28th February, 2020

Shine Like a STAR in your Interview

Stress and Worry

Interviews can be a very daunting and stressful to prep for.

You worry about:

  • What questions they will ask
  • What impression you will make
  • Whether or not you will answer fully and the best you can


It can all seem too much and a lot of people are put off looking for a new job because they don’t want to go through it.


Have no fear, here at Full Picture we have the formula to guarantee you shine like a STAR in your interview.


When to use then STAR technique


The STAR interview technique is a tried and tested successful method on how to answer any behavioural or competency questions.

These questions usually start:

  • What would you so if…
  • Describe a…
  • Tell me about a time when…
  • Give me an example if…
  • Have you ever…

The STAR technique stops you from rambling on and on without coming to a natural conclusion when faced with these types of questions. All you need to do is think of examples of when you have handled a situation successfully and effectively and put them in to the STAR formula.


Picking the right Example


You might be thinking “How can I pick an example if I don’t know what questions they will ask?” Do not fret, the questions are usually quite generic and based around the same categories:

  • Teamwork

e.g. Tell me about a time when you have worked with someone with a different work style to yourself?

  • Client-facing skills

e.g. Describe a time when you did not meet the client’s expectations? What did you do to rectify the situation?

  • Ability to Adapt

e.g. Tell me about a time when you had to improvise in order to deal with an unexpected situation

  • Time Management

e.g. Give me an example of when you’ve had too much to complete on time and you felt overwhelmed by the situation

  • Communication

e.g. Describe a time when you’ve explained something complex to someone first time successfully

  • Motivation and Values

e.g. Tell me about a time when you have solved a problem by taking the initiative or implemented a change to improve productivity and morale

Write a few examples for each category to ensure you are prepared for whatever question you are faced with. They may also ask you a few questions for each section so this way you will be prepares with enough examples to answer all their questions.


Now that you have your examples, you can start putting them in to the STAR formula.


Here’s our example using the STAR method for the following question:


Q: Tell me about a time when you have solved a problem efficiently and successfully.


S for Situation


You’ve picked the situation that best displays your skills and competency, now is the time to position it correctly. The ideal answer is clear, concise and containing only necessary details. Paint the full picture for them and highlight the intricacy of the situation so that your result and conclusion is impressive.

Keep focused and on track. Don’t include anything that doesn’t add value to the story as this will draw away from what you have accomplished. Keep it simple.



Last year I was asked to reduce the time staff spent on the phones to suppliers in order to tackle the back log of work. The company needed to regain 1 working week at full capacity of 40 members of staff in order to get back on track. This equated to 1500 hours in total.


The scene has been set and it is clear what was the problem was. No irrelevant information and there’s emphasis on how monumental the task will be.


T is for Task


This is where you get to accentuate your involvement and your responsibilities. This is not to be confused with the next section – action. Here you highlight your part in the situation and what you are responsible for.



As part of the project, it was my responsibility to investigate how much time the call handlers spent on the phone to the suppliers and how much value was added by the calls. It was also my job to find alternate which enabled the staff to make less outbound calls.


A is for Action


Here is your time to shine. Focus on specifics and avoid vague answers. Emphasise what you did, you are not trying to get your team mates a job. Make sure you include details and specifics. It’s your opportunity to showcase your valuable contribution and how you made a difference. Be confident and sell yourself.



Firstly, I designed a log sheet for the handlers to note down how long they spent on the phones to suppliers and what the outcome was from the call. I automated the spreadsheet so they could fill it out whist on the call ensuring no added time was spent collecting the information. I asked them to keep this log for a week in order to get a comprehensive view of the average time spent per day on call to the suppliers.

My next task was to identify how many of the suppliers had portals that we could use and request user profiles for all 40 FTE. Whilst awaiting the log in details I used a test profile to train the staff members on how to use them. I did this in 1-hour workshops with groups of 10, for manageable groups and low impact waiting call times. I created training guides on how to use each portal for when they needed refreshers on how to use them.

Once the suppliers had created the profiles, I created an encrypted workbook with all their log in details for each portal and sent each call handler their log in details and asked them all to check them and advise me once they had logged in.


R is for Result


Let’s go out with a bang. Now is the time to really blind them with your shine! Tell them how you made a positive impact, your biggest achievements and successes. This is the part that most people leave out but if added it’s what impresses the employer and makes you memorable.


The employer is not looking for what you did, they are looking for what impact you had and the value you added.



Once all the handlers had working log ins for all the portals and the call time out to suppliers cut by 80%. This saved the company 4 weeks at full FTE capacity which was 75% more that the target of 1 week per year. I saved the company a total of 6000 working hours.  It also improved the customer service and reduced complaints due to the handlers being able to get live updates whilst on the call to the customer without placing them on hold or arranging a call back once they had called the supplier. The call waiting times also improved due to more handlers being available to take the calls and the post was back in service and maintained.


Practice makes Perfect


Practice, practice, practice. Once you know the technique and feel comfortable using it, you need to practice your delivery. Practice until it becomes second nature to you. The more confident you are the better you will become, and this will show in the interview. Write down your examples in the STAR method and take the notes in with you. This will help you to stay calm and composed and will also show how prepared and organised you are.




Now that you have the skills, let us give you a chance to show them off!

Call us today on 01489 667 033 and become a STAR with Full Picture Recruitment.