STAR method in Human Resources

STAR method


Jay Galbraith developed a behavioral interview intended to define and assess the merits of candidates for employment in companies. The structured interview provides an opportunity to assess the behavior of employees in several areas:


  • Assessment of competence;
  • Analytical thinking and planning;
  • Orientation to the outcome;
  • Loyalty to the organization;
  • Resistance to stress.
  • Personal activity and creativity;
  • Communicative;
  • Conflict Management;
  • Ability to work in team;
  • Leadership;
  • Manage activities;
  • Ability to make decisions and ability to assume responsibility;
  • Mentoring;
  • Training and self-development.


S (Situation) – Situation. What is the situation? T (Target) – Purpose. What purpose has set the interviewer? A (Action) – Action. What specifically did he/she? R (Result) – Result. What has been achieved?



Basic rules in the interview, grouped in competencies


The method allows the interviewed, through behavioral examples and situations, to describe how he/she reacted, which skills he/she has used. The principles of the STAR are based on the philosophy that our past actions and behavior are a reliable indicator for any future activities.



How is a behavioral interview different from a standard one?


In a behavioral interview questions are primarily focused on your knowledge, experience, behavior, abilities. If a standard interview begins with the question “Do you have any communication skills?”, in behavioral interview such a question will be worded in a different way: “Would you give me an example in what kind of a role-playing situation you used your communication skills?”. So, the interviewer will gain a greater insight for you, in what situation you showed your potential, when you feel more confident to show the best of yourself.


Interviewers who are aware of the STAR technique, easily make out the answers of a job applicant. In the context of methodological and structured way of the test, they acquire a more complete picture of the opportunities, knowledge and skills of job applicants.


This article will explain how to conduct an interview using the STAR method. Your actions and results are interesting to the interviewers and they want to define – who you are and how you act. Therefore, your stories are important for the interview, they will determine whether you are going to win. A well prepared and real situation always wins.



Situation – describe the situation by providing answers to the following sample questions:

  • Who has provoked the situation?
  • What was specific for that situation?
  • Where, how and when did the situation happen?


Target – what was your target? You should describe all the challenges and failures (price, deadlines, team, etc.) accompanying the situation.


Action – what are your actions like? Describe your specific actions. Your features, such as dedication, initiative, leadership, empathy, etc., are determined


Result – what is the result you achieved? How did the situation change?


The atmosphere during the interview should be friendly, predisposing to a conversation. The interviewer should show interest in the interlocutor. The interviewer should keep the neutral tone of the communication, but he should be impartial, capable to react to jokes and show compassion when needed.



When is the STAR method used?


Sometimes the interviewer can use questions requiring short answers “Yes” or “No”. Using the STAR technique however allows the interviewed to describe a situation or a problem that is resolved by using a story. His/her story is an indication of his skills, knowledge and personality attributes he/she holds and has developed.



Making a story


Think about a situation in which you have achieved something special and perfect, with a significant and measurable result highlighting your skills and your knowledge.

The following questions will help:

  • Were you rewarded for your efforts?
  • Did you help someone to solve a tough problem?
  • Did you help for (increase/decrease) of any business indicators (such as increasing profits/production/increasing customer or cost reduction)?


There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to these questions, it is necessary to tell the truth when describing a certain situation, since the interviewer will understand if you tell lies. It is necessary to present the story through the structure of the STAR method – Situation, Target, Action, Result.





I used to ... .


It was … and …


Last year I was in a situation where ………… .


Tip: the relevant, corresponding facts about the incident should be told – when the action happened, who was there, what happened, how things came to that stage.





What we had to do was … .


After we set as a target, we had to … .


Tip: The task should include anything measurable, specific activities, period and deadline for implementation. This type of tasks describe your attitude towards the tasks and the effort involved in their implementation.





What would I do … .


So would I …


Tip: Describe your actions by emphasizing your strengths.





Eventually we …. (a significant result achieved should be described, and the criteria of measurability should be clearly stated).

  • We reduced the time, cost, mistakes... – a specific quantitative example should be provided.
  • We increased profits, sales, resource savings... – the situation should be described quantitively.


Tip: Avoid being biased, the interviewer wants to hear specific things, such as performance, profits, time management skills.



Emphasize the value


Involvement with the tasks, taking active steps and the results achieved will show your value as a future employee in the company you are applying for. It is important to stay with positive thinking. Regarging with respect the people you’ve worked with in previous companies and describing your contribution, you will present yourself perfectly at the interview.



Time synchronization


Time is the most important factor during the interview. You should always find balance between talking and listening in the conversation. To describe each situation, you should spend a maximum of 1-3 minutes. It is necessary to pay special attention to intonation and rhythm of the voice during the interview. When you’re under pressure, you start talking faster and some strain is felt, therefore it is necessary to speak slowly and confidently. Your story should sound natural and spontaneous. You need a lot of practice to describe your story in public.


Be yourself and present your story professionally and positively, being aware that if people with your skills and features are needed, you will have success. Present yourself in the most favourable light by using the STAR method.




Key words – STAR method, human resources /HR/, interview,