How to shine in a job interview – STARV technique

Back in 2018, our Managing Director wrote a blog discussing how the job interview technique  STAR helps you shine in an interview, but now we’re in 2022 so let us introduce you to STARV.

We’re all aware of the classic job interview setup, you’ll be asked about your strengths, your weaknesses, why you want this job or how your friends would describe you. But it’s the competency-based questions that are often more taxing and require more thought.

It’s these questions where interviewers scrutinize your proficiency, assessing how well your skills match the requirements of their role. They’ll be interested in your time management, your ability to cope under pressure and how you work with others.

An example of a competency-based question could be “Tell me about a time when you had a communication issue with a client and how you overcame that?”.

This is where STAR traditionally comes in, it stands for Situation, Task, Action and Results. It provides a simple formula you can follow to answer these interview questions effectively.

Situation: Explain the situation you were faced with, in a previous or current job.

Task: Describe the task and the objective you were aiming for, and the challenge you needed to overcome.

Action: Describe the actions you took to achieve your objective. Expand on how you tackled the challenge you faced.

Results: Talk through the result of your actions, and if possible expand on how your success was measured. You can also describe the lesson you learnt.

An interview is your chance to shine. But to do this, you’ll need to confidently discuss the problems you’ve solved, or difficult situations you’ve overcome to make you stand out from the crowd. Providing credible examples and detailing your process is the best way of demonstrating this.

At Harvey John, we encourage all of our candidates to prepare for these competency-based questions. We recommend writing down concrete examples of your achievements at work, detailing where you’ve gone above and beyond your usual responsibilities. By having a range of anecdotes that demonstrate your performance, you’ll give your interviewer a fuller picture of your abilities.

But, in recent times the STAR technique has been critiqued as it overlooks one vital aspect of interview preparation, and that’s demonstrating your value. 

This is where STARV comes in.

Yes, discussing your experiences with good examples and results is important. But equally, it’s as important to discuss the value of your work. The best way for you to do this is to quantify your achievements.

This may seem tricky at first, so start by thinking about how your efforts have impacted your current business. Whether that be reducing admin costs to winning clients.

For example, you could say, “I generated an additional 100k this year through internal networking”.

Think of this data as your headline.

This number will hook your interviewer straight off the bat because you’ve immediately demonstrated your value whilst giving your example.

Going forward, your interviewer will be far more engaged when you go on to elaborate on the process and end result.

Another way of quantifying your achievements is to ask yourself, “what would the impact be if that result wasn’t achieved?”

Your answer to this can equally work as a headline.

In the world of finance, it’s figures and statistics that demonstrate your value. And it’s your value that makes you shine.

So why not give the STARV technique a go in your next interview?

Katie Thomas is a Research & Content Consultant in the Tax Division at Harvey John.

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