STARS and Secrets to a Successful Interview

In the last Blog, the theme was “Knowing What You Have to Offer.”  Whether you are interviewing for admissions to a university or sitting in a job interview, some of the standards for success are identical.  You must know what you have to offer the organization and you have to be able to articulate it to the individual or team asking the questions.

So, what are the STARS and Secrets to a successful school or job interview?

Secret #1 – Confidence – Look them in the eye, extend your hand for a firm handshake and flash an enthusiastic smile. Create a sense that this is the energetic and engaging person that they would want on their team.  Stand tall and sit tall, shoulders back and continue to maintain eye contact with everyone in the interview.  You won’t have to tell them you’re confident.  Demonstrate it!

Secret #2 – Toot Your Own Horn – Mom always said, “Sometimes you have to toot your own horn.”  Mom was right!  When you are working to secure admissions to a university or a job, you have to be able to promote yourself.  That means highlighting great examples of what makes you unique to the organization due to your past experiences or natural abilities.  There is a difference between being arrogant and tooting your horn.  Honesty and integrity are highly valued so promote yourself, but don’t embellish.

Secret #3 – STARS – Since past behavior may be a predictor of future performance, many organizations are turning to questions that require the interviewee to provide specific examples of situations that are indicators of how they may perform in the new environment.  That’s where the STAR comes in.   In answering a question that asks you to give an example, follow this formula:

     Situation – Identify the situation you are going to reference

Time frame – Identify the time frame that the situation required from start to finish

Action – State the actions that you took to resolve the situation

Results – State the results as they relate to your actions

Secret #4 – Do Your Own Interview – Make sure you have done your homework before the interview.  Know as much about the organization as you possible can and be prepared with your own questions.  Your interview is not just about what you can do for the organization, but also how good the organization is for you.  Questions that you ask should not have answers readily available on the website or literature about the organization.  They should be specific to the position, supporting positions and opportunities for growth.  Demonstrate your interest!

The competition for admissions to universities and the job market is challenging.  Being prepared for your opportunity means getting the work done ahead of time and following a strategy.   Activate the Secrets and STARS to land your big opportunity!