One of the tools used to assess competencies is the Behavioral Interview. The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. These structured interviews focus on experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that are job-related. Keep in mind that the interviewer is usually evaluating you against a profile of desired behaviors considered necessary for success.
During the interview, give specific and detailed responses in which you describe a particular situation that relates to the question. Briefly tell the interviewer about the situation, what you specifically did, and the result or outcome. Ideally, you should briefly describe the situation, what specific action you took to have an effect on the situation, and the positive result or outcome.
A complete answer should contain four steps: Situation, Task/Objective, Action, and Result or “STAR.”
Situation: Set the stage for the interviewer by providing an overview of the situation you were faced with and be specific.
Task: What goal(s) were you working toward to resolve the situation?
Action: Describe the action you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution?
Result: Describe the outcome of your actions and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior but don’t leave out the team that assisted. Your answer should contain multiple positive results whenever possible.
Remember… The interviewer wants to know what YOU did. Provide specifics (avoid generalities, opinions, or future-oriented statements.)
What can you do to prepare for a behavioral interview? Try to anticipate which behaviors and competencies the interviewer will be interested in evaluating. Identify examples of situations from your experiences (work, volunteer, school, etc.) that demonstrate the various behaviors that companies seek. Practice writing or speaking about these situations in the STAR form.
Please Note: Assessing competencies through STAR used in behavioral interviews is only ONE portion of the common selection process. Many other factors are taken into consideration when choosing the right person, including past experiences, educational successes, motivation and drive and fit into the position and company.