How to use the STAR technique to answer tech interview questions
It is often the case that tech interviews present some of the toughest questions in recruitment. The behavioural interview questions are some of the toughest as well. These questions ask you to discuss your actions and thinking at key ‘flashpoints’. When a particular problem arises, those who make clear and concise decisions are the most desirable employees. However, it’s a very challenging aspect of the interview.
If you use the STAR technique though, you should find that you are able to handle the toughest behavioural interview questions. The STAR technique is not hard to master, and if you work hard to get the principles ingrained into your thinking, you should find that it gets easier the more you practise.
So what is it all about?
The first letter stands for Situation. Remember that the interview panel will be looking for examples of times when you solved problems, or when you showed leadership, and so on. Your very first job is to find that situation where you displayed those character traits and skills. So work hard during your preparation on digging up some situations that show you in your best light when it comes to skills and decision-making. The quicker and decisive responses are what will make you a good candidate.
Once you have covered ‘S’ you should then look at the Task you had to do. Did you have any responsibilities? Did you have to help another colleague with their work? Outline the task you were given to do and this will help paint a picture in the panel's minds.
The next part is all about Action. Here you must describe, in as concise a way as possible, what you did in the situation, or how you solved that particular problem. This should definitely not be about anyone else in the team or management. The spotlight is on you.
This is one of the key moments in the STAR process. If you can articulate what it is that you actually did, you are outlining your skills and experience for the interview panel. This gives them a clear and direct insight into what you could offer the company.
So far you’ve worked on situation, task and action. After these three areas we come to the last part of the STAR process.
The Result part is all about you showing what you achieved with your current or previous employers. It is concrete proof that you get results, and as such it is worth rehearsing what you are going to say at this point in the interview.
The results are what the employer needs to know about. The more concise you are at this point the better. It is most likely the one thing they really remember when they are making their judgement.
Putting all of those elements together into one STAR approach should help you get through even the toughest behavioral questions in a tech interview.