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STAR Framework; The go too framework for Competency Based Questions

How to Ace your next interview

When it comes to competency questions there is one framework which you can stick to when answering to ensure that your answer is in depth, leaving the recruiter and yourself satisfied at the end of the job interview. This framework is adopted by hundreds of companies, including the Ministry of Defence, and is a straightforward process which takes the form of an acronym; STAR, adopting a different concept for each letter.

Situation: To allow for the context within which the job you performed happened. This can involve where it happened (which job, volunteer position or relevant happened), and what happened (suitable to the question which has been asked).

Task: Describe your responsibility within the situation.

Action: Describe in as much detail as possible what you did to complete the task which was set above. The steps you personally took to ensure the task was met.

Result: Explain the outcome of what happened when you completed the above task; this can be anyway, for example, job satisfaction, customer satisfaction, what you learnt or accomplished.

It is important when completing this that you ensure that you talk about yourself as it is a way for you to ‘big yourself up’ to your hopefully future employer/s. These questions may be asked in the initial application process but also in the interview. Below is an example of a competency from myself personally; however, it is worth noting that they do not always have to be this long as you may be bound by time or word count restraints; also, when talking you will miss out some details. It is a good idea to prepare for some of the most common competency-based from our previous article here.


Could you let me know a time where you have overcome an obstacle or challenge in the workplace?

During my time at a major supermarket I had to manage difficult customers on a regular basis; however, one that sticks out, is the time when I had a customer who had become hysterical after trying to obtain a Christmas angel costume from our clothing range which was for their granddaughter’s Christmas play the next day. She had rung up earlier that day and spoken to a colleague about the availability of the costumes; which had been confirmed as available and was agreed to be set aside for her; however, in a mix up of communications the costume had been returned to the shelves and sold to a different customer. When the customer arrived to collect the item, she was obviously upset and distressed due to the immediate need for the item.

I was required to try and defuse the situation by calming the lady down and helping to resolve her problem.

Firstly, I consoled the customer and profusely apologised for the mix-up. I then said that I would do my best to help her to sort the problem. I initially checked the stock in our stock room in case there was any that hadn’t been accounted for; when this was unsuccessful I then started to ring local stores to check their availability. After 4 different calls, we finally found a store which was around 20 miles away. As a goodwill gesture, we sorted her out a meal and drink within the café, paid for by the company while a colleague went and collected the item (I didn’t drive at the time so couldn’t make the journey to personally collect it). When the colleague came back we completed the transaction and let the customer get on her way; feeling happy with the situation and glad that they had obtained their item.

The customer left feeling happy that the situation had been resolved and with the customer care which had been given to her. This gave me the reassurance that I am very capable and good at my job and came away with job satisfaction which is a key element to keep me motivated.