The Behavioral Interview: Have STAR Job Stories to Share

Each week in BusinessWeek, Jack and Suzy Welch contribute a column.  This week’s (April 7) column concerns questions for interviewing CEO candidates. 

While most of us will not interview for a CEO position, it is interesting to note the questions the Welches suggested.  Some samples:

In your career, what’s the best example of you anticipating market changes that your competitors did not?

Can you point to any of your people who “grew up” with your guidance and  have gone on to succeed in your own company or beyond?

What was the toughest integrity violation you have encountered and how did you handle it?

Have you ever had to define yourself in the midst of criticism, and did you succeed?

You’ll note that all of these questions are behavioral in nature…They ask the interviewee to tell a story demonstrating his or her abilities regarding the question.  The point of the behavioral interview question is to determine how a candidate has behaved in the past, thus suggesting their future behavior.

Answering behavioral questions requires some preparation.  Consider the “STAR” technique:  Answer this type of question by offering:

S – situation.  Describe the scene.   Offer some background for the listener.
T – task.  Elaborate on the work that you did to solve or address the problem.
A – action.  Describe what you did.
R – result. Don’t forget to explain how it all came out.  Hopefully, you were the hero in a story with a happy ending!

It’s a good idea to have some stories that describe obstacles you’ve overcome, including problems with colleagues or bosses, as well as several stories describing successes.  Have some “job stories” to share and you’ll be better prepared to explain what you have to offer an employer.

Keppie Careers will help you prepare for your interview!  Need a top-notch resume?  Keppie Careers offers confidence, clarity and job-search know-how!


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April 2008
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