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Answering Situational Questions

by Melissa Small
 

During job interviews, we all try our best to shine. When I hear the word shine I always think of stars, which is coincidental for interviewing since STARS is an acronym we use to help you structure your interview responses to questions such as “tell me about a time when…”, “give me an example of…”, or “describe a situation where….”.

These types of questions are called Behavioural or Situational Questions. Employers want to hear you provide a story of your past experiences to demonstrate a certain type of skill. They may ask about your ability to provide customer service, team work skills, problem solving confidences, capabilities to meet a deadline, and other skills that may appear on the job description. Taking some time to reflect on your past work experience will help you build your stories so that you can SHINE when you’re given the chance to interview for the job of your dreams.

Use the STARS formula to feel more confident in answering situational questions:

Situation: Set the stage to identify the problem/challenge that you faced within that professional setting. This is setting the stage for your story.

Task: Outline your responsibilities and connection to what someone would have expected from you in that role.

Action: Be descriptive in activities and steps that you took to manage and respond to the situation that you’re being asked about. This is the middle of the story when you build up to the big finale.

Result: Provide the factual details about how the outcome was resolved and try to tie it back to why this is relevant for your type of work. This will help you end the story and provide a natural drop in your tone to help the employer know that you are finished.

Strengths: This is a bonus idea that it helpful to blend in throughout your answer because you want the employer to know the skills and strengths that you feel confident in using while at work. Sharing these skills multiple times throughout the interview will help reinforce and remind the employer of your suitability for the role.

If you’re looking for more help to practice and refine your interview skills, we’re happy to support you in your job search efforts. Let us help you show your work to get the passing grade at your next interview! Give us a call or check out www.beemployed.ca for more information.