Use the STARR method during your job interview

Do you have a job interview coming up soon? Then you want to make a good impression. This is the perfect moment to demonstrate where your strengths lie! 🚀 Everyone can claim that they're really good at something. But how do you truly show that you're a pro in what you do? The STARR method helps you in explaining your skills concretely. How? You can find out in this blog. 💪

Kirsten van der Kraan
Kirsten van der Kraan

What is the STARR method?

The STARR method allows you to explain your skills convincingly, which is useful during job interviews. The method consists of 5 steps that help you prove your mastery of specific abilities. The five steps are: Situation, Task, Action, Result, and Reflection. Sometimes ‘reflection’ is omitted, resulting in the ‘STAR method’.

The STARR method is particularly effective when addressing questions about your previous work experience. What makes the method so valuable is that you provide substantial examples of how you’ve applied a skill and what results it yielded. Through this approach, the interviewer gains a better understanding of how you’ve put your skills into practice and the achievements you’ve accomplished as a result.

How to use the STARR method during a job interview?

Answer questions about your experiences and competencies using the following steps:

1. Situation: Describe a specific situation or challenge in which you applied a particular skill.

2. Task: Explain your task in that specific situation and what was expected of you.

3. Action: Clearly state the steps you took to carry out the task. Emphasise the specific competency you used.

4. Result: Describe the outcome and results of your actions. Focus on the positive outcomes and highlight what you achieved.

5. Reflection: Explain what you learned and how you could approach a similar situation differently or more effectively in the future.

So, in short: You describe a concrete situation (S), you specify your role (T), you explain what you did exactly (A), and what the result was (R), and you discuss what you’ve learned (R).

An example

Time for an example! Imagine you get asked: “How do you handle strict deadlines?” Using the STARR method, you would answer this question as follows:

Situation: “During my time at university, particularly during my graduation project involving data analysis, I faced multiple deadlines for different parts of the project.”

Task: “It was my responsibility to gather and analyse data and report on it within a set timeline.”

Action: “To manage the project effectively, I created a plan with clear milestones. I ensured regular check-ins with my supervisor to discuss my progress and receive feedback. Additionally, I utilised project management tools to keep track of what tasks remained and when each task needed to be completed.”

Result: “I completed all aspects of my graduation project on time and received positive feedback on my project management skills and the quality of my research. My graduation project was graded at 8.5 out of 10.”

Reflection: “This experience taught me the importance of good planning and organisation when working under pressure.”

In addition to answering questions, you’ll also want to ask questions yourself to make a good impression. Check out our list of 27 strong questions for job interviews.

Practice with the STARR method

Applying the STARR method during job interviews requires some practice. To prepare for this, it’s important to review the vacancy once again.

Select three strong points or skills that align with the job profile. For each skill, think of a situation or successful project from your work history or studies and write it down using the STARR method. Then,  read these examples aloud.

You won’t know what questions you’ll receive during your interview, but this approach trains you to apply the STARR method in the moment.

Man achter laptop aan het werk

Final tips

  • Keep it relevant. Make sure you describe situations and examples related to the skills you want to highlight that align with the job profile.
  • Avoid going too far back in time. Focus on recent experiences instead. It’s best not to reference experiences more than three years old.
  • Be concise and impactful. Aim for three to five sentences for each step of the STARR method. This will help you stay clear and specific.
  • Support your results with figures. This makes it tangible. For example, if you contributed to revenue growth, mention relevant figures such as a growth percentage.
  • Be genuine and only use situations that actually occurred. Refrain from exaggerating your contribution to the achieved result.

Have a job interview scheduled? This blog teaches you how to best prepare for a job interview.

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