No matter how experienced you may be, job interviews can be intimidating.
Whether you’re walking into it brimming with confidence or stifled with anxiety, there’s really no telling how an interview will go.
And oftentimes, a weak response to hard-hitting questions can be a big enough mistake to ruin the entire interview– and your hopes of getting the job.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. And as dreaded as some interview questions can be, you can use them to your advantage and showcase why you’re the best candidate for the role. Keep reading to learn more about one of the best techniques that you can use to ace your interview: the STAR method.
What is the STAR Method?
The STAR method is a simple format designed to help you eloquently and meaningfully answer some of the toughest questions in job interviews. This method gives you the opportunity to prove your professional skills through a well-communicated story of your own experience.
These questions, known as behavioral or situational interview questions, are important for employers to ask because they reveal how you will respond to situations and conflicts that arise in the role you’re interviewing for. By breaking down your example experience into four parts, the STAR technique will help you craft a response that is clearly articulated, professional, and meaningful, and showcase your competency in the workplace.
Choosing the Right Story
Before we jump into how to use the method, let’s get clear on the questions that you can use it for. Behavioral questions usually begin with something like:
Tell me about a time when…
Give me an example of…
What do you do when…
Because there are many ways behavioral questions can be asked, there are an infinite number of stories that you could use as examples. This gives you the freedom to cater the situation to your unique experience, but it can also make choosing a story difficult.
Luckily, there are a six categories of situational stories you can always fall back on:
- An example of something unique or interesting that you have done in your life
- An example of you problem solving
- An example of you remedying a mistake you made
- An example of your success as a teamplayer
- An example of you overcoming an obstacle
- An example of your success as a leader
Once you’ve thought of some stories, the STAR method will help you format them into a manageable response.
Using the STAR Method
The STAR method has four parts: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Each section of this technique contains a portion of your story. By breaking it down into four manageable parts, you will be able to craft an example certain to impress your interviewer.
Let’s break it down!
The first step is to set the scene.
Like any good narrative, your story needs context. Regardless of how applicable your example may be, failure to explain the setting can leave your interviewer confused. So, remember to be as clear and concise as possible. Who were the people involved? What events were occurring? What challenge or challenges were you facing?
Remember to only share relevant background information and work experience. As confusing as a lack of context can be, it can be equally as messy to bog your answer down with unnecessary detail.
The second step is to explain the task.
This is where you will illustrate your role or responsibility in the story. What was your goal or task? Who assigned you this responsibility? What was the desired outcome?
This is your chance to explain your response to the situation so that your interviewer can understand what your goal was and why. Much like the Situation portion, this part of your answer should be brief. Only include enough information to make your point clear.
The third step is to reveal the action you took to accomplish the task.
Your interviewer is aware of the situation and what your goal was to resolve it, now it’s time to explain how you went about getting the desired outcome. What steps did you take to achieve success?
This is the most crucial out of all the STAR method steps. Your actions will show the employer whether or not you are suitable for the role you are interviewing for. They will be looking for you to “display a high level of assertiveness, confidence, and good decision-making skills,” so it’s important to avoid a vague or lazy response. It’s important to remember that your interviewer is looking for specific characteristics, so they are less interested in your goal and more in how you approached it.
The final step is to explain the outcome of your actions.
You’ve talked about the situation, your task, and what steps you took to accomplish it, now you need to reveal the final results. Was the situation resolved? Did you reach your goal? Did the final outcome meet your expectations? If not, how did it differ?
This is your time to truly make yourself stand out. Whether it was a lesson you learned, a catastrophe avoided, or a positive impact on the company, your story’s conclusion should be upbeat, meaningful, and a display of your skills. Be specific in your achievements– you’re aiming to impress!
Remember, behavioral questions, however tough, are a way for you to prove your skills and experience to the employer. Use the STAR method to show that you have what it takes to be successful in the position– and ace your job interview while you’re at it!
💎Prepare for your interview at Equinix with some great tips from the company’s recruiters. Watch the video till the end to learn about Equinix’s application process and how you can stand out!
📼 Get ready for an interview at Equinix with the insights shared by their recruiters: Tori Smith, Global Talent Acquisition Recruiter, and Kelly Mackey, Talent Recruiter for the Operations Team. Together, they’ll reveal tips and tricks about Equinix's interview process and give you some insights into how to prepare.
📼 When preparing for an interview with Equinix, what is the importance of cross-functional skills? First and foremost, Tori will be looking at your attitude, aptitude, and potential. No matter the technical skills they seek, their interest is to see how you work as a teammate and member of a larger organization. (That's your attitude.) For your aptitude, they’ll focus on the previous skills you attained, plus your ability to learn new skills. Lastly, they’ll evaluate your potential. What does your unique background bring to the team that’s new and different? And how can you apply that to make an impact within the bounds of what Equinix is already doing?
📼 At the interview with Equinix, every candidate should come prepared with what Kelly calls an “elevator speech” to answer the question: “Tell me about yourself!” The best way to respond to that is, “Where do you want me to start?” When assessing candidates, Tori will be asking a lot of different questions. What happens if you don't have the answer to a question? In Tori’s view, that's totally okay! If that happens, take a minute to walk the recruiter through how you might approach the question. Next, if it's a technical interview, share your expertise. They'd like to see how you use your knowledge in play. Remember: when you're interviewing, it's your time to shine. Share how you made an impact in previous roles by using numbers, statistics, and any other information that'll help. Provide data on how you’ve made a positive difference at your last job.
Interview With Equinix - Resume and Research Tips
Key tip: Tailor your resume to the specific requirements and responsibilities listed in the job description. You should craft your resume with keywords from the job description so that it screams, “Good fit!” Before the interview, do some research on Equinix and their business model. Learn about the Equinix Data Center, and review anything else you can find on the web. Showing the recruiter your investment in learning about the company will prove your investment in the overall hiring process! Additionally, check out what candidates are saying about their interview experiences on Glassdoor, where you can also check out Equinix’s CEO's ratings.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Equinix? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Tori and Kelly
Tori’s pronouns are she/they, and they’re a Talent Acquisition Recruiter and Global Program Lead at Equinix. The programs they lead focus on inclusion and belonging in the hiring process and the workspace, and the positions they’re recruiting for focus on the new-to-career and internship space. Do you want to work for a Fortune 500 company that makes sure every employee feels safe, that they belong, and they matter? If so, send them a DM on LinkedIn to connect!
Kelly is a Seasoned full-cycle Recruiter with a history of success combined with building solid industry relationships. She has comprehensive experience in recruiting, onboarding, and aftercare. Her goals are to provide a positive & consultative experience for prospects and clients.
If you are interested in a career at Equinix, you can connect with Tori and Kelly on LinkedIn!
More About Equinix
Equinix is the world’s digital infrastructure company. Leading companies depend on Equinix’s trusted platform to offer their services seamlessly and enable migration to hybrid cloud models quickly. Also, interconnect with partners, customers and employees easily, and at the same time innovating to deliver world-class experiences. With 220+ data centers in offices around the globe, Equinix has enjoyed 70+ consecutive quarters of growth while powering the world’s digital leaders.
💎 Prepare for a virtual interview with these three tips from an AAA recruiter! Watch the video to the end to learn all the tools & tricks that’ll help you ace your interview.
📼 Don’t miss these virtual interview tips! Play this video to get three top tips from LaVencia Knight, a recruiter at AAA, that you can use to prepare for an interview with the company.
📼 Virtual Interview Tips #1: Prepare your setup! Scan your background to ensure that everything the interviewer can see is neat and orderly. Next, check your microphone. Make sure it's working correctly before the interview. And lastly, if you're using a smart device, such as a phone, don’t hold it in your hand! It’s best to put it somewhere stable; a stack of books is always helpful!
📼 Virtual Interview Tips #2: Focus on connection. Put yourself in a distraction-free environment before the interview. The evaluator needs to focus on your conversation and not become preoccupied with things in the background. Also, be sure to establish and maintain eye contact during your interview.
Virtual Interview Tips - Tip #3: Present Your Best Self
Be your best self! Dress professionally for the interview. Also, pay complete attention and process the evaluator's questions before you answer. That’s a sign that you are a skilled listener.
📨 Are you interested in joining AAA? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
More About AAA
AAA strives to deliver impeccable service and help their members outsmart life’s roadblocks. They believe everything you do outside of work adds to who you are at work. They're working to transform AAA for the next century with a mission to create members for life by unleashing their collective innovative spirit. They are passionate about maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace that reflects the people and culture of the communities they serve and fostering an environment where everyone can realize their full potential and grow without barriers. They celebrate differences as they make the team stronger and invigorate their workplace. They believe that each team member enriches their culture by contributing unique perspectives, valuable insights, and key strengths. They want each team member to feel valued, respected, and supported.
Learn More about Audible's "Next Chapter" Returnship Program and How to Prepare for the Interview Process
Audible’s ‘Next Chapter’ Returnship program is a 16-week paid full-time internship for experienced professionals returning to the workforce after taking time off for caregiving.
The program is open to professionals who have at least 5 years of professional experience and have been out of the paid workforce for at least one year to focus on caring for a child or other dependent.
Join us to learn more about our distinctive returnship program and how to prep for the interview. You’ll hear from our Program Manager, Supriya, who will give an overview of the program and interview process, a returnee-turned new hire, Archana, will share about her personal interview and returnee experiences and from a mentor, David who will discuss the importance of mentorship and it’s impact on returnees in our program. We hope you’ll join us!