Often, a job STAR Interview can be quite tense with all the pressures to excel and the uncertainties of whether or not you shall land the role you are being interviewed for. Indeed, thorough preparation is vital, but that alone will not guarantee that you are selected at the end of the process.
It is always worth remembering that the interviewing panel will see quite a few number of candidates for each role and thereby they are genuinely bound to forget most people they interview. As standard procedure, most hiring managers engage the STAR interview framework (Situation, Task, Action, and Result). This is essentially a behavioral interview technique that seeks to model past occurrences and forecasts how future problems may be handled. A STAR interview gives an interview candidate a perfect chance to showcase previous experiences, challenges, and successes that they may have encountered.
As a job seeker put in as much effort as you can to impress the panel. One of the best guarantees that the STAR interview panel will remember you long after you leave the interview room is by making the interview a memorable one. Below are some guidelines and pointers that would help in making your STAR interview quite memorable.
Start on a high note
Naturally, the interviewing panel will often start off the STAR interview with some very basic greetings like ‘How are you?’ and other icebreakers. It is important to note that the panel may not necessarily care about how you are, but this primarily serves as an icebreaker or just a transitional statement to more pressing matters – the interview itself. Most candidates make the mistake of answering this question with a simple ‘fine’ or ‘good’. While this may be genuine answers, they are just plain and clichés.
When you seriously want to make an impression on the STAR interview panel, you should be creative and find better alternatives to the obvious question. For instance, you can answer, perfect, excellent or stellar, just to mention a few. This will help to jog the STAR interview panel to attention and will make them want to listen to what you have to say!
Avoid one word answers
When attending a STAR interview, questions are bound to arise, which you think a one-word answer would do. However, a candidate should take care not to fall into the trap of plainly answering a simple yes or no. Notably, any question from the interviewer is an opportunity for you to showcase your strengths and potentially edge closer to landing the role.
STAR interviews require that you recall or highlight past experiences and how you reacted to particular challenges. When this chance arises, it is okay to give illustrations. Short examples of past experiences could place you firmly in the back of the interviewers’ minds soon after you are gone. In cases where you give a simple yes or no, the interviewer may interpret this to mean that you are probably not confident or are somehow intimidated. If necessary and with available resources, it is advisable to use provided whiteboards or charts to present your case as this material will be left at their disposal thus ensuring your presence lingers after you leave the interview room.
Take advantage of minor impactful actions
To be successful in a STAR interview, you have to stand out from the rest of the candidates that are being interviewed for the same position. Remember that other job seekers may be equally (or even more) qualified than you and thus the determining factors will boil down to minor actions and skills demonstrated. While in the interviewing room or the waiting lounge, simple actions like assisting the secretary who has had her file knocked over her table would go a long way. Understandably, most buildings are wired with surveillance cameras everywhere, and indeed this may just be part of the interview.
When it comes to a STAR interview or any other interview for that matter, nothing should be left to chance. Each and every occurrence should be interpreted to be part and parcel of the STAR interview. Ideally, a candidate should never switch off out of the interview mode just because they have left the interview room. Maintain your interview mannerisms until you are off the potential employee’s premises.
Language and maintaining eye contact
A STAR interview is an extremely official engagement that requires high levels of etiquette and decorum. More so, the language used should not include brevities and acronyms but conform to the highest degree of official communication. In fact, a STAR interviewee’s success to a large extent depends on their ability to communicate and how well they articulate their points. Most hiring managers would want to hire persons who can communicate accurately and clearly. Basic communication etiquette of not talking down or over other people should also be observed.
Similarly, maintaining eye contact with the interviewer demonstrates that you are confident and are sure of what you are saying. Further, it may be a sign of honesty in STAR interviewers’ minds. However, make sure that you are not staring or gazing. That may indicate boredom or be seen as disconcerting, even rude.
Make sure you ask questions
Most interviewers at the tail end of their STAR interview, often throw a question back at the interviewee with, ‘Do you have any question for us?’ The majority of the candidates would be tempted to ask the various obvious question about salary or when to report and so on. While these may be valid questions, the driving force is to make the STAR interview memorable. For instance, you may opt to ask the most important and pressing challenges that the hired person will have to tackle.
Additionally, you may seek to find out how different the new hire will have to fill this position compared to the last person who held this position. This sort of question in a STAR interview brings about your ability to identify what the hiring manager needs in a successful candidate. Again, questions like these in a STAR interview creates the impression that you are already picturing yourself as an employee in the company.
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