You are currently viewing Simplifying the Job Search Through Trust When You’re over 40 Years-old:  Success is in the STARS (Don’t forget the last “S”)

Simplifying the Job Search Through Trust When You’re over 40 Years-old: Success is in the STARS (Don’t forget the last “S”)

(This is part 4 of The Sher Way to “Simplifying Your Job Search through TRUST” which is an acronym for Take Inventory, Resume, Understanding Social Media, STARS, Trust the Process)

When I was learning to drive a car, Jack Riley, my instructor taught me to take the following action when changing lanes, “Signal, mirror, blind spot, drive. When I first started doing it, I was uncomfortable and stressed about taking my eyes off the road and would often drift a bit before changing lanes. But, like with all important skills, I practiced until I was comfortable with it and it still periodically saves me from hitting someone riding in my blind spot. In simple terms, process works!

Interviewing, like driving, can be stress-inducing. The STARS process for answering interview questions gives you confidence and allows you to respond with clear and concise answers. It allows you to tell a good story, remain on point and it prevents you from drifting and rambling through a long, hard to follow answer.

STARS is an acronym that stands for:

Situation: This is the introduction or set-up for your story. You need to set the stage regarding the issue at hand and the challenge that you were presented with.

Task: This is where you set yourself up as the “hero” of the story by presenting the challenge you were facing and what you needed to do to address it.

Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation. A big mistake often made is that people describe what they would do instead of what they actually did. Another mistake is talking about what “we” did instead of what “I” did. This shouldn’t be about the team. It’s about you! If you’re concerned about sounding self-centered you can discuss the team’s goal and your specific actions to achieve it.

Results: It’s the bottom-line. Regardless of the position you’re going for, the hiring manager needs to know you’re about delivering results. You need to be clear about the outcome of your actions. If the results weren’t good, that’s okay as long as you explain what you learned and what you would or did do the next time you were in a similar situation.

So What? This is where you have the opportunity to explain to the interviewer why you are presenting this example and how it pertains to the job you are interviewing for. You want to paint the picture of you in the role the hiring manager is recruiting for. Make it easy for them to see you as the right person for the job.

STARS is a great way to have tremendous impact during your interviews. Impact that will separate you from the competition. And one last tip. Always remember during the interview, it’s not about you… it’s about what you can do for the hiring manger, the department and the company.

Ken Sher

Ken Sher is an Career Coach and Executive Coach who focuses on the whole person when helping them with professional or personal issues they are trying to manage. Ken's areas of expertise include job search, career management and leadership development. If you would like to reach out to Ken, please call him at (215) 262-0528 or visit his web site at

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bruce W Clagg

    “S.T.A.R.”- designed responses may be older than I am and that’s saying a lot. Job interviews have not changed in centuries. They remain “interrogations” whereby the interviewer(s) ask the same 32 stupid questions they’ve been asking for years. It’s not enjoyable, it does not expand anything, and neither the interviewer(s) nor the candidate end with the information they really need to make a good decision. Let’s change the format into something that we are all used to…a meaningful conversation! No one is used to, or comfortable with being interrogated. How, you might ask? Begin as early as possible, as the candidate, asking sharp, pointed, business questions! Executive love that! After that exchange, pause two seconds and if the interviewer(s) doesn’t speak, ask another. Obviously, your questions must be prepared and they will differ somewhat between your future boss and someone from HR, or another department. Preparation and execution. You’ll find, at “the end,” BOTH parties gained more valuable information and the candidate separated from those that appear to be more ‘qualified’ in print! – Bruce

    1. Ken Sher

      Hi Bruce,

      I think I replied to you through LinkedIn and overall I agree with your comment. Ultimately, the most successful interviews are conversations between two equals rather than the “interrogation” interviews often are. Still, I think the elements of STARS hold true in a conversation. The process allows for story telling in a interesting and concise way. Everyone likes a good story and it, hopefully, clearly depicts the value one can bring to the role. Thanks for your comment.

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