STAR Technique: Answering Behavioral Questions

Prepare for behavioral questions by recalling recent situations that demonstrate your relevant skills. Use examples from your work experience, classes, leadership, teamwork, or customer service experience.

Be sure that each story has a beginning, middle, and end. Be specific; give a detailed account of one event. Use the STAR technique below to structure your answer. Expect the interviewer to question and probe: What did you say? What were you thinking? What was your role? Answers can take one to two minutes and should be descriptive, yet concise.

Situation or Task 

Describe a specific situation or task you have encountered that will make a point about one of your skills or strengths.  Be ready to describe details, if asked.

Example:  I was assigned to build a concrete toboggan for one of my classes. One of our team members wasn’t showing up for our lab sessions or doing his assignments. His behavior was affecting the performance and morale of the entire group.


Describe the specific action you took to remedy the task or situation.

Example:  I decided to meet with the student in private, and explained the frustration of the rest of the team, and asked him if there was anything I could do to help. He told me that he was preoccupied with another class that he wasn’t passing. I tried to show him that I was listening and understood his situation. Later, I found someone to help him with the other course.


Explain the result of your action. Make sure that the outcome reflects positively on you (even if the result itself was not favorable).

Example:  After I found someone to help the student with his other course, he was not only able to spend more time on our project, but he was also grateful to me for helping him out. We finished our project on time, and earned a “B.”

Practice Builds Confidence!

The STAR technique can be used effectively to discuss a wide range of experiences, including classroom projects, work situations, extracurricular activities and leadership experiences. Because behavioral interview questions can be challenging, the Career Center strongly recommends scheduling a one-on-one appointment with a Career Specialist for a practice interview.


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