Answering Interview Questions

When it comes to interview questions, they can be tough to answer if you don’t have a strategy.  While working for the bank I have been on several interviews, some for a promotion and some to just transfer to a new location.  The questions asked are never the same, but I have a tip for how to respond.  Just remember STAR, situation/task, action and result.  Something shared with me by my former manager to help prepare for an interview.

Below are a few sample questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you successfully adapter to a culturally different environment.
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with a very upset coworker/customer.
  • Give a specific example of a policy you conformed, but with which you did not agree and why.
  • Describe a time when you encouraged team members to contribute their talents to a specific goal.
  • Tell me about a time when you were given a project with specific deadlines and how you approached it.

First, remember you do not have to only talk about experiences at work.  Being a full time student many of my responses are tied into my schooling.  Then use STAR, describe the situation background and/or the specific task information. Next what action did you take, list specific steps performed and the skills or behaviors used to carry out the action.  Last, share the actual outcome or result of the action taken.

This is only one way to approach interview questions and using STAR may not be the only way to answer the question correctly.  However, if the person conducting the interview asks you to elaborate or give more details they are probably looking for the STAR answer.

The last piece of advice I can give for answering interview questions is to be you.  Don’t make up stories to embellish who you are, somewhere down the line those lies will catch up with you.


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