The STAR method is used to help keep answers to interview questions focused while still providing the information that the interviewer needs.
Below is an example response using the STAR method, if an employer asks about a situation exemplifying initiative:
Situation — Task
“I was a member of the student organization, XYZ. We planned to have a float for VEISHEA. Our president stopped attending meetings or communicating with the other officers. Attendance dropped and nothing happened at meetings. Our organization had been on campus for a long time and had a great reputation.”
“Although I was not an elected leader, I asked two officers to meet me at the union to talk about the float.”
“At the meeting, I mentioned that XYZ had a great reputation and my Dad talked about XYZ when he was a student. The vice president agreed to meet with the president to clarify his role. We learned the president was having problems and was relieved that the vice president was willing to assume leadership. The three of us looked at the requirements in the by-laws and took the necessary steps to change the leadership to the vice president. I contacted the members who stopped attending. We got a late start, but we pulled together and had the float in the parade.”
Demonstrated initiative by:
- Taking a proactive approach (can include a description in the activity section of resume for interviewer to ask specifically about involvement)
- Acting beyond what was required
- Difficult to determine from the story if the action was taken promptly (interviewer may follow-up in a behavioral interview)
The next step in preparing for interviews and planning activities to broaden your competencies is developing STAR Records. The records are short notes that assist you in communicating competencies to employers. Here is one that is based on the example above:
S,T XYZ- float for VEISHEA, no president, no action
A met officers
R met with president, ok by-laws, contacted members, had float
You will continue to develop the competencies throughout your career. As a senior, you will have more competencies and with more depth than if you are a first year engineering student.