Tips from a Recruiter: Behavioral-Based Interview Questions & STAR Answers

By: Brigid Lipps, PHR, SHRM-CP,
Senior Recruiter Corps Team

Behavioral-Based Interview Questions & STAR Answers:

Behavioral interviewing is based on discovering how the interviewee responded in specific past employment-related situations. It is used because generally, how you acted in the past will predict how you will act in the future.

These questions are formatted by presenting a situation, inquiring about your response to that situation, and what action or task you did to get to the result. Below are a few common behavioral-based interview questions:

  • Tell me about a specific time when you worked effectively under pressure.
  • Describe a problem that arose at work and how you successfully resolved it.
  • Give me an example of a goal you set and how you reached it.

To best answer these questions, use the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, Result. It’s a straightforward format you can quickly refer to that provides specific examples of how you handled a certain situation.

Situation: Set the scene and give details around your chosen example.
Task: Highlight the tasks involved and your responsibilities.
Action: Describe what action you took to address the situation.
Result: Share the outcome or resolution.

Here’s an example:

Q: Tell me about a specific time when you worked effectively under pressure.

A: I am often tasked with working well under pressure and one specific example that stands out is when a client required a project with only 5 days turnaround. I had to re-prioritize my other work and come up with a detailed timeline management plan of all the required tasks. This allowed me to boost my efficiency and deliver the project by the deadline. The client was very pleased.

As always when interviewing, preparation is key. Think about your most prominent examples beforehand, write them down, and practice answering them to a friend (or even in the mirror)! The goal is to provide a well-rounded answer that shows you will be a top-performer in the future.


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