The STAR technique refers to the format or structure that interviewees use to answer behavioral questions. STAR here is an acronym that stands for situation, task, actions and results, thus summarizing the structure of your work experience. Interviewers normally use this format to gather as much information as possible about your capability for a given role. This article will look at some behavioral questions that you should expect in interviews and guide you on answering them using the STAR technique.
1. Tell Me About a Time When You Demonstrated Leadership Skills
Most employers are looking for people who can lead. Remember, leadership is pretty different from being a boss since wheres one inspires, the other rules. Using the STAR technique, clearly mention whatever happened, what you did, and the outcome.
We were once tasked with executing a project. We did not have a good grasp of the subject but decided to do it anyway, making a few mistakes in the end. Our company’s management was not impressed with the results. I decided to take the onus on our performance, admitted that we tried our best but could improve if given another chance. The management was pleased that we owned up and gave us another chance which we aced.
2. Tell Us About a Conflict You Had with a Coworker. How Did You Solve It?
It would be best if you were careful when handling such behavioral questions. Take into consideration that this particular one has two parts. Your answer should, therefore, correctly highlight the conflict and also show how you resolved it. Like we mentioned in the first question, make sure that you clearly mention the outcome.
A team member once felt that my way of tackling a project was wrong. He came off a bit harsh. Instead of getting mad, I politely asked him if he had a better suggestion. He tabled what he thought, and we had a conversation as a team. We settled for his idea and recorded better results.
3. Tell Me About a Time When You Disagreed with Your Supervisor
Disagreements are common, especially in team settings. You may be opposed to someone’s approach to things or their management style. However, that does not mean that there must be bad blood between you. Mention an experience where you disagreed with your supervisor by highlighting what happened, how you tackled it and the end results.
My supervisor once asked me to do something that went against the job policies. I declined, citing that I was not allowed and would lose my job if I got caught. He kept on pressing me and issuing threats, which I did not like. I reported to the overall supervisor, who took the necessary action. He never came back with such requests again.
4. How Do You Normally Approach Problems? Walk Us Through Your Process
What do you usually do when faced with problems? This behavioral question assesses your problem handling process. It would help if you convinced the interviewer that you could handle challenges without panicking and offer solutions to the problems you will face in the workplace. Make sure that your answer is a process, just like the question demands.
I am a good problem solver. Whenever I come across problems, I take time to reflect on them and think. I then brainstorm some possible solutions and aven involve my former workmates if necessary. After listing all the solutions, I settle on the easiest to execute and that which will give me the best results.
5. Tell Us About a Time When You Had to Say No
It comes a time when you have to be assertive and say no in the workplace, be it to a fellow employee or your supervisor. This question is therefore testing your assertiveness, ability to draw boundaries, and communication skills. Walk the interviewer through your experience, and do not forget to include the outcome for your answer to be complete.
In my former workplace, an employee who had been given several warnings on being late asked me to cover up for him after the last one. Being a person of high integrity, I refused, and he was later dismissed. Even though I felt terrible for some time, knowing that I had done the right thing helped me overcome the guilt.
6. Tell Us About a Time When You Had to Build a Rapport With a Client Despite Having Different Personalities
This is a pretty standard behavioral interview. Can you go above and beyond to create good relationships with clients? Remember, companies or organizations depend on conversions to make profits. Therefore, you must be ready to go out of your way to bring clients to the organization.
I am a quiet, reserved person. However, in my last job, we finally had the chance to get through to a client we had eyed for a long time. He was a pretty lively person who was the life at the party. I had to go out of my way and discover a game he loved playing. I then hung around the golfing course, had a few conversations, and finally built rapport before convincing him to join our company. This was the most significant conversion we ever made.
7. Share With Us an Experience Where You Motivated a Fellow Worker
The interviewer is testing your ability to work with others in team settings. Can you motivate and bring the best out of your fellow workmates? Your ability to influence other people around you will ensure that you fit well in any team setting. Remember to mention the outcome after your motivation.
One of my fellow workmates once shared that she was tired and thinking of quitting her job when we were in the middle of a project. When I asked her why she told me that she felt demotivated. I urged her to think about some of the successes she had experienced in her career and even invited her to one of my motivational talks. She managed to pull through and give her best till we completed the project, after which she happily resigned to pursue other ventures.
8. Tell Us About a Time When You Managed to Handle a Difficult Situation
The interviewer wants to know how you usually handle challenges whenever they come up in your job. Think about when you dealt with a problem and overcame a challenge. Remember, you can also give an experience that taught you a few things about your craft and helped you improve your work.
One of my team members quit when we were in the middle of a project. We were only three, and the remaining two of us already had a lot on our plate. However, I sat down with the other member and agreed to equally divide the remaining work and work overtime until we completed the project. We managed to finish right in time.
9. Have You Ever Made a Mistake? How Did You Solve It?
Mistakes are common, especially since we learn from them. The interviewer is also human and therefore understands that we all make mistakes. Your worth as an employee lies in how you handle errors and the lessons you learn from them. Show that you are accountable and can obtain valuable insights from your mistakes.
I once forgot to check up on one of my clients, as was the norm after therapy. She later relapsed and almost harmed herself were it not for the sister who caught her in the nick of time. I apologized to the family and offered to give her free additional sessions. I monitored her till she was mentally stable. (Remember, your experience will depend on whatever you are interviewing for)
10. How Do You Work Under Pressure?
Can you handle the pressure that comes with the particular position? The interviewers want to know some of your strategies whenever you have a lot on your plate. This is particularly common if your job involves lots of stress. We advise you to give a specific answer highlighting an experience where you managed to work well under pressure, but first confirm that you can indeed work in such situations.
I can work exceptionally well under pressure. I once undertook a project whose deadline was in guilty days. However, the client later changed the deadline to 20 days which threw me off a bit. I eliminated some of the dispensable activities that I had planned and even worked overtime to ensure that I completed the project in time. I managed to do it in 19 days and even left a day for thorough revision.
11. Tell Us About a Time You Made an Unpopular Decision and Implemented It
One of the downsides of being a manager or leader is making decisions that may not be popular with everyone. Your answer should tell the interviewer that even though you decided to press on with the decision, you took great care to communicate with the other employees and even increase your support.
I once took over management of a small restaurant where the employees were allowed to step in for one another without prior communication with the management. It brought about lots of uncertainty, and therefore, I decided to develop a policy requiring that any change be communicated with the management first. As you can expect, it did not please the employees, but I managed to make them see the problems of the other approach.
12. Has Your Workday Ever Ended Before You Did Everything that You Planned To? Give Us an Experience
The interviewer wants to know about your commitment to the job, work ethic, communication skills, and prioritizing ability. There are times you may not be able to handle everything that you planned to at the beginning of the day. Therefore, give an experience where you either worked overtime, took some work home, or came in early the next day to finish up.
I once planned to finish a product design that I was doing for a client by the end of the day. However, I had an emergency and couldn’t finish by the anticipated time. I had to work overnight and delivered it the next day by the agreed time.
13. How Do You Normally Stay Motivated In Repetitive Jobs?
Repetitive jobs can get boring and therefore demotivating. You must have a way of going about such positions to help you constantly push yourself and give your best. Here the interviewer is testing your motivation and passion for the job. Please do not give them a reason to doubt you.
First of all, I love repetitive jobs. However, whenever I start feeling bored, I look for new possible challenges within the assignments, solve them, and keep my motivation up.
14. Tell Us When When You Had to Work With a Rule that You Disagreed With
Every job has its rule and policies, some of which you may not agree with. However, you are expected to follow them and conform to whatever the job needs as long as you are still an employee in the particular workplace. This is a chance to show the interviewer that you can follow the rules within the organization.
My last workplace demanded that every change, however, small had to be officiated by the entire management. I felt that the policy wasted a lot of time, which could be saved doing something else. However, I had to agree with it and did strictly as required until it was changed a year later.
15. Describe a Situation Where You Had to Go Above and Beyond to Ensure that a Piece of Work Was Done
You should be ready to do everything in your power to ensure that you are successful at your job. Therefore, giving such an experience will convince the interviewer that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get work done.
I once started working on a project but kept on receiving updates now and then. The client, however, refused to add more time, forcing me to work past my regular hours and into the night. I managed to finish the job 4 hours earlier.
16. Tell Us About When You Had to Deal with an Angry Customer
This is a common question in interviews that is usually asked to determine whether you have people skills. Can you stay professional when handling an angry customer?
I have dealt with lots of such customers. One once came up to me angry because of a change in price that he was not aware of. I treated the situation calmly, apologized, and walked him through why there was a price increase. He finally understood and even apologized for being angry before.
17. Tell me about a Time When You Anticipated Potential Problems and Came Up with Preventive Measures
Can you anticipate problems and come up with solutions to cushion them? This is a chance to convince the interviewer just how much you value succeeding in your work.
I once anticipated a power failure when working from home, given that part of where I lived had experienced a blackout two days ago. I was working on an important project and could not, therefore, entertain such an occurrence. I made arrangements for generator fuel, which pushed me when I experienced a power failure a few hours later. I was able to complete the project without any hiccups.
18. Give an Example of When You Decided to Take Initiative and Lead
Employers want people who can take the initiative when everybody coils back in fear. This is especially important for management positions. Give an experience where you volunteered and decided to lead a project to success.
We were once tasked with a project, but no one wanted to be the group leader. I decided to take up the role, guided the project to its completion, and achieved impressive results.
19. Tell Us About a Goal You Set and How You Managed to Achieve It
Are you a goal setter? How do you usually plan to achieve your goals? Clearly highlight the goal, plan, and the necessary steps you undertook to achieve it.
I managed to exceed our set sales target by 50 percent in the first quarter of the year. It was an uphill task that any area representative had not achieved in five years. I joined the sales team, directly interacted with customers, and increased our reach. We exceeded the sales limit by 70% instead of 50, which happened to be my most significant achievement.
20. Tell Us about a Goal that You Didn’t Achieve
This is quite similar to the last question, just that the situations are different. The interviewer wants to know how well you can handle failure or disappointments. You can also mention what you learned and some of the things you would do differently.
In 2016, I planned to save $(write the value). However, I ran into several emergencies throughout the year that made it a pipe dream. This experience taught me always to keep an emergency fund.
We have come to the end of our article. I hope that you have found great recommendations that will help you ace your interview.