Prepare for an Interview With the STAR Technique

Choosing the right candidate for the job is hard work, so hiring managers want to learn as much as possible during the job interview. The best interviewers know questions evoking a “yes” or “no” response reveal minimal information, so they reach below the surface with behavioral interview questions.

Often beginning with “Tell me about a time when you…” or “Explain a situation where you…” your response provides details on both your fit for the job and company culture. This line of questioning allows plenty of room to shine, but also offers a lot of leeway, which can cause you to inadvertently leave out key details.

One way to ensure you cover all the bases is to use the STAR technique. An acronym that stands for situation, task, action and result, this approach is used by many successful candidates.


Context is everything when telling a story. Begin your response by laying the groundwork for the rest to come. For example, “I was nearing the end of a double shift at the hospital, when a massive snowstorm hit and our replacements couldn’t get to work.”


Explain the assignment you were tasked to complete. For example, “I was aware the severe weather could cause the hospital’s power to go out. While we have a generator, you can never be too cautious when the health and safety of patients is at risk, so I started working to create a backup plan just in case of generator failure.”


At this point in your response, it’s time to highlight what you did to resolve the situation. For example, “I wrote down the contact information for the hospital’s electric provider, called our partner facility to see if they had room for our 20 critical patients, identified essential functions, and checked with building maintenance to find out how long our supply of emergency generator fuel would last.”


Wrap things up by explaining the outcome of the situation and end things on a positive note. For example, “Thankfully, the worst part of the storm passed through in an hour and didn’t cause the hospital to lose power. However, I felt in control of the situation, because I had a plan ready to put into action in the unlikely event of generator failure.”

The STAR technique will help you devise a thorough, easy-to-remember response sure to impress the interviewer. Numbers always stand out, so find a way to quantify your response when possible. Captivate your audience by providing as many relevant details as possible, to make the story more interesting and authentic. With that said, don’t drone on and bore the interviewer; stick to the point and finish your reply as quickly as possible, without omitting any key facts.

Finding the right job is hard work, but you don’t have to go it alone. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at

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