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Tip of the Week: The Art of the Anecdote

Responding to Behavioral Interview Questions

April 18, 2017 12:17 PM

By: Lauren R. Barrett

There are two types of storytellers: those who recall a story with elaborate details and in-depth analysis of people, places and things (sometimes so long you forget where the story began)...and then there are storytellers who are brief and succinct in their delivery, hitting only the essential points and eliminating extraneous detail so that the "point" is the focus. In order to successfully respond to behavioral interview questions, you must strike a balance between the two!

Behavioral questions are the core of the interviewing process as they illustrate who you are beyond the page. Sharing too much information weighs down your response, and not sharing enough leaves the interviewer with only a sketch instead of a clear image. The Career Center advocates using the STAR approach in responding to behavioral questions, which ensures that you share enough about your anecdote to paint a picture, and leaves out superfluous information. 

"S" frames the situation or scenario, "T" details the task at hand, "A" prompts for your specific actions, and "R" concludes with the outcome of the situation. Using these four items as a checkpoint in sharing your behavioral examples will help you gain a sense of the appropriate amount to share in answering a behavioral question. You can practice your responses with this in-depth list of behavioral questions compiled by The Vault! Want more information or coaching on how to use STAR? Come to the Career Center for an Interview Preparation appointment!

Students and Alumni -- Have you used STAR to respond to behavioral questions? How has this strategy been effective for you in your interviewing preparation? Any other strategies that you support or use? Let us know in the comments below!

22 Behavioral Interview Questions Big 4 Firms Ask:

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