Beyond the STARs - how to tell stellar stories in your next job interview

Beyond the STARs - how to tell stellar stories in your next job interview

Have three Storyteller Tactics in your back pocket as you prepare for your next job interview.

Chances are you'll be asked to "tell us about a time when you..." [insert whatever corporate behaviour they're looking for].

Maybe you've seen the STAR framework, to help you prepare your answer:

  • Situation: Set the scene and give details of your example.
  • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
  • Action: Explain what steps you took to address it.
  • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

The STAR framework should steer you towards a story. But it might be a boring story, when this is a moment to give them a stellar story.

Here's how to prepare a story that goes way beyond the STARs, and makes you stand out from the crowd. 

1. Raise the stakes: pick a story that really matters to you, because the emotional stakes were high. Imagine telling your interviewers about a time when:

"I knew if I got this wrong, everyone would blame me."
"I hated the feeling that nobody was listening."
"They were so relieved when the servers came back online."
Use Emotional Dashboard to find stories with high-stakes drama.
2. Give it a twist: try starting at the end and asking "how did we get here?" Or present the story as a triumph over temptation: "I could have done the easy thing, but I chose to do the right thing."
Use Five T's to shake up the STAR formula.
3. Make it a bumpy ride: this is like STAR on steroids. "I had this situation and task, I took this action but, whoa... it went terribly wrong. And so I thought..."
Use No Easy Way to find your rollercoaster ride.

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