You’re Overthinking the STAR Method

Here is my ultimate KISS guide (Keep It Simple Stupid) to the STAR Method as posted on Reddit recently.
Scrabble tiles that spell SIMPLE STAR Method
My advice is people get too hung up on the STAR method and focus on it, and not their example.
STAR is a framework, what matters in your answer is your example and showing your skills.
To rephrase STAR:
  • Where were you (S)
  • What were you doing (T)
  • What problem did you solve and how, what skills did you use (A)
  • What was the outcome (R)

About 60-80% of your response should be Action.

Talk through your example, what you did, what skills you used, what obstacles you overcame, how you communicated, how you planned, how you used teamwork etc.

Then to answer the question using the STAR Method, just tell the story
I was at x doing y when z happened. To deal with this I did a,b,c,d,e,f,g and the outcome was …
The best way to answer application and interview questions is to focus on your examples and know your examples/career/work experience.

Why? Because each example can be applied to multiple questions.

If you are a project manager, your “project management” example can address:

  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Planning and delegation
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Working under pressure
  • Stakeholder management
  • Negotiation
  • Meeting changing deadlines
  • Written documents/artifacts
  • Etc etc etc etc.
This also saves you trying to guess what they will ask.
If you know your examples you can go into any interview and answer any question based on the example that fits best.
That is the idea behind what I teach in my Career Experience course – knowing your work experience and cataloguing your examples so you can apply then to the right question at the right time.
Don’t obsess about STAR; focus on your example.