HOW TO GIVE CONVINCING ANSWERS
Did it ever happen to you during an interview that you listed every single reason why you were exactly the right candidate for the job? Did you get caught up in details that had nothing to do with the actual question simply because you wanted to seize the opportunity by all means? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many candidates fall into this trap, especially when they are very nervous.
One method that can help you give appealing and well-structured answers in an interview is the so-called STAR technique. "STAR" stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. If you adhere to the structure of this model, you can convey the most important information with your answer without going too deep into details.
Using the STAR technique in your interview
Many questions in job interviews (especially competence-based ones) aim at making you prove the skills mentioned in your CV. The STAR technique is an excellent way of dealing with such questions and providing the interviewer with the information he or she needs without straying from the subject. For instance:
“You mention here on your CV that you have excellent verbal communication skills. Can you describe a time these skills were put to the test?”
Firstly, set the scene so that the interviewer can understand why your skills were needed in this situation:
“When I was working at X, the company launched a brand new product which should be presented to our customer's marketing manager.“
In the next step, explain your task/role in this situation and which of your skills you had to apply.
“As the leading sales representative for this product, I was commissioned with the presentation giving the customer an understanding of the unique selling points of our product and its advantages for his company. On the morning of the presentation, I was informed that two of our client’s sales directors wanted to sit in on this presentation too.”
Now explain what action you took during this task, and how this action involved your skills.
“So, I adapted my communication style and language during the presentation in order to address different kinds of people at the same time. For example, I avoided technical jargon and used simpler language than usual. By this, I made my presentation understandable for both marketing and sales experts.”
Next, talk about the outcomes of your action, and how your skills created a positive result.
“As a result of the successful presentation, I secured an initial order for this product, which increased our monthly revenue by 25 per cent. In addition, my presentation generated some great feedback from the two sales directors in particular.”
That’s why STAR works
If you answer questions in interviews adhering to the STAR technique, you will not digress. In addition, your structured answers will tell the interviewer a story and thus maintain interest.
Furthermore, the STAR technique helps you to direct your thoughts fully to the question asked. This leads to a more informative and significant answer and consequently to a much more satisfied interviewer. If you practise the technique before the interview and prepare some scenarios, you will automatically internalise all your skills and professional successes. This will give you extra confidence.
Before the interview, take another look into your CV and deal with the different types of questions your interviewer is likely to confront you with. Practice adhering to the STAR technique when giving your answers. Always keep the structure of the technique in mind – especially once you are in the room where the interview will take place. Then you can answer every question comprehensively without digressing and prove that you are suitable for the respective role.