When You Wish Upon A STAR Model

When You Wish Upon A STAR Model

Ever had training on how to ace the job interview? Then, you’ll know about the STAR Model. It’s a way to talk about yourself and your achievements without sounding like you’re big noting yourself.

Reflect on phrases such as,

I have a can-do attitude, I am good with time-management, I am a great communicator.

I never believe anyone who says these things until they’ve shown me some kind of evidence. Worse still, I usually don’t remember them.

It’s simple to remember:

Situation | Task | Action | Result

It’s harder to implement in a smooth and authentic way.

Stories stick in people’s minds and give storytellers validity. Telling a story backs up your claims and shows the interviewer you are a real person with real experiences—that is, you’ve got an authentic example and seemingly many others too.

If done well, a STAR Model story should also show why the interviewer should care. Don’t leave it up to them to join the dots. Your story should answer the question “so what?” That usually means, how did you save the company money or bring in new business. That’s the bottom line of what businesses want to know. That’s why you state the result in your STAR story.

Consider this alternative,

When I worked at NASA as the office manager, I was responsible for coffee distribution. You can only imagine how much coffee trainee astronauts drink. In fact, we were serving International Roast instant coffee, which is cheap but tastes terrible. 90% of the trainees left the office up to three times per day to get a “real” coffee (situation). I conducted a quick cost analysis of the annual lost productivity + coffee expenditure for the year against the cost of purchasing an espresso machine + average cost of making coffees inhouse (task). I took the business case to my manager to get approval and then implemented the changes including setting up a team building barista course activity for the trainees (action). I saved NASA $90,000 per annum, contributed to the company culture of connectedness, helped save money for the trainees as well as keeping them in the office for greater focus on their studies and organic learning around the coffee machine (result).

Three top tips:

  1. Tell a specific story that actually happened to you and don’t speak generally or hypothetically.
  2. Use personal pronouns – it’s your story.
  3. Give clear results in figures, dollars, hours saved, etc.