Stand Out in Interviews

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During an interview, anytime you hear the words “tell me about a time when...” or “describe a situation where...” just think STAR

Situation or Task

Describe the situation or task:

  • Who was part of the situation?
  • What was the purpose of the task?
  • Why did the situation happen?

Situation or Task Example

Last semester in my psychology class, I worked in a team of five to create a role-play dialogue and scenario to demonstrate a counseling theory. At first, everyone was on board with the project but then one of our team members stopped contributing ideas and missed a couple critical group meetings. 


Explain what action steps you took.

  • What was your role/part in the situation?
  • What specific action steps did you take?
  • Why did you take those steps?

Action Example

I decided to talk to this team member to understand why they stopped contributing. It became clear that they felt offended by some of the ideas that were being suggested. They appreciated that I connected with them and made an effort to understand their perspective.


Discuss the results of your actions:

  • Did you accomplish your goal/objectives?
  • Were you successful or not?
  • Were you efficient and productive?
  • What did you learn?

Results Example

From that point forward, everyone contributed equally and the result of the project was a great success. We all received A’s on the project. In fact, the professor said that it was one of the best presentations he had seen during his time teaching the course.

Hint: To make sure that your interview is full of STAR answers, brainstorm activities/projects you've done and what skills learned as a result. Then practice your responses out loud.

STAR Method Sample Questions

  • Describe your greatest strengths?
  • Tell me about a situation where you directly impacted the success of a team?
  • Give an example of a time when you worked under deadline pressure.
  • Explain a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?
  • Tell us about a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.