The STAR method

Use the STAR method to plan your answers to interview questions and to show your skills and experience on a CV or application form.

What STAR stands for

  • situation - the situation you had to deal with
  • task - the task you were given to do
  • action - the action you took
  • result - what happened as a result of your action and what you learned from the experience

When to use STAR

You can use the STAR method in your:

How to use STAR

You can use the STAR method to structure the examples you give to questions, especially in interviews. You can use it to highlight particular skills and qualities you have that the employer is looking for.

When using STAR, remember:

  • you can use examples from work, home or volunteering
  • keep examples short and to the point
  • try to get your points across in a conversational way so as not to appear too rehearsed
  • be prepared to answer follow-up questions about the examples you give

Example 1

Tell me about a time when you have shown leadership skills.

Situation - in my previous digital marketing job, the company wanted to get more people to sign up to a newsletter which was not receiving a lot of attention.

Task - my job was to find a way of getting more people to sign up.

Action - I organised a meeting with other important members of the marketing team to come up with creative ideas, and I led the social media campaign to generate interest in the revamped newsletter.

Result - over a period of 3 months, there was an 25% increase in sign-ups to the newsletter and the approach I took was used by the management team in other departments.

Example 2

Give me an example of when you faced a problem at work. How did you handle it?

Situation - I was working in a florist shop with the manager and we were arranging an order of flowers for 2 weddings. The manager, who had taken the order, had mixed up the customers’ addresses and the flowers were delivered to the wrong venues.

Task - I had to get the flowers to the right place and apologise to the customers.

Action - I told my boss that I would deal with the mistake, leaving her to take care of the shop. I spoke to both customers on the telephone to explain, and reassured them that we would put things right straight away. I drove to both venues, swapped the flowers in time and apologised in person. I gave both customers a voucher for a bouquet as compensation.

Result - the customers were grateful that we had acted quickly. Later on, they both came back to the shop to spend their vouchers and have since recommended us to their friends.

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