Have you ever been caught off guard with a question in an interview? A competency-based question could well have been the culprit. These questions typically require the candidate to demonstrate they have the right skills for a role by using a previous experience which showcases those skills in action.
S.T.A.R is an acronym standing for:
Situation: set the context for the story
Task: what was required of you?
Action: what did you actually do?
Result: what was the outcome?
Let's look at example of a candidate for a customer services role is asked: "Describe a situation when you had to deliver excellent customer service following a complaint"
• Situation: "A customer rang up complaining that they'd waited more than two weeks for a reply from our sales team regarding a product query."
• Task: "I needed to address the client's immediate query and find out what went wrong in the normal process."
• Activity: "I apologised, got the details and passed them to our head salesperson, who contacted the client within the hour. I investigated why the query hadn't been answered. I discovered that it was a combination of a wrong mobile number and a generic email address that wasn't being checked. I let the client know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order."
• Result: "The client not only continued to order from us but posted a positive customer service tweet."
Used at its best, the Star structure is invisible to the listener and allows you to break your response down in a logical way.