The STAR method

What is the STAR method?

The STAR method is a competency based method of testing. Therefore it requires more than just information about what you did, it requires you to explain.

Using the STAR method, allows you to set the scene, show what and how you did and the overall outcome. The interviewer will use this method to gather all the relevant information about a specific capability that the job requires. STAR is the abbreviation for Situation, Task, Action and Result.


Describe the situation you found yourself in. You must describe a specific event or situation. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This can be a situation from a group or society at university, work experience or past job.

  • Where are you?
  • Who was there with you?
  • What had happened?
  • What was the problem that arose?
  • Who was supposed to deal with the problem or who was assigned as the leader, if applicable?

The interviewer will want to understand what you tried to achieve from the situation you found yourself in.

  • What was the task that you had to complete and why?
  • What did you have to achieve?
  • How much of the responsibility was supposed to be yours for example, were you the president of the law society or the editor?

What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information of what you did, how you did it and why. Keep the focus on you. What specific steps did you take and what was your contribution? Remember to include how you did it, and the behaviours you used. Try to use “I” rather than “we” to explain your actions that lead to the result. Be careful not to take credit of something that you did not do.


Don’t be shy about taking credit for your behaviour. Quote specific facts and figures which are easily understandable.

  • What results did the actions produce?
  • What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your goals?
  • Was it a successful outcome? If not what did you learn from the experience?

The STAR method is reflective in nature. Therefore, keep the situation and task parts brief. Concentrate on the actions which you took and the results which your actions brought about. If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time. Make sure you focus on your strengths.

Not everyone can relate to the STAR method but practice makes us better and ready for assessment centers. Let us know if you have an upcoming interview so that we can have conduct mock interviews with you, where applicable.

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