There are many different kinds of job interviews, from traditional one-on-one interviews to informal group interviews. Employers often use the competency-based, or behavioral interview. If you’re searching for a job, it’s a good idea for prepare for this type of interview.
Employers use the behavioral interview to learn more about your qualifications based on past behavior. The questions tend to start with “Tell me about a time when…” If you’re nervous or unprepared, you may ramble on, forgot important details or be at a loss for words.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to help you answer these types of questions—the STAR method.
First, think of an example that highlights the quality that the interviewer is looking for, such as excellent customer service or problem-solving skills. It can be from an internship, school activity or project, community service, hobby or work experience. Then answer the question using the following four steps:
Situation: Set the scene. “A customer called complaining about…”
Task: What did you need to do? What was your responsibility in this situation? Highlight any challenges, such as deadlines, costs, etc. “I needed to address the customer’s complaint quickly and respectfully.”
Activity: What did you actually do? Keep the focus on you, even if the example involves a team. “I apologized, asked them to explain the problem and reported the details to my supervisor.”
Result: How did the situation end? “The customer posted a positive comment on our Facebook page and continued to order from us.”
To prepare for your next interview, think of five or six examples and tell the story using the STAR method. Remember to keep them short (one to three minutes), use numbers whenever possible to show results and end with a statement that highlights your ability. For example, “I’d never talked to such an angry customer before, but by staying calm, I was able to resolve the problem and the customer left happy.”
Employment Expertise is provided by West Michigan Works! Learn more about how they can help: visit westmiworks.org or your local Service Center.