Be a STAR in Your Next Interview [EdSurge Tips]

EdSurge Updates | Jobs & Careers

Be a STAR in Your Next Interview [EdSurge Tips]

By Sam Peterson     Sep 11, 2018

Be a STAR in Your Next Interview [EdSurge Tips]

We’ve all heard the stories of how wrong things can go during a job interview. And there’s plenty of advice out there to help you avoid the most common pitfalls. Generally speaking, it can all be summed up thusly:

  1. Do your homework.
  2. Show up on time.
  3. Don’t embarrass yourself.

Rather than worry about the many potential missteps implied in that third item, let’s focus on a strategy to help you avoid them.

The #1 reported killer of all job interviews throughout history is silence. Whether a failure to produce an adequate response or a passed-up chance to ask a good question, silence on the part of the interviewee indicates lack of preparation, qualification, or even interest (possibly all three). That’s not to say that you can’t take a moment to ponder a question and compose yourself before replying; you can and should. And when the time comes, it’s helpful to have a handful of thoughtful questions—about the role, the company, the interviewer—written down and ready to ask. But above all, you need to anticipate a challenge from your interviewer, and you’ve got to be prepared to meet it head on.

Tell me about a time when you ______.

This seemingly innocent prompt is designed to reveal subtle vulnerabilities in your character, examine how you react to adversity and assess your willingness to own a learning experience. Classic to the point of cliché, it’s almost always on the interview list, and it can be a make-or-break moment for you.

Fortunately, there’s a proven method to prepare yourself for this type of pop quiz. No matter how that blank is filled in by your interviewer, this simple technique will equip you with a ready reply.

Become a STAR!

  • Situation - Describe the context of your work, the when and why of a particular occasion.
  • Task - Explain your responsibility. Tell what you needed to do.
  • Action - Describe your response. Tell what you decided to do.
  • Result - Explain how you accomplished the task (or failed to, depending on the situation). And be sure to include what you learned from the experience.

This approach can be applied to virtually any scenario, so it’s a good idea to prepare a number of responses in advance of your interview.

Here are some common themes to consider: a mistake you made, a personal challenge you overcame, a personal strength you discovered, a conflict with a coworker, your response to negative feedback from a customer, working with a difficult manager. As you compile your list of memorable achievements (or graceful failures), keep in mind the specific requirements of the role you’re applying for, and weave those attributes into your narrative. This helps connect the dots from who you were then to who you are now and who you can become if hired for this new position.

Now, get ready to nail that next interview!

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