You are a STAR! How to tell interview stories in an impactful way

In recruiting, a key principle of assessing a candidate is the belief that past behaviors are most predictive of future behaviors.  Therefore, as a candidate seeking a role,  preparing yourself by developing strong answers to behavioral interview questions that ask you to “tell me about a time when….” will give you an opportunity to successfully market yourself to employers and make meaning of some of your past experiences–how you approached problems, worked through them and engaged in the work.    

These “tell me about a time when…” questions, (also referred to as scenario questions), offer you the chance to demonstrate, with a specific example, a time you have had proven success around topics such as: teamwork, leadership, conflict, and time management. You may draw upon examples from your education, work experience, volunteerism, and involvement to deliver your answers.

Using a framework, such as the STAR (situation, task, action, result) technique, to organize your examples ensures that you answer the specific question asked and keeps you from going off on tangents that are irrelevant to your audience.

You don’t have to wait until you have a scheduled interview to think about your relevant experiences and to develop STAR stories.  Check out the links below for more information on developing your STAR stories.  Be on the look out for workshops in Handshake that link to this topic, and schedule an appointment with your coach to practice the STAR technique, even before you schedule your next interview.


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By W. P. Carey Career Services Center
W. P. Carey Career Services Center