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How to use STAR Method and Ace any Interview

Posted by Tarik | Jan 29, 2021

You successfully landed an interview at the place you've always dreamt of working.

You have that sudden rush of adrenaline, making you happy as well as making you anxious.

You are worried. What will the interviewers ask?

What if I fail to answer correctly and ruin my chances of getting the job?

It's a mix of emotions circling in your head.

Only if there was a secret formula to hack these questions? Well, there is – the STAR Method, and that's going to take you through to acing your job interview.

Today, businesses are not interested in looking at your paper qualifications too much like they did a decade ago.

Most companies, including the top global giants Netflix, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, hire solely based on talent and potential.

How they judge your potential is through behavioral questions. A behavioral question is where the interviewer tries to gain an insight into your past experiences to decide if you are the right fit for the job.

Think of it this way; the interviewer wants to know the highs and lows of your past work experiences so that he or she could get a visualization of what you bring to the company.

In other terms, the interviewer wants to 'Hear your Story!'

Your Story Matters!

If you've applied for a job, you would have seen the job responsibilities listed on each vacancy. Today, these responsibilities are just a guideline for recruiters, and you should not get too hung up on these responsibilities.

Almost all companies are on the lookout for transferable skills. Yes, you have a decent looking CV with a whole list of responsibilities and skills, but more importantly, the context in which you explain your CV and your experience is going to count on whether you land the job or not.

Enter storytelling.

The interview will have the opening set of questions, and then the ones that decide if you get in or not – the behavioral ones.

Questions like, "What was your biggest achievement at your previous place of work?", "Tell me about the time you made a mistake" are going to be thrown at you, and the way you answer will decide your fate.

That's where the STAR method of answering comes in to play.

The STAR Method

STAR- Situation, Task, Action, and Results.

The STAR method is a unique formula built to structure your storytelling when it comes to behavioral questions.

When the interviewer pulls a question such as "Tell us the time when you used your analytical skills into practice," it is a gift thrown at you.

You will need to come up with a well-planned answer to make sure the interviewer gets a clear understanding of everything that took place and, above all, should increase your chances to land the job.

Using the STAR method, you break your answer down to separate sub-topics that make anyone understand the answer.

The STAR format is applicable across all behavioral questions. All you need is to break your story down into bits and pieces.

  • Situation – the      event, the challenge, or the undertaken project
  • Task – The      responsibility you played in the situation
  • Action – Steps      take to take control of the situation
  • Results – The      overall outcome

When the recruiters point a behavioral question at you, like the ones we discussed on top, the interviewer isn't looking for a yes or no answer.

And If you are applying in 2021, behavioral questions will make up at least 60% of the total questions.

Stellar Interviews over a College Degree

Today, having a college degree isn't going to make you land a job in the top global companies. And you don't necessarily need a college degree to land a job in Amazon, Apple, Google, and IBM.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk also added that Tesla does not have a college degree as a pre-requisite.

Companies are looking at potential and skills. To showcase that you have potential, employers are looking for your answers to the behavioral questions sent across to you.

Especially in tech and IT, if you can demonstrate your skills and capabilities, you are hired.

Google, Netflix, and Amazon rely on behavioral questions to get the best candidates for filling their positions. In particular, Amazon has 14 leadership principlesthat they pay close attention to when it comes to recruitment.

Amazon looks out for aspiring leaders to join their workforce, and their principles laid out to get a better understanding of the potential candidates they are onboarding.

Out of the 14 principles, we picked five that we believe are the most important out of the rest.

  1. Customer      Obsession – paying attention to customers above the rest
  2. Ownership – Acts      on behalf of the company with a long-term vision
  3. Insist on the      Highest Standards - Leaders are continuously raising the bar to deliver      quality
  4. Are Right, a Lot      – Leaders have strong judgment skills
  5. Hire and Develop      the best – Recognizes talent and are willing to provide opportunities

At Amazon, the interviewer will solely be invested in getting an insight into you and your professional career using behavioral questions based on Amazon's Leadership Principles.

With the 14 principles in mind, an interviewer will ask you a series of behavioral questions to have a complete vision of what kind of a personality you are and what you could bring in to Amazon.

Behavior-based questions have similar starts such as,

  • "Tell me      about the time when…"
  • "Have you      ever…."
  • "Describe      an event where….."
  • "Give me an      example from your…."

How do we use the STAR Method to answer Questions?

So we've understood the essence of the STAR Method of answering questions and what kind of problems a recruiter can send your way.

More often, everyone has the right answers, but their intentions get lost in transition.

Especially at an interview with a top global company like Amazon, you cannot go wrong.

Let's take the Amazon example and look at what a sample STAR answer can be.

Question: Tell me about a time when you were not able to meet a time commitment. What prevented you from fulfilling it? What was the outcome, and what did you learn from it?

Everyone makes mistakes. A recruiter will not be vested in the error or the late deadline but be more worried about how you progressed from there.

If you are Project Manager, an ideal example of a scenario can be something like this.


While working as a project manager for my earlier software startup, I was assigned a project midway to create a CRM system for a hotel chain that included thousands of contact details.

We fast-tracked the development to come in six months, but the system ended up faulty with the wrong offers sent to individuals' wrong set.


With a team of just five individuals working on migrating the databases on email to the system, we failed several sync issues with emails and users.

After completion, the CRM system sent out offers incorrectly since we did not add the lists and categories together.


Owing to the situation, my team and I rolled in the system's backup and fixed every single persistent issue. A

As the Project Manager, I understood that proper communication of the issues between the management and the client is a priority over completing a project that does not generate the correct results.


My primary learning here was to make sure that I establish a proper testing mechanism before implementing a system and to account for these legacy systems properly. We eventually delivered the second time successfully.

The CRM systems scenario was one instance of how you depicted your response to failure and the measures taken afterward.

Here is another question that is often on the mandatory list.

Question: Tell me about a time you stepped up into a leadership role. Describe a time when you sacrificed short term goals for long term success!


I was an IT System Administrator for the company, and I decided to switch from existing Windows-based server systems to Linux to have a significant advantage.

I was able to successfully meter out the short term issues and bring a massive cost saving to the company.


The change affected several work lines, immensely halting several departments, so I was tasked with coming up with a proper migration plan so that daily activities will not be affected.


I opted to start the migration during the less stressful days of the week and keep away from the end-month since everything gets heated up.

The transition happened across the firm in the different servers that we operate systematically. In the meantime, the backup servers were running to ensure that work gets done.

The transition was smooth except for a few hiccups that came along the way. I decided it was best to migrate partly and refresh the system's memories, halted no work processes, and ensured that captured all loose ends.


The company was able to save a considerable expenditure from licensing, and I improved overall system security.

Time to Ace the Behavioral Questions

Getting your answers correctly and to the point is a learning curve. Sometimes the nerves get to us at an interview.

The only way you could ace the behavioral questions is by listing out all possibilities and then working on them beforehand.

There is no easy way to become better at answering behavioral questions but continuous practice.

Answering similar behavioral questions by applying them to the STAR method will improve your words' flow and make you sound confident.

Before facing an interview, it is always good to practice your answers, and the best way to do it is to write them down.

That is where Jet Candidate comes to play.

Jet Candidate is a platform specially created for you to ace those interviews, be it Amazon, Apple, or any other company.

Now you have the chance to add in your answers and build the perfect story.

Here's where Jet Candidate gets interesting, you get the opportunity to compare answers to the most common questions to get inspired and make your story perfect.

Add to that; the platform is expected to roll out a new update that will allow stories to be linked to questions so that members on the forum can benefit.

You might be a software developer, a UI UX expert, or even a Project Manager. Still, you will only progress in your interviews only if you can get through the behavioral questions.

Save your questions, and the options of reading up on all your answers just before a crucial interview can help you answer the tough questions with confidence and clarity, building a favorable image in the interviewer's eye.

Don't miss out on that dream job because you couldn't find Jet Candidate soon enough. It is never too late to get started.

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