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Built In: How to Use the STAR Interview Method to Land a Job

02 Feb 2022
Sharing anecdotes created with this simple acronym helps convey your experience and skills in a lively, memorable way.

Originally found at Built In by Lisa Bertagnoli

During your job search, interviewers will ask you to tell a story. They most likely won’t preface the question with “tell me a story,” but they will start with “describe a time,” “imagine a situation,” “when did you…” or similar prompts. 

What is the STAR Method?

  • Describe the situation you experienced
  • Talk about the task you completed
  • Explain what action you took
  • Discuss the results of your action

If you want to do well in your next interview, reach for the STAR method. STAR, which stands for situation, task, action and result, is a way to organize your thoughts and relay an anecdote that efficiently and effectively shows your interviewer how you behave in certain situations.


Just as job candidates prepare for interviewers, so should hiring managers. “Approach the interview with as much openness as possible,” Welker said. He advises against asking questions in the hopes of getting a specific response, or worse, asking questions that will trap or trick a candidate. Use behavioral questions, a la those that elicit a STAR response, to launch a casual conversation so both parties can get to know each other, he said. “No one enjoys answering exam-style questions where they feel constantly graded on their performance,” he said. 

Before the interview, identify competencies that are important for this specific role, added Elaine Obukhova, Academy of Management Scholar and assistant professor, Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal.

“Team-player? Leadership? Problem-solving? Social skills? Ability to show empathy? Listen for these in the responses,” she said. 

Continue reading the original article at Built In

Learn more about the AOM Scholars and explore their work:

  • Eliane Obukhova, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management