Interview techniques - Bringing out your STAR qualities

By Matthew Parker

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Over the past few months, I’ve found myself doing an increasing amount of interview coaching for candidates. Each one of these are individuals who I really rate, but for some reason they’ve been falling short at the final furlong in processes. Through this coaching, I’ve found myself giving the same advice so I thought it would be useful to put a number of the techniques people have found useful into a series of blogs.

I’m going to start in the middle: the interview.

Interviewing is like telling a story about your life. You’re creating a narrative around why you’re well-suited to progress to the next chapter of that story. Sometimes this can be daunting, but there is a useful structure, which combined with some data, can help create a really exciting narrative that will increase your chances of starting your next chapter.

Use STAR

Situation

Task

Action

Result

I work mostly on Sales and Product leadership roles and for all candidates I would expect them to use a variation of STAR to show me specifically why they are great for this role. So let's run through each in more detail:

Situation: What was the situation when you started in that role?

Provide context to why you were brought into the business at all. Let’s break that down into more questions: How many people in the business or business segment? How was it performing? What was the turnover? How many people were in your team? What were some of the challenges the business was going through? Etc.

Task: What task were you brought in to achieve?

Everyone is hired for a reason! Why were you? What were you brought in to achieve? Was it “build a team” or “get revenue from X to Y” or “attract X many customers to the platform”? The list is endless, what was your core task that you were brought on to achieve, or what is a recent task that you recently set your mind to achieving?

I’m conscious we’re all constantly adding to that task list, but pick one or two and provide a throughput narrative around that one achievement.

Action: What actions did you take in order to achieve said task?

Exactly what it says on the tin. If you’re a commercial person, how did you grow that business segment? If you’re a product person, take me on the journey of developing the roadmap to get the product to an improved place! This is where you get to showcase what you do on a day-to-day basis, and where you really shine. Make sure this action piece is directly relevant for the role you’re going for.

Result: From these actions, what was the outcome?

This should be as data-driven as possible. Regardless of what you work in, there is always a data-driven measure for success. Either it’s a $ number, or it’s an acquisition number of customers or increased conversion rate. Every good candidate should know exactly what their metric was for success because otherwise could you objectively measure your quality in a role? Also, often it’s tied to a personal commercial outcome.

Ultimately, you’re creating a narrative for why you’re awesome. So put as much structure and data around that narrative as possible and it will vastly improve your conversion rates in interviews.

Hope that helps! Drop me a note if you want to have a chat, I’m always happy to provide personalised advice - [email protected]