The STAR model provides a framework for presenting information in response to Key Selection Criteria. It is also a useful framework for preparing answers to behavioural questions in an interview. It’s a way of providing clear examples or evidence of your skills, knowledge and approach to work. For each criterion, use the following elements to structure your answers:

SITUATION
Describe the situation/environment you were in.

TASK
What did you need to accomplish to deal with the situation? What was your role concerning the problem, issue or assignment?

ACTION
What did you do? Set out the steps you took to resolve the situation. Provide detail

RESULT
What was the outcome? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Promote yourself and your achievements.

How to use STAR when you respond to key selection criteria

Here’s an example.

Key Selection Criterion

Excellent planning and organisational skills

Response

I have developed excellent planning and organisational skills through my part-time job as an event assistant at Acme Events. In this role I am responsible for booking staff to set up marquees at private functions. (Situation)

To perform this job I need to identify all jobs booked for that day; calculate how many staff will be needed to set up each event, and ensure that there is sufficient time to set up each event by the time required. (Task)

Recently, I had a problem with 2 staff members reporting in sick on the day of a big event. Fortunately, I had developed a back-up plan to cater for unexpected situations and I was able to call on unrostered staff to come into work. (Action) As a result, there was no disruption to the setting up for the event, and my supervisor commended my actions in responding to the situation promptly and efficiently. (Result)

(By the way, you don’t need to include reference to the STAR model. Just be sure to cover all aspects of the model in your answer.)

Using STAR in interviews, when answering behavioural questions

When you are preparing for an interview, take some time to research likely interview questions and rehearse how you might respond using the STAR model. Here’s an example.

Interview question

‘Can you give me an example of a time when you were able to solve a problem using your planning and organisational skills?’

Response

‘In my part time job as an event assistant I am required to plan and organise event bookings, including scheduling staff and equipment. Recently, I had a problem where 2 staff reported in sick on the day of a big event. Fortunately, I had developed a backup plan for unexpected situations and I was able to call on unrostered staff to come into work. As a result, the event was able to proceed without disruption and my supervisor was very positive about my efficient response to the problem.’

Next Steps

For more information about interviews and applying for jobs, have a look at the Career Ready online courses.