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Best Job Interview Tip: You're the STAR

Recently, I consulted with a job seeker who had completed an interview, and was informed by the company that they were interested in a second interview. The good news: the company was now considering her for a management position rather than the initial technician position. The bad news: she was unsure what to expect during the second interview. She didn't think she was prepared for an interview that would focus on a different set of skills. However, if you learn the STAR method of interviewing, you'll realize that most job interviews are pretty much the same...and you can be successful each and every time. 

What I will share with you are the five key steps to being a STAR in the interview. These five steps are appropriate for behavioral interviews, group interviews, phone interviews, second interviews - - it doesn't matter. Most interviewers want to hear the results of your actions. If you understand this, then you're one step ahead of the rest. 

If it's difficult for you to explain your work-related results and tie them to the reasons why you're the right person for the job, then the interviewer will mark your candidacy as "not a good fit." The STAR method of interviewing provides a way to respond to all interview questions and it's outlined below: 

STAR = Situation or Task Action taken Results achieved 

I recommend an additional step to the STAR method so you can explain how the results you've achieved in one company will transfer easily to another company. You want the interviewer to think, "yes, I can see how her management skills will work in our company." 

Here are the five steps to help you achieve STAR status during the job interview: 

1) Describe a Situation or Task you had to solve: "One of my customers was unhappy with our XYZ widgets." 

2) Add some detail to describe your direct involvement: "I was responsible for dealing directly with our department's major clients and so, I was charged with turning the situation around for this unhappy customer." 

3) Explain your key Action steps: "I contacted the customer directly and requested feedback. I authorized a refund or future discounts to this particular customer." 

4) As a Result of your action steps, what happened? "As a result of the refund and discount, the customer increased their orders by 25%." 

5) Then explain how you will be able to achieve similar results within the interviewer's company: "I understand that your company values customer satisfaction, and I believe that I have the necessary skills to succeed in your company. The situation that I just described provides a good picture of my customer service capabilities." 

The five steps can be switched around, if necessary; however, the key is to be able to list specific results that were gained. Most importantly, the results have to be tied directly to your action steps. If you're prepared and focused, you're more likely to be a STAR in the interview...and get the job.

Pamela Watson is offering a Free Interview Guide to all job seekers at . For 20 years, Pamela has provided career and job search advice to numerous professionals and college graduates. She has a Master's degree in HR Development (Columbia University), and is a member of Coachville, Association of Coaching & Consulting Professionals, and Electronic Recruiting Exchange Network.

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