The STAR Method in recruitment: what is it and how to handle it?

the STAR method in recruitment

You applied for your dream position and received an invitation for a job interview. Full of hope, you went to the interview. From the beginning, everything is going smoothly – questions about your work experience and education are not causing you any major issues. However, you quickly hit a wall when it comes to assessing your soft skills. You struggle to provide a specific answer, get lost in your thoughts, and as a result, you fear that you’re jeopardizing your chances of getting the job. Fortunately, you can prepare for such questions! Get to know the STAR method and learn how to effectively navigate the recruitment process!

Behavioral Interview in Recruitment

Even the best, prestigious education and outstanding experience may not be enough if a candidate lacks the necessary soft skills required for a particular position. In today’s job market, skills such as effective team management, stress management, and conflict resolution are highly valued. It’s no wonder that recruiters are increasingly using a method called behavioral interview, which research suggests is one of the most effective recruitment techniques. It is a simple tool that allows for a better understanding of the candidate by assessing how they behave in specific situations and how they solve problems.

This interview technique serves as a significant source of information about a potential employee. It helps verify whether the information presented in the CV or cover letter is accurate. Behavioral questions typically require longer responses than traditional ones. Moreover, they refer to past events rather than purely hypothetical situations. They often focus on challenging and stressful experiences.

The behavioral interview is most commonly conducted using the STAR format. What lies behind this mysterious term?


What is the STAR method?

The STAR method, also known as the star method, is a tool used to verify a candidate’s competences and assess his or her behavior in particular, usually difficult situations. STAR is an acronym formed from the first letters of four English words: Situation, Task, Activity and Result. Each subsequent letter of the abbreviation denotes a certain part of the answer to the recruitment question:

  • S for Situation

Describe the problem that required solving specifically and briefly (in 2-3 sentences). Don’t make your statement too long.

  • T is for Task

Explain what your task was and briefly describe any difficulties you encountered while performing it.

  • A for Action

ell us what you did to achieve a specific goal, how you acted and what help you used. Describe your reaction and emotions while solving the problem.

  • R is for Result

Present the effects of your actions and the conclusions you managed to draw from the situation. Briefly discuss how you feel about the decisions you made and how you would handle a similar situation in the future.

The STAR method allows you to show your best side. Thanks to it, you can turn failure into success by presenting how the failure affected the candidate, e.g. caused a change in thinking or behavior, and thus improved his soft skills. The accurate use of the STAR method is especially important for people who do not have extensive experience. By using it in a conversation, they can emphasize their great competences and thus gain points with the recruiter.


Read also:

The STAR method in practice

Recruiter’s question: How do you cope with working under time pressure?

Candidate’s answer:

I think it’s quite good. (S) In my previous company I worked in design. It happened once that the client accidentally provided the wrong deadline. Halfway through the work, it turned out that instead of a month, I had two weeks left to hand over the finished project. (T) I had to fit a month of work into 14 days. In order to be able to complete the order, I gave up less important tasks that I could easily postpone, and I carefully divided what I had left to do for the next 2 weeks. (A) I focused as much as possible on the project, not thinking that the deadline was approaching. (R) My plan worked. By focusing only on what was urgent, I managed to finish the order on time. My conclusion is that it is not worth postponing tasks until the last minute, and a good plan is essential! By using the STAR method, you will not miss any important information. You will efficiently and factually present how you handled a specific situation. The STAR method is a great way to put your best foot forward during a job interview. Don’t be afraid to use it!

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