Many employers use a behavior-based interview approach based on the premise that past
behavior (performance) predicts future behavior (performance). Clear and concise responses
to behavioral questions that highlight your background and your strengths will set
The STAR method provides a logical approach to answering interview questions by using one of your
past successes in responding to the question.
The four steps to the STAR method are:
1. S Situation Describe the situation you were in: general or specific
2. T Task What goal were you working toward?
3. A Action What action did YOU take? (focus on YOU, use I not WE)
4. R Result What was the result or outcome of your action?
To demonstrate that you possess a particular skill give the interviewer specific examples
of when, how, and where you used that ability, AND, what was the positive result of what
you did? Did you help save money, increase efficiency, save time, increase sales, improve
client relations, or increase profits?
The following steps outline an effective way to prepare for behavior-based interviews…
- Analyze the type of positions for which you are applying and identify what skills
- Analyze your own background. What skills do you have that relate to the job objective?
- Identify examples from your past experience that demonstrate these skills.
- Whenever possible, quantify your results. Numbers or specifics help to make your case.
- Be prepared to provide examples of when results did not turn out as you planned. What
did you do then? What did you learn? How would you do things differently today?
Behavioral Interview Questions
How do you define leadership? Describe the most recent time when you demonstrated
your leadership skills.
Listening is a valuable tool. Describe a time when good listening skills helped you overcome
a communication problem.
- Describe a situation in which you identified a problem and explain how you resolved
it (root cause investigation, recommending a countermeasure, follow-up, etc.)
- Describe a time when you made a decision that was unpopular with the other members
of your group. What was the end result?
Give me an example of a complex process/situation you had to describe to someone. What
specifically did you do to make sure the information was clear?
- What has been the most challenging written assignment you have had? What made it challenging?
- How do you determine if the work you do is a quality job? What are some ways that
you have improved the quality of your own work?
- Give an example of a team decision in which you were involved in recently. What did
you do to help the team reach the decision?
- Have you ever been in a group situation in which one of the members was unproductive
or uncooperative? How did you handle it?
- Give an example of a time when you did more than what was required in your job.
- We all know that some problems just don’t have solutions. Tell me about a problem
you tried to solve but couldn’t.
- Describe a situation that required you to handle multiple tasks at one time. What
did you do?
- What is your procedure for keeping track of items that require your attention?
- We have all had times when we just couldn’t complete everything on time. Describe
when this has happened to you. What did you do?
- What has been one of the most difficult decisions you have had to make on the job?
What facts did you consider? How long did it take you to decide?
- When (if ever) have you delayed making a decision to give more thought to the situation?