STAR Interview Method + How to Answer HR Interview Questions

Expert tips on the STAR interview method to answer behavioural questions and how to answer HR interview questions.



We are in a labour market that is increasingly focused on the development and integral well-being of workers.

It is here where soft skills have gained particular importance when it comes to becoming a leader.

Soft skills, unlike hard skills, are essential social skills. 

They allow recruiters to lean more towards one candidate than another.

To do well in a job interview, you need to think about

  • What you will say?
    • How you will introduce yourself?
      • What you are going to wear?
        • How you are going to organise your speech and prepare yourself for the most varied questions?

          This questionnaire measures, the initiative, dynamism, energy, adaptability, and frankness of the interviewee.

          There are different approaches to answering HR round questions. 

          Recently, we interviewed our mentor Dhwani Shah, a behavioural skills trainer. She has an experience of 11+ years and has helped over 4000 mentees achieve their goals through her mentorship initiative, Raise The Bar: Upskill With Dhwani

          In this interview, she shared some amazing insights on how to ace the behavioural rounds.

          You will learn how to use the STAR interview technique to answer HR or behavioural round interview questions with examples. Along with this, we have also listed down some common HR questions and how to answer them.

          Read on to see how you can use this method to get leverage over others in the behavioural round. 

          Common technique to answer HR/soft skill/behavioural round interview questions

          One of the first questions recruiters ask is often, "tell me about yourself." The ambiguity of the question makes the situation complex.

          The phrase "Tell me about you" generates a display of possibilities that have to do with where to start, and talk about personal or work life.

          When answering that question, use a technique called "present-past-future".

          Start with what you are currently doing, go through the main employment history and conclude with the expectations of the company you want to join.

          👉For example: "I am currently a sales executive at Smith, where I work with some of the firm's most important clients.

          Before that, I worked in an agency where I was in charge of dealing with three very important health brands. 

          While I really enjoyed my experience at that company and gained new skills, I would love to specialise by working directly for a healthcare company.

          That is why I am here, excited about the opportunity to work with you at Metro Health Center. "

          This is an interesting approach.

          You base your past, position the present and project the future.

          But, in an interview, you always have to consider the general context, what has happened before, who the interviewer is, and what you perceive he is looking for.

          The answer to this question also aims at knowing a little more about you. Something that is not in the resume. Your hobbies, interests or any other activity that you partook in.

          The "present-past-future" technique well-implemented with personal details, can have positive results.⭐

          Try to prepare in every way so that the questions do not take you by surprise.

          In this way, you can avoid being anxious by not knowing what will happen. If you are ready to address the situation, you are more likely to be calm and better respond to questions.

          Read: Why Soft Skills Matter in Interviews and How to Develop?

          The STAR method of answering questions in the interview

          HR interview preparation is essential because you will have a good chance of being confronted with it.

          In a job interview, you have to present your background and the companies in which you have worked. 

          But, you may still feel like you are reciting your CV and find it difficult to value your experiences. 

          This penalises you compared to other candidates who are quicker to put themselves forward.

          Whatever job you are aiming for and the type of contract at hand, the STAR technique will benefit you.

          It allows you to answer the questions logically without beating around the bush. Revealing your journey through past professional experience.

          The definition of the STAR interview method

          The STAR interview technique is a disruptive method that values ​​past actions and experiences.⭐

          Beyond the usual lingo (“I am agile,” “I know how to manage a team”), this method backs up your skills through the presentation of concrete achievements.

          This is particularly useful for structuring your presentation during a job interview. It also allows you to personalise and energise it.

          What does the acronym STAR stand for?

          STAR is the acronym that designates the four concepts to address to build your presentation:

          S for Situation, that is to say, the context description—which allows you to give a global vision to your interviewer.

          T for Task, which designates the mission and the goal to be achieved.

          A for Action, which corresponds to the set of actions you have initiated to complete the task successfully.

          R stands for Result, which allows you to highlight the results and the effects of your efforts, particularly by mentioning figures.

          How to use this method effectively?

          The STAR interview technique offers tangible elements to your interviewer.

          ⭐Identify the topics you want to present to enhance your skills. For example, setting up an ERP to highlight your ability to define processes, manage complex projects and manage a team.

          ⭐Define the subjects that will be discussed during the interviews. Break down your answer according to the four axes of the STAR interview technique.

          In what context did you carry out the project?

          ⭐Summarise your answers through a few notes and keywords, which you can refer to during the job interview.

          Remember to focus on your accomplishments and not those of your team.

          Your interviewer seeks to know your skills, your achievements, and your results.

          ⭐Preferably use the “I” pronoun to state your answers.

          An example of putting the STAR interview method into practice

          Let's say, you have just sent your application for the position of human resources manager within an IT services company.

          The question in hand is,

          "Describe a project that you carried out in your current job"

          To answer this, focus on the last recruitment campaign that you carried out within your company.

          ⭐️ Situation: 2 years ago, the SME in which I currently work was restructuring. In particular, it needed to digitise all its services and reorganise its processes.

          The above statement presents a situation of high risk in a competitive environment.

          Hence the decision to quickly set up an IT centre.

          ⭐️ Task: As the HR manager for the SME, I was, therefore, in charge of recruiting a team of developers to digitise part of its services.

          ⭐️ Actions: 

          • Implementation of a recruitment campaign, 
            • Performance of a CSR policy and new communication supports to work on the attractiveness of the company,
              • Hiring of a recruitment officer to carry out the pre-selection profiles, 
                • Development of new recruitment and profile rating processes, 
                  • Development of an onboarding course to promote the integration of new employees.

                    ⭐️ Result: I set up the IT department in less than 5 months by putting together a team of 10 people. Of the 10 employees recruited, 9 were confirmed at the end of the trial period. Three of them have gained skills in management positions.

                    For each of these recruitments, I worked on a professional career and a training course to retain employees.

                    Through this project, I thus tackled all the HR dimensions: recruitment, integration, training, professional employment, and skills development plan.

                    The result need not be positive each time its the learning that you have to explain to the recruiter.

                    🎯Advantage of STAR technique for the candidate

                    Whether for a job interview, an annual assessment interview, or a project point, the STAR technique allows you to illustrate your skills and experiences.

                    By incorporating concrete details into your presentation, you better understand the scope of your skills.

                    You also integrate a storytelling dimension that will arouse your interviewer’s interest. This helps him/her understand your qualities without you needing to state them.

                    The other advantage of the STAR technique is to structure your speech.

                    By organising your presentation according to the four angles of the technique, you sweep the subject efficiently by focusing on the essential points.

                    🎯Advantage of STAR technique for the recruiter

                    Many recruiters know and practice the STAR technique during recruitment. In particular, it allows them to better analyse the relevance of a profile according to their needs.

                    Familiar with this structuring of discourse, they thus gain an immediate understanding of your course.

                    Your past achievements also allow your interviewer to project you into a future position and imagine how you could manage a project or a problem.

                    If you can get this thinking planted in the recruiter’s mind, you are on your way to landing the job.

                    Read: Ace Your Communication Skills for Technical Interviews: 7 Steps

                    Common HR Round Interview Questions and Their Answers

                    During a job interview, the fire of questions can be overwhelming.

                    But if you start with the proper preparation, you have the odds in your favour.

                    There are tons of variations of interview questions all over the internet, from the most basic to the cheat questions.

                    Below are some essential HR round interview questions employers typically ask during a job interview.

                    🔶Tell me about yourself

                    This is one of the questions that you are almost always asked in an interview.

                    Usually, you either have a lot to tell, or you go blank, so we recommend that you summarise your CV in 2-5 minutes dynamically and entertainingly.

                    Don’t count your whole life, and don’t be too short either.

                    The purpose is for a conversation to emerge from this question.

                    With this question, they seek to know the most important details of your life and want to prove your authenticity.⭐

                    🔶What are your strengths and weaknesses?

                    Justify the strengths you choose to put forth with some action or situation wherein you have succeeded.

                    Focus more on soft skills, as the recruiter is looking to know your personality. They are not seeking to talk about technical skills learned with dedicated training.

                    Also, think about weaknesses or areas for improvement that you are working on and have an action plan to counteract them.

                    Do not give a definitive answer, “you are a perfectionist”. 

                    This shows more strength than weakness or speaking a language because this can be learned with practice.

                    ⭐While addressing your weakness, you have to go a step ahead and explain what step have you taken to improve your weakness.

                    The recruiters are looking for people who care for self growth and are willing to improve themselves.

                    Relate the examples you give about strengths and weaknesses to the job role.

                    ‍🔶What do your co-workers say about you? What does your boss say about you?

                    You can get ideas from what they have spoken or written in your evaluations or from a meeting you have had.

                    Reflect on the feedback you have had and be honest when responding.

                    They are looking to know how you are at work and contribute to a work team to understand ​​what you will be like if they hire you.⭐

                    🔶Where do you see yourself in five years?

                    This question seeks to know your ambition within your professional career.  You should not focus on your personal life.

                    ⭐Try to explain how the role will help you grow professionally according to the plan and goals you have set for yourself.

                    🔶Tell me an example of a complicated situation you have experienced and how you solved it.

                    Use the STAR interview method (Situations, Tasks, Actions, and Results) to answer the question.

                    Think about various experiences in your previous jobs and be prepared to explain them with this method to provide a clear idea.

                    The purpose is to know how the candidate acts under challenging situations, so keep that in mind to answer well.

                    If you don’t have work experience, you could use an example from school or another aspect of your life.

                    🔶What do you know about our company?

                    Asking this is key to knowing if the candidate is prepared and interested.

                    Also, you will want to see if you fit into that company and if its values ​​match your profile.

                    You can also find information about the work environment, salaries, and career opportunities from former employees or on websites such as Glassdoor.

                    🔶 Why do you think this could be a good opportunity for you?

                    You can answer everything you can offer them and what you would do to meet the goals.

                    Detail why the best option is to hire you and why this job role is an excellent opportunity for you.

                    🔶 What would be your ideal position?

                    This is a tricky question because if you are in a selection process for a job position, naturally that is supposed to be the position you want.

                    The recruiter wants to know if you really want to be part of the company with the opening you are applying to.

                    🔶 Why are you looking for a job?

                    The recruiter wants to understand your current situation to check if you are looking for what they offer.

                    For this reason, you need to clarify your expectations from the beginning. Whether it is greater responsibility, better organisation, salary increase, or a job closer to home.

                    Whatever the situation, let them know.

                    🔶 What would you do if you have to make a decision but there is no established procedure?

                    Reflect on what you have done when this happened to you or how you would do it if you had a situation like this.

                    Show your initiative and how you propose solutions without having a procedure.

                    They want to test whether you feel capable of solving problems without having to go to your boss or someone else.

                    Be confident and show that you are not afraid to take risks.

                    🔶 Have you ever gone beyond and above your call of duty?

                    This question tests your adaptability, integrity and professional ethics.

                    The recruiters are looking to see how you define, ‘gone beyond and above the call of duty.’ 

                    Are you just looking to fulfill your job description all the time or are you willing to go the extra mile?

                    While answering this question, share an example showing your work ethics and dedication for your job. 

                    🔶 How do you share negative feedback with your subordinates?

                    If you are applying for a managerial role then this is a crucial question to judge your interpersonal skills. 

                    The recruiters want to know how effectively you can communicate during difficult situations and still motivate others.

                    🔶 How did you address resistance or immunity to change from your team members? 

                    Sometimes management must take decisions that are not in everyone’s favour. 

                    Here, you will have to explain the process undertaken for implementing such a change. 

                    Again, your decision-making and communication skills will be tested here.

                    If you were called for an interview, you already are one step ahead to be part of the evaluation, so get to work with the HR round interview preparation.

                    Practise the general questions and the ones that can be more specific according to the ideal balance position.

                    Be a storyteller.

                    Develop your answers with real stories.

                    Do not fall into being repetitive or copying answers from the internet.

                    You must stand out, so be yourself and trust what you know.

                    Read: 7 Reasons Why Mock Interviews Increase Your Job Chances

                    How to Prepare for HR or Behavioural Round Interview Questions?

                    You can’t anticipate all the possible questions that will be asked before an interview. What you can do is identify the ideal candidate’s qualities for this position.

                    Once you have an idea of ​​the HR interview round questions you will be asked, the next step would be to find instances from your past that have helped you develop the skills and qualities needed for a job. 

                    Create a list of seven to ten critical assets that make you a considerable candidate for the job.

                    Read: What You Should Ask in an Interview and What You Shouldn’t?

                    ⭐Preparing with a mentor

                    Practising with a real-life interviewer can help you obtain feedback on the skills, knowledge bases, and personal qualities of successful employees in this type of job.

                    The mentor can help you highlight your skills, and point out areas for improvement.

                    Taking behavioural mock interviews will help you get familiarised with the whole process. 

                    The usual and repetitive process of practising by yourself becomes much clear with proper guidance.

                    Getting a mentor through a trusted platform such as Preplaced would be a good fit to prepare for mock interviews before sitting for the real ones. 

                    You can prepare for common and company-specific HR or behavioural round questions with someone who is from your target company and role.

                    Try a free 1:1 mentorship session with an industry expert to ace your interview prep.

                    ⭐Highlight Your Soft Skills in Front of a Recruiter

                    During the job interview, you will differentiate yourself from other candidates; behavioural interview skills are crucial.

                    As we are used to saying, “the first impression is usually the right one,” which is also true in recruiting.

                    Apply to verbalise your soft skills and contextualise them. 

                    The recruiter will evaluate them all the better and thus judge your profile’s compatibility with the position.

                    Before the interview, identify the 3 or 4 soft skills that best suit you and that you can relate to one or more of your professional experiences.

                    To do this, remember your different positions and the missions or personal experiences in which these qualities were expressed.

                    🎯For example, an accountant who will know how to highlight his ability to be proactive by explaining that he can detect a problem, analyse it and provide a solution to it will be more likely to hold the recruiter’s attention than another.

                    Wrapping it up

                    Behavioural interviews are meant to make you nervous. 

                    But with the STAR interview method, you can give your speech a clear structure and highlight your skills and professional background as a candidate.

                    The more you take care of your behavioural round interview preparation, the more positive the results will be. 

                    You can connect with the right person with the right skills to help you crack the behavioural round with ease.

                    Go here for a free 1:1 trial session with a professional career mentor.

                    Checkout the highlights of the discussion below!

                    Ace Your Behavioural Interview: How To Prepare & Stand Out! - YouTube