Advice From Our Staffing Professionals: Using STAR to Raise Your Value to a Hiring Manager

Many of us are nervous about an interview. We need to worry about dressing appropriately, arriving a little early, researching the company and its competitors, and learning as much as we can about their products or services. But wait… there’s more. You are also attempting to leave a great impression of your skills and attributes. So how can you be even more prepared? As a recruiter, I have always given my candidates the same advice regarding the STAR process, just do it (please don’t sue me Nike).

STAR is an acronym for Situation or Task, Action, and Results. The process walks you through the recollection of scenarios where you recognized and resolved a work issue or project. This dialogue is where you are allowed to talk glowingly about yourself, something many are not comfortable with. You can expound on your leadership, team work, and individual skills. Now you may say to yourself that you can’t think of particular events to expound upon. That is why preparing these descriptions before your interview is so important.

First, you need to remember three scenarios that required a solution. These scenarios could have you participating as a team member or as an individual.

Now ask yourself the following questions: How did you and the team identify the primary issue(s)? What steps did you take to create the paths to overcome or deal with the issues? How did you decide what was the best path to take? Finally, what was the result and what did you learn from this solution?

I have shared this technique with several military veterans that are returning to the civilian workforce. They have informed me that it helped them associate their duties and responsibilities to “typical” corporate scenarios. My civilian candidates have also said they were glad they performed the exercise. It helped them feel better prepared for the questions from hiring managers.

This exercise also assists you in learning your strengths. You can pinpoint what aspects of your roles you liked and disliked, thus making it easier to know if the opportunity will be a good fit for your work personality.

STAR is not a hard exercise to describe, but the work you put into creating the scenarios will pay dividends come interview time.

The Author: Jim Barnes is the marketing manager for Axiom and has a masters in HR. He likes to grow his HR knowledge by reading research from the Society of Human Resources Management.

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