A popular framework useful for several interview questions is the STAR Framework. STAR is the acronym of Situation, Task, Action and Result. This framework can be used to answer questions around failure, achievement, conflicts, ethics etc. Moreover, the logical nature of framework could be successfully used to tackle unexpected question in the interviews. If you are asked a lot of counter questions after your responses, it is likely that you are missing some aspect of this framework. For instance, if after your answer, the interviewer asks you a counter question about the outcome of your efforts, it means that you have missed the result part of the framework while answering the question.
The best way to practice initially is to label part of interview prep into the buckets of Situation, Task, Action and Result so that you do not forget any of these critical aspects. With time, you will get accustomed to structuring your thoughts by using this framework.
Let’s discuss different facets of this framework along with an example.
Situation: Situation means the circumstances that you were facing at the time of the situation. Situation would generally be other work priorities and deadlines that you were facing at the time you got this task. This helps the interviewer to understand the background and perspective that you faced while handling this situation.
Example of a situation: So, this was when, I was the finance controller of the JV and was busy in raising funds after lengthy discussion with Amazon Global and RIL Senior Management team.
Task: The next step is to describe the exact problem that you were facing at the time of the interview.
Example of Task: Around this time, the COO of the 1.6 mm Amazon-RIL Start up JV resigned and I was made the interim head of operations. The business was not delivering results and the staff were demotivated
Action: Describe the specific steps taken to compete the task
Example of Action:
- The primary issue facing the business was to bring the business performance in with the budgets. it is important for me to consistently deliver results and maintain healthy working environment. To counter this, I brought in some significant changes. I first ushered credit policy so that we could increase the target base of our customers.
- Secondly, the low employee morale was pegging us down and hence I conducted extensive one-on-one meetings with the COO’s team of 12 and requested them to stay focused.
- Finally, because the targets were pushed top-down, I adopted a collaborative approach and took the input of the sales team to understand which markets could be targeted and how we could target them.
Result: Please specify the result you achieved because of the steps you took. It is advisable to quantify the results in value terms or percentage terms. Please specify any award you received from achieving this task.
Example of Result: These efforts meant that within 3 months we increased the sales by 30%. My efforts were recognized and I was awarded with the best finance employee out of a team of 42.