Become an Interview STAR

woman standing in front of screen holding a remote control
When it comes to interviewing, Leadership Coach Amy Leneker tells her clients to use the mantra “Practice Makes Better,” as there’s no such thing as being perfect. Photo by Rachel Friederich

by Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

Behavioral based interviews. The mere phrase can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced job candidates. Yet, they’re one of the most common types of questions for government jobs.

The key to acing these type of interviews, according to leadership consultant and coach Amy Leneker is to practice responding to these type of questions long before you’re even called into the interview. Leneker, a former state employee and the CEO of Compass Consulting, held multiple workshops on using the STAR method for behavioral based interviews at the ICSEW’s first ever career fair May 21 at the Department of Labor and Industries.  More than 100 people attended. Minutes for the May 2019 ICSEW meeting viewed here.

The STAR Method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results.

Leneker says the response to each question should be given using each component of STAR.

Situation:  Describe the situation you encountered

Task: Describe the task you had to do.

Action: Tell the interviewer the action you took to accomplish the task.

Results: Wrap up the question describing the outcome of the situation.

Participants in each session were divided into groups of three and attendees role played the interviewer, job candidate, and observer. Each person practiced the STAR method and received feedback from their peers.

Leneker also suggested when answering questions to say the words Situation, Task, Action and Results in your responses because it often helps you organize your responses and keep them succinct. And if the company/interviewer values the STAR method in its work culture, they’ll be impressed you’re familiar with it, too, Leneker said.