A closer look at STARR answers

In interviews, you are sometimes asked to give an example of how you have demonstrated that you are good at a specific competency. Other times you may be asked to explain how your skills have been useful to teams or organizations in the past. The principle is that the experience you have in specific competencies would have been demonstrated by situations you faced in the past.

It is these examples that the interviewer would be looking for when they ask you to provide your answer in the STARR methodology. Using this approach is your best way to give an example that clearly outlines for the interviewer how you faced a situation, recognized what you needed to do, took action, and achieved good results or outcomes.

The acronym represents 5 specific topics you need to cover in your answer and if you imagine that 5-star picture in your mind, you may be able to more easily formulate your answers and examples during an interview. It is always a good idea to prepare some examples you can think of before the interview, but you may sometimes need to come up with an answer you did not prepare. Hopefully, this picture and explanation help you succeed with that!

The Acronym

The STARR method works on these headings (in sequence) [it is an acronym for these words]

Situation (when, where, what setting)

Task (what you needed to do, which responsibility you took on)

Action (what you did, which way you used a personal strength or competency)

Result (what was the outcome of your action?)

Reflection (looking back at how it went, what did you learn from it – what went well and what would you do differently if you faced the same situation again?)


Starting at the top of the star with the letter S, which represents the Situation you were in. This relates to the time when you were able to demonstrate through your actions that you have good proficiency in a specific competency. Once you have completed describing the Situation, you move clockwise to the next letter T. Once you have covered the questions under the letter T, you move clockwise to the next letter, A for action. And so you continue until you finish by including answers to the questions shown under Reflection.

Each of the topics under the STARR letters in the graphic above shows some bulleted questions which will help you ensure you cover the key aspects of that particular term when it comes to your example. from the past.


Here is an example showing how using the questions under each of the topics in the STARR model can be useful in preparing your answers for interviews.

If you need a template to use in formulating your STARR – style examples, click on the link below.


When you are giving examples, you have to be specific instead of staying with general examples, which is often not convincing to those listening to your answers. . Make a story out of your example and base it on some real event that happened in your past to highlight how you were able to demonstrate a specific skill. Using the STARR methodology makes your story more credible and easier for those listening to you to get a full understanding of the capabilities that you have successfully demonstrated in the past.