How to use the STAR technique to ace your job interview

Formal job interviews are, frankly, the worst.

I know I’m not the only one who clams up when a prospective employer asks me to describe a time when I overcame a setback or went above and beyond in my role. 

These are called competency-based questions – as opposed to strength-based questions, like ‘what energises you?’ or ‘what are your weaknesses?’ – and thankfully, there’s a clear-cut method to answering them without tripping over your words.

Behold: The STAR method. 

What is the STAR method?

‘The STAR technique is a framework that allows you to structure your thoughts and gather the evidence you need to show your future employer why you’re worth hiring,’ careers coach Ayesha Murray tells ‘It also helps you stay brief when you have limited time to get your points across.’

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result:

First, describe the situation you were in – set the scene,’ says Ayesha. 

‘Then, explain the task at hand, challenge or goal.

‘For action, explain what you did in order to complete the task. 

‘Finally, what was the result or outcome? Make sure it’s positive.’

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