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An important technique to master job interviews – S.T.A.R.

Twinkle Twinkle Little S.T.A.R.

(Tips on a successful interview)

by Rayfil Wong

During my senior year at UC Berkeley, I started interviewing with companies for a full time position.  The most memorable experience I had was interviewing with Max, I hi tech company that produced chips for cell phones. 

During the interview, the hiring manager asked, “with your annual budget, would you spend your money on developing a new cell phone or spend money on improving the old cell phone?”  I said, “in this perplex yet complex situation, I would initiate and invest money improving the old cell.  The variable would be so much in favor to add value in this complex situation.” 

After my statement, I saw the hiring manager express a puzzled look.  He said something I would never forget.  He said, “Ray, you do not need to use big words or try to impress anyone.  Instead, you should communication your answer.” 

I said, “thank you so much for being honest.  Although I know I did not get the job, I thank you for teaching me to answer in a clear and simple way.”  

After that incident, I did more research so that I can improve my interviewing skills.  After research , I learn that 

“Great communicators are simply great storytellers”

so I adapted the S.T.A.R method for interviewing which stands for

S: situation

T: task

A: action

R: result

For instance, I would memorize three stories to prepare for my future interviews.  When I interviewed with Fried Rice foods, the largest food distributor in the United States I used the numerous interview tips. 

One of the biggest tip I use is that I always arrived to the interview fifteen minutes early.  I am calm when I arrive early and I also let the employers know that I desire the job.  When I looked around at the other candidates, I knew that I had challenging competition.  I was only twenty four years old and I was competing with people about ten years older than myself. 

When I went in for the interview, I felt prepared since I had memorized three stories.  The hiring manager asked me, “tell me a situation when you had to work as a team.”  Being prepared, I answered using the S.T.A.R method, “I recall when I was a marketing represenatative for San Francisco Brew.  My task was to throw a catering party for the free screening for the movie Sweet and Sour Pork goes to London

I was successfully since I had a meeting with all the managers and people involved with the event the night before the screening confirming all the orders of the food and door prizes.  As a result, the promotional event was a major success because I had great time management and was well prepared.”  

I still remember that the manager was truly impressed especially since I presented my answer in a descriptive, organized, and energetic fashion.  Later that day, I was notified that I was hired.

Image to remember: S.T.A.R

Interview tip to remember: Memorize at least three previous job situations and answer interview questions with S.T.A.R. structure and enthusiasm

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