If you’re a soon-to-be graduate or looking for a placement, the idea of facing job interviews can be daunting. It’s natural to feel nervous and under pressure when sitting in front of a potential employer but remember that you are not alone in this experience. Thousands of other graduates are going through the same process as you.
Ultimately, the aim of the interview is for employers to find out if you have what it takes to handle the role. You can easily prove your abilities using the STAR method when asked ‘behavioural’ interview questions.
This method breaks down your responses into Situation, Task, Action, and Result, allowing you to provide concrete examples of how you’ve handled situations in the past. In turn, you can effectively demonstrate your capabilities and prove that you’re the right person for the job.
Here are some examples of behavioural interview questions:
- Can you describe a time when you worked with a difficult colleague and how did you handle the situation?
- Can you give an example of a time when were forced to work under pressure and how did you handle the situation?
- Can you provide an example of a time when you were faced with a complex issue and how did you resolve it?
- Can you describe a situation where you had to lead a team and what actions did you take to ensure everyone was on task and met their goals?
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to manage conflicting priorities, and how did you decide what to prioritise?
Understand the SITUATION
First thing’s first is to identify the situation you wish to talk about in relation to an interview question. Employers want details, so be prepared to disclose the time, place and people involved so that the interview can visualise the circumstances.
When choosing your specific situation, think about the skills and experiences that the employer is looking for in a candidate. If the job requires strong problem-solving skills, consider discussing a situation where you have successfully solved a difficult problem. If the job requires teamwork, think about a situation where you collaborated effectively with others.
Once you have identified the situation, give a brief overview of the context and explain why it was significant. You should also describe any challenges you faced during the situation, as this will demonstrate to the employer how you deal with on-the-spot issues.
Define the TASK
Next, describe the task or challenge you faced in more detail (without complicating the story). This is where you explain what specific task you had to complete and what your involvement was in the situation.
For example, if you were part of a team working on a university presentation project, you might describe your role as undertaking research to present to the group.
Outline your ACTIONS
The next step is to outline the actions you took to address the situation and achieve the set task.
Begin by explaining the specific actions you took in response to the situation. For instance, if you were faced with a challenging customer service issue, you might describe how you actively listened to the customer’s concerns, apologised for the issue, and then worked collaboratively with them to identify a solution that met their needs.
It’s also important to describe the skills and resources you utilised during this process. This could include communication skills and problem-solving skills. When describing your actions, be sure to use active verbs that convey your leadership and initiative, such as “identified,” “collaborated,” or “implemented.”
Deliver the RESULT
The final step is to describe what happened as a result of the actions you took to address the situation.
- Did you achieve your goal?
- Were there any unexpected outcomes?
Sharing concrete results will demonstrate the impact of your actions and showcase your abilities. It’s also important to highlight any lessons you learned from the experience and how you can apply them to future situations.
Written by Laura Bill, who works for Inspiring Interns. Inspiring Interns is the first recruitment company to use the innovative technique of video CVs to place young jobseekers into employment. Since their founding in 2009, they have placed over 7,500 graduates into the workplace, as well as providing useful advice for recent graduates and employers.