Management 3.0 Practice: STAR Behavioral Interview Questions

Use the "Situation, Task, Action, Results" structure to learn about candidate's accomplishments

One way of overcoming the challenge of recruiting great people to your team is to thoroughly explore their competencies and motivations during the interview stage.

There are plenty of fish in the sea… But you only want the greatest on your team

Behavioral interviewing is designed draw on concrete examples from their past experience, and is more reliable than asking hypothetical questions – “What did you do?”, rather than “What would you do?”

As well helping to explore their previous work, this approach evokes candid responses, and also tests their ability to synergize, summarise, and connect examples and techniques – demonstrating their depth of understanding and learning from experience, essential qualities for any role concerned with change management.

STAR Behavioral Interview Questions

Using the STAR framework, you can explore relevant experiences and take candidates through a structured process to relate them to you:

  • SITUATION – Ask for a specific example of something they have dealt with, complete with context (where, when, etc).
    “Tell me about a situation when….”
    “Describe a time when you dealt with…”
    “Can you share an example of a situation which…”
  • TASK – What needed to be done – what was the change needed? What challenges arose from this? What was the expected outcome? How the candidate defines this will tell you a lot.
  • ACTION – “What did you do?” “How did you do it?”
    A chance to probe for elaboration and test their technical skills, why did they choose that approach? Were there alternatives they dismissed, and why?
  • RESULTS – “What was the outcome?” Can they concisely explain what the benefits were – quantitative and qualitative? This will also tell you something about their values, as well as their ability to evaluate and be analytical.

Download some great examples of STAR questions to use in your interviews

Please send us your case studies, of how you used the STAR questions in behavioral interviewing, to help you hire great people for your team. And check out our Leadership Resource Hub to learn about all the Management 3.0 Products and Practices.

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