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What is the STAR interview method?

The importance of being a “STAR” in an interview.

Many super-qualified people have missed out on landing great jobs because they weren’t prepared for the STAR method of interviewing.

STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Response/Result, a format for behavioural interviewing that is the standard across many industries, including many government organisations across Australia.

What is the STAR method, and what can I do to ensure that I am doing the right things to make sure I can land that next great role?

It is a form of behavioural interviewing that asks interviewees to provide an example of their relevant experience, laying out each area in sequence as below.

Situation – Laying the situation example – The situation provides context to the situation/specific example

Task – What was the goal to be achieved, and what tasks did you complete

Action – The actions you took to reach those goals or overcome the situation

Result – What was the result of those actions

It breaks down your experience in an easily digestible way, that will quickly showcase your relevant experience for the role.

The key to the STAR method is ensuring examples provided are specific to the interviewees actions and outline specifically their actions that they took and the outcome of their specific actions. It is important when responding the interviewee does not generalise group actions, the hiring manager is looking for specific actions taken by the interviewee.

Preparation is Paramount 

One of the major reasons why people fail in interviews is when they don’t have responses ready. It is impossible to predict all the possible questions, but some common questions get asked across many industries.

Some Common STAR Examples are:

  • Tell me about a time that you dealt with conflict at work.
  • Give me an example of when you provided exceptional customer service.
  • Tell me about a situation when you had to adjust to change quickly.
  • Describe a work situation that was stressful and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a leader and how this disagreement was settled.
  • Give a specific example of a time when you solved a problem in the workplace.
  • Describe when you received constructive feedback and how you took it on board.
  • Tell me about a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
  • Describe a time you have had to negotiate with a contractor/supplier.
  • Give me an example of how you solved a complex problem at work.
  • Describe a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a time a customer was unhappy and how you resolved the situation.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you disagreed
  • Tell me about a situation when you successfully worked with a colleague who might not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
  • Describe a time you had to go above and beyond your regular duties to get a job done.

Example Response

To get you started, here is an example of how you could respond well. This is a guide; you must draw on your own experiences to provide answers.

Question – Give me an example of a time when you provided exceptional customer service.


I was working with a customer on the telephone struggling to place an order online due to their disability.


It was my job to reassure the customer, explain the available products, and talk them through the purchasing process.


The company policy was to spend two minutes with each customer. However, because of the situation, it was necessary to take longer to service the client’s needs.

I started by asking the customer several questions to establish their needs. I then explained the available products I felt would be suitable and the different pricing options for each. Finally, I walked the customer through the online ordering process and reassured her every step of the way.


Even though the call took longer than expectations, it was essential to assist this customer to ensure they could complete the sale successfully. This not only made the client happy but also created a customer for life.

This example not only demonstrates strong customer care and empathy, but also shows an understanding of the importance of long-term customer retention.


If you feel comfortable in an interview situation, try practising with family or friends. Get used to the answers you will give, so it feels natural.

Other Helpful Hints

Ensure you use positive language, even when addressing difficult situations, or reasons for leaving roles

Check the company website and thoroughly understand the company, background and values.

When you discuss previous positions, speak respectfully about the company and staff and be honest about your past experiences.

Finish the interview positively, thank the interviewer for their time and express your interest in the role.

Shine Bright Like a STAR!

The STAR method can leave a positive and enduring impression on the interviewer. Illustrating your skills in an in-depth and meaningful way helps paint a picture of how well you can do the job and may lead to your next excellent job offer!

If you are interested in a new role, HOBAN works with a vast number of employers across Australia, so please get in touch with your local office. https://www.hoban.com.au/contact-us/

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