Star Interview Questions

star interview questions

The typical introductory job interview poses a variety of questions. Categorically, these inquiries are designed to assess the experience, interest, communication skills, creative thinking abilities, motivation, and cultural alignment of an interviewee to ensure a best-fit hire. 

Some common interview questions are straightforward: These include experiential inquiries, in response to which a candidate will list educational and professional histories. Other questions are more nuanced, requiring the candidate to deliver a more complex and illustrative answer. Behavioral questions, critical to understanding if an interviewee is an appropriate fit for the workplace, necessitate thoughtful responses which demonstrate an amount of self-awareness and situational analysis the candidate possesses.

Here is an overview of the STAR approach to interviewing and why you need behavioral questions in your mix.

What are behavioural interview questions?

Behavioral interview questions assess how a potential hire has responded in an array of real professional scenarios. Candidates are required to share verifiable examples of specific situations they have encountered which have required them to use certain skills. 

Behavioral questions ask candidates to tell a story, giving them a prompt to which they must respond. They begin like this:

  • “Tell me about a time when…”
  • “Please describe a situation wherein you had to…”
  • “Have you ever…”
  • “Give me an example of…”

It can be difficult in the moment to know how best to answer. An answer has the potential to be either too long with excessive unnecessary detail, or too short with an inadequate amount of information. In light of this problem, many job seekers are implementing a technique known as the STAR method to help them perfect their answers.

What is the STAR method interview technique?

STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is an acronym which describes a storytelling format ideal for answering behavioral interview questions. A candidate is posed a question, and using the STAR format will answer in order:

  • The Situation, describing the scenario in which they found themselves, and giving context to their actions. 
  • The Task, the end goal or desired outcome of the situation. 
  • The Action, efforts made on the part of the candidate to address the scenario. 
  • The Result, the ultimate outcome, or culmination of the candidate’s work in this situation. 

STAR method interview questions, sometimes called STAR format interview questions, require a candidate to analyze their own actions in a given case, following the correlation between their behavior and the outcome. 

STAR technique interview questions

The STAR method is a great way for hiring managers and recruiters to assess behavior and culture fit in a potential new hire. Below is a list of example STAR technique interview questions which businesses may leverage to compile their own behavioral interviews. 

STAR interview questions for teamwork

  1. Please describe a time when you had to collaborate with a colleague whose work style was very different from your own.
  2. Tell me about a time when you struggled to form a relationship with an important colleague or supervisor. How did you eventually overcome this?
  3. Please describe a conflict you had with a colleague or supervisor. What actions did you take to resolve the disagreement?
  4. We all make mistakes. Tell me about a time you failed to communicate effectively with another member of your team.

STAR interview questions for adaptability

  1. Please describe a situation in which you were under a lot of pressure at work. How did you get through it, and what was the outcome?
  2. Tell me about the first job you ever held. What was your strategy for learning the requirements of the position?
  3. Tell me about a time when your team or company was undergoing some changes. What did you do to adapt, and how did this affect your team?
  4. Tell me about a time you failed. What did you do to address this failure?

STAR interview questions for communication

  1. Describe a scenario in which you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to help everyone involved understand you?
  2. Give me an example of a situation in which you had to describe a process, product, etc. to a frustrated client.
  3. Tell me about a time when you had to address a misunderstanding between you and a supervisor. How did you approach this misunderstanding, and what was the result?
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to interact with your team. 

STAR interview questions for client-facing skills

  1. Tell me about a time when a client was especially pleased with your work.
  2. Tell me about your most difficult client interaction.
  3. Describe a scenario in which you were overloaded with clients. How did you go about prioritizing your own work, while still delivering excellent service?
  4. Tell me about a time when your work did not meet the client’s expectations. How did you go about rectifying the situation?

STAR interview questions for motivation and values

  1. Tell me about your greatest professional achievement.
  2. Please describe a time when you were not happy with the results of your efforts. What do you think you could have done differently?
  3. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the requirements of your position.
  4. What has been the most difficult professional moment of your career? How did you push through it to get to where you are now?

STAR interview questions: Final thoughts

STAR interview questions are a great way for candidates and hiring managers to get to know each other through succinct and analytical storytelling. Using this method, businesses will be able to make best fit assessments easily, and hire the right employee every time. 

>> Download our Definitive Guide: 101+ Interview Questions to Hire Faster for more ideas on great questions to ask during the screening process.