Using the STAR Framework for Interview Questions
I first came to the knowledge of the STAR framework when I was preparing for my case interview with Mckinsey & Company. Read here, here and here to catch up.
The framework was introduced to me by Seun Oyegunle who at that time was an MBA student at Wharton Business School.
A framework simply means an organized way of tackling a problem. You can call it a formula.
STAR simply meansS - Situation : Give a brief description of the situation you found yourself in.
T - Task : State the task you needed to carry out and the challenges you considered
A - Action : Describe the specific actions you took to complete the task
R - Result : State the result achieved with numbers to quantify the result.
This framework is best used for competency-based questions you might be asked in an interview. Usually with these questions, you have to tell a story about your achievement(s).
The trick is to weave the STAR framework into your responses without pausing or letting the interviewer know you are making use of a framework. You need to make it flow seamlessly, this is where practice comes in.
I used this framework to answer some of the pre-interview questions Mckinsey sent to me and I was successfully called to take the Problem Solving Tests.
An example of a STAR answer is shown below
Q: Tell me of a time you displayed initiative at work
A: One time, we had a nationwide labour strike but also had a backlog of clients' transactions to process (Situation). With the strike, mobility to get to the office to process these transactions was a challenge. Furthermore, these clients were mostly international clients and were already complaining about our turnaround time (Task with Issue). I realized that some of the work could be done remotely so I sent an email requesting remote access to our organizational files and commenced attending to these clients remotely and working through the labour strike. [Action]. I was able to attend to about 6 of the 10 clients and this resulted in repeat business of about $2m (Result-Measurable).
Click here to see more examples of this framework being put to use.