Working as a recruitment professional I find there is an area when interviewing that both hiring managers and candidates struggle with.
It’s the complex process of storytelling, effectively answering questions, and scoring those answers. Aligning skills, knowledge, experiences, capabilities, and style to complement each other’s needs can be challenging. It is about fit. What it all boils down to is communication. How and what information is sent and received creates the foundation for the decision-making process when hiring.
Personality, attitude, perception, nonverbal communication, company culture, understanding, values, and approach combined with assessments, referrals, and references all contribute to the hiring experience and decision but where the process starts is at the base; storytelling.
The foundation of it all can be discovered using a methodology called the STAR technique.
So, what is the STAR technique? It is a simplified structure to effectively answer and evaluate interview questions.
This technique provides the interviewee the opportunity to illustrate their experience and connect their knowledge, skills, and abilities to the job requirements through efficient and effective storytelling.
It begins with the person conducting the interview. The interviewer will have questions for the interviewee which help the interviewer understand and discover the experience of the person interviewing. If the questions asked by the interviewer have a rating metric attached to them, the answers provided can be scored. The scoring is created by the interviewer before the interview as questions are based on the specifics and complexities of the job they are recruiting for. Using this technique to evaluate responses creates a foundation for selection and provides feedback to those who interview whether selected or not. This framework helps explain the why, and the why provides the opportunity for growth.
Overall, the interviewee attaches a feeling and image of the company and team when interviewing. The experience of the interviewee impacts a company’s reputation and brand, which is exceptionally important in today’s job market. For the interviewee, a structure creates confidence and clarity. It helps prepare for a conversation which for most can be challenging. Speaking about one’s abilities in a transparent, confident, and clear manner is a valuable skill to develop. How an interviewee shows up can leave a lasting impact.
To the interviewee:
When preparing for an interview, practice answering sample questions by methodically following the steps of the STAR technique. The practice will help guide you more naturally during the interview.
Situation – A situation can be an experience you were faced with, where you demonstrated the skills in question, it can be a project, a challenge, a change, or a learning opportunity. The key is choosing the situation that is relevant to the job you are applying to.
Task – A task is a goal, a desired outcome, and the steps to take to get to a result. It’s the role you took and the responsibilities you held. It’s the chapters of your story, but sometimes, things happen, and you may skip a chapter.
Action – The action is what you did, why you did it, how you did it, where you did it when you did it, and whom you did it with. The action is your ability to leverage your strengths and your resources, recognize your weakness, perform, prioritize, and produce.
Result – The result is the goal, the measurement of the outcome, the performance, the impact that was conducted or felt, and what came from it.
There are two other sections that are critical to this technique that really help the person when interviewing. Its reflection and relevance.
Reflect – After speaking about the situation, task, action, and result it’s important to communicate to the person you are interviewing with where you developed or improved.
So, after reflecting on the entire process what do you learn, where did your performance lead, and what would you do differently? did you find a better way?
And NOW how did you apply those learnings to the next situation.
The last part of the technique is relevance. The interviewee who is able to speak to examples that are relevant to the job, required skills, and company values drive the hiring manager’s decision.
For your next interview or experience where you can tell your story, do a deep dive into your skill sets, abilities, experiences, and learnings, and think of situations that may be relatable or understandable for the person to whom you’re speaking to.
Express yourself authentically, honestly, and with structure. It will help the hiring manager and or talent acquisition specialist truly assess what you bring to the business. Your story will provide them with context to help them make the best hiring decision.