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STAR performance

Published on Friday, 06 Sep 2013
Marc Burrage

Following the admission by Google's senior vice-president of people operations that the company's famous brainteaser interview questions didn't work and would no longer be part of their interview process, we have seen a shift away from this style of interviewing.

Instead, the focus is again on competency or behavioural interview techniques. Behavioural questions often being with "tell me about a time when…" or "describe an occasion when…". These are asked to establish various core competencies relevant to the role, such as teamwork, creativity, decision-making and business awareness.

To prepare for your next behavioural interview, we suggest you answer behavioural questions with one detailed and specific example demonstrating your proven skills and ability to successfully perform that competency.

First, you must gather as much information about the role as you can to determine the competencies required for job success. Review your past experiences and select examples demonstrating these competencies, focusing on situations you handled well and ways you contributed to the success of the business.

You should use the STAR technique - situation, task, action and result - to answer questions. Describe a situation you were in - for example, a colleague was struggling with performance. Tell them what you decided to do - you sat down with your colleague to discuss how you could help. Describe what you did - you gave them examples of how you improved your own performance. Finally, explain the result - for example, performance improved 35 per cent.

Marc Burrage is regional director of Hays in Hong Kong

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