(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.