Monday, June 1, 2009

The Power of Your STAR Statements

The best way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. This is the concept behind Behavioral Interviews. Behavioral Interviews can be identified by the question format “Tell me about a time …..”.

The most powerful answers to behavioral interview questions take the form of STAR statements.

What is a STAR Statement?

STAR is an acronym for:
S/T = Situation or Task that you faced
A = Actions that you took
R = Results that you achieved

As stated in the previous article “Mandatory Requirements are Not Always Mandatory” I was able to secure a job with a healthcare company which had a practice of only hiring people who have five years of healthcare experience even though I had no healthcare experience.

Purpose of STAR Statements

In addition to anchoring your answers with examples in an interview, your accomplishment statements in the STAR format will be used as accomplishment statements on your resume. Create STAR statements for lessons you learned as well. These can be used to develop interview questions for you to ask to be sure you understand what you are getting into.

STARS to Include

In addition to your accomplishments, STAR statements should also be developed for the following:
• A time you took the initiative on an effort
• Something you failed at (the result will be what you learned and put into place so you never fail in that way again)
• Dealt with a difficult person
• Worked with a team
• Persuaded someone from a point of view or belief they held

How to Gather STARS

People tend to minimize accomplishments that came easy to them. In addition to documenting the accomplishments you remember, ask family, friends, teachers, and team mates to help you recall your accomplishments. Draw on your experiences from school, volunteer work, sports, as well as previous jobs held.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good, pithy article. What I particularly like about it is that the concept could also be applied in a situation where (for example, as a consulting firm) one is asked to give some credentials of previous projects completed. For example:

    Situation: Client facing shrinking margins (ergo 'Task' would be to rectify that)
    Action: Identified sources of value leakage in their business model
    Result: Boosted margins by X per cent

    As a professional services marketer, that structure tends to be how I write credentials / case studies anyway - albeit not using this acronym as such. However, I can definitely see how I would use the structure to encourage non-marketing folk to think about their previous projects in a way that strips them down to the core essentials.

    If I may, I would like to reference the model on my blog,, which focuses on providing useful advice for other professional services marketing folk.