Friday, March 30, 2012

STAR method of answering Behavioural Interview questions for MBA students

I attended a mock interview recently at a major big name Management Consulting firm in Toronto and got some practice regarding answering behavioural interview questions. It was an excellent experience and I am glad that I attended. I was very impressed by the ambience, by the feel of the place, by the way people were dressed (so elegantly), groomed and behaved. I felt that I would like to work in such a big name firm and learn not just the technical skills, but also learn about life in a big firm. The experience shall add so much value.

These days, the concept of behavioural interviews is gathering steam. The resoning behind this is that "Past behaviour is a predictor of Future behaviour". What a person has done in the past is likely to predict what the person may do in the future.

I also learnt about the STAR technique to answering behavioural interviews. Details below:
  • S - Situation
  • T - Task
  • A - Action
  • R - Result

S / T - Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.

A - Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did - not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did. 

R - What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? 

More about STAR interview technique: One strategy for job-seekers preparing for behavioral interviews is to use the STAR Technique, as outlined below. (This technique is often referred to as the SAR and PAR techniques as well.) Read up on the technique. Here, below, is a sample STAR interview response:

 Situation (S):Advertising revenue was falling off for my college newspaper,the Stetson Reporter, and large numbers of long-term advertisers were not renewing contracts.

Action (A):I designed a new promotional packet to go with the rate sheet and compared the benefits of Reporter circulation with other ad media in the area. I also set-up a special training session for the account executives with a School of Business Administration professor who discussed competitive selling strategies.

Result (R):We signed contracts with 15 former advertisers for daily ads and five for special supplements. We increased our new advertisers by 20 percent [quantities are always good] over the same period last year.

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