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The STAR Technique: How to Use Behavioral Interview Questions Effectively

In the recruitment process, understanding a candidate's past behavior and experiences is crucial in predicting their future performance. One of the most effective methods to delve into a candidate’s experience and skills is through behavioral interview questions. The STAR technique is a renowned approach that can help frame these questions effectively. In this article, we will explore the STAR technique and how it can be employed to gain a deeper understanding of a candidate's qualifications.

What is the STAR Technique?

STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This technique provides a structured approach to answering behavioral interview questions. It allows candidates to describe a situation, explain the task they needed to complete, describe the actions they took, and reveal the results of these actions.

Breaking Down the STAR Technique

1. Situation

The first step in the STAR technique is for the candidate to set the scene by describing a situation they faced. It’s important for the candidate to provide context, such as where and when the situation occurred.

2. Task

Next, the candidate needs to explain the task they were assigned or the challenge they faced. This component is crucial as it sets the stage for what the candidate needed to accomplish.

3. Action

In this step, the candidate describes the specific actions they took to address the task or challenge. This is the crux of the response, as it demonstrates the candidate’s skills and abilities in action.

4. Result

Finally, the candidate explains the results of their actions. This includes the outcomes and what they learned from the experience. It’s important for the candidate to focus on how their actions led to meaningful results.

How to Use the STAR Technique as an Interviewer

As an interviewer, you can use the STAR technique to frame your questions and guide candidates in providing structured and insightful responses. Here are steps to effectively implement the STAR technique:

1. Frame Your Questions

Frame your questions in a way that encourages candidates to respond using the STAR format. For example, “Can you describe a situation where you had to meet a tight deadline and explain the steps you took and the outcome?”

2. Listen Actively

As the candidate responds, listen actively. Pay attention to each component of the STAR technique to ensure that they provide information on the situation, task, actions, and results.

3. Probe Further

If a candidate provides a vague response, don’t hesitate to ask follow-up questions to encourage them to delve deeper into the details. For example, “Can you elaborate on the specific actions you took?”

4. Take Notes

Take notes on the candidate’s responses. Focus on capturing information on the actions they took and the results they achieved. Of course, you could alway use this tool to create amazing interview plans and take notes


The STAR technique is a powerful tool for interviewers seeking to understand a candidate’s experience and skills through behavioral questions. By framing questions effectively and guiding candidates through the STAR format, interviewers can gain valuable insights into a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, competencies, and potential fit for the role.

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