the gaps will leave you scrambling to come up with a story on the spot. Generally, the same anecdote can be used to answer a range of different questions, so have a bank of situations in mind that you can refer to and apply to different scenarios the interviewer may throw at you.

However, you also want to avoid rambling and fluffing up the story when setting the scene and describing the situation and task. The interviewer doesn’t need to hear about any unnecessary details that won’t help to support your case that you’re a viable candidate. Provide enough detail to set the scene but avoid rambling.

Action – Not making it relevant

To use the STAR method effectively, it’s important to apply the situation you’re recalling to the role you’re applying for. Where possible, reference a skill or type of experience listed in the job description that’s necessary for the role, and come up with an example of a time you’ve demonstrated this in the workplace. But remember, always link your answer back to the question you’ve been asked, not the one you want to answer.

What’s more, your answers will likely have to change depending on the nature of the role you’re looking to get. For instance, if you’re applying for a senior position, make sure you reference your most relevant experiences, and avoid talking about less meaningful ones. And above all, keep integrity at the heart of your answers and avoid stretching the truth in your stories.

Result – Forgetting about the results

Speaking about the consequences of your action can be the most effective part of any anecdote you tell using the STAR approach. However, many candidates fail to acknowledge the importance of this section and will conclude by simply talking about what they did to resolve the situation. Recruiters will be just as eager to hear how your behaviour impacted your colleagues, the customers and/or the business.

It’s always useful to come armed with several quantifiable numbers or results that came as a direct result of your actions. This will be the best way to demonstrate to the interviewer the positive impact you can have in the workplace.

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