Behavioural based interview questions: be a STAR

Behavioural based interview questions

During an interview the interviewer is attempting to predict your suitability for the position using questioning techniques. One of the most commonly used techniques to do this is to ask behavioural based interview questions.

V based questioning

This technique is based on the assumption that your previous behaviors can be used as a predictive method for future success. When such questions are asked you should refer to a time that this has occurred as opposed to what you would do in that situation.

When you’re asked a behavioral question a good way to answer it is by following the STAR technique: Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

  • Situation: identify a situation that is relevant to the question. Provide some background on the situation. Who? What? When? Where?
  • Task: outline the task that you had at hand. What did you have to do? Try to talk about what you specifically had to do using the word “I” rather than “we”.
  • Action: clearly articulate the actions, steps or process that you implemented to ensure that you were able to complete your required task, given the situation you were in. What did you do?
  • Result: outline the outcome of your actions. What happened in the end? What did you achieve?

In reference to the below question, an example of a well thought out response would be broken down as follows:

‘Tell me about a time that you had to deal with a difficult person.’

  • Situation: in my role at ‘Easy Internet Connection’ a customer called up very angry and frustrated as they had made several previous phone calls to the company attempting to connect their internet without success.
  • Task: the task was to ensure that I was able to quickly and effectively address the customer’s problem in order to provide a high level of customer service.
  • Action: firstly, I expressed empathy towards the customer to identify with their frustration. I then asked a series of logical and well thought out questions to identify the problems that were causing the issue. Once I identified the reason as to why the customer’s internet was not yet connected I actioned the necessary process to connect the customer’s internet.
  • Result: this resulted in a satisfied customer as I was able to identify and solve the problem for the customer.

As the example demonstrates, applying the STAR technique allows you to present your response in a well-structured manner. It enables the interviewer to easily follow your response and helps keep them engaged.

For a list of commonly asked interview questions including behavioural based questions please click here.