Short and Easy Impromptu Frameworks: The STAR Framework

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This blog post is a continuation of the “Short and Easy Impromptu Frameworks” series, which began with the PREP framework. To read about the PREP framework, click here.

The STAR method is a framework that, like the PREP framework, can help you quickly formulate solid responses to impromptu questions. However, the STAR method is also useful for situational questions, especially ones where you can talk about something you accomplished. 

The STAR method is great for events like interviews, as you can quickly and confidently present your achievements without a second thought. (However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it in other areas of life!)

Here are some examples of questions you could answer using the STAR method:

  • “Describe a time that you had to complete an assignment with a tight deadline.”
  • “What would you do in a situation where two of your teammates disagreed?”
  • “What role do you tend to take on when working in a team?”
  • “Have you ever had to continue working on a project when an unexpected obstacle came up?”

The STAR method goes like this:

Situation – This is when you would describe the event you were in. Often, this sets up background information for a challenge you were about to be presented with. Give plenty of details!

Task – Now that you’ve set the scene for your challenge, you need to describe what you were tasked with in the situation. If it wasn’t clear before, make it clear now! Try to also describe why this was difficult.

Action– Next, talk about what you did to fix the problem or complete the assignment. Make sure to focus on what you did individually, even if you were working with other people. (In other words, give them credit when needed, but talk about what you did!)

Result– Lastly, tell your audience what happened in the end! Directly link the outcome to the work you put in, and go over any lessons you learned along the way. If you have any specific strengths and weaknesses you discovered through the process, highlight those. Remember to emphasize what you have accomplished.

All in all, the STAR framework can help you compose a structured response to a situational or behavioral question to which you must provide an anecdote. While the STAR framework works best in interview-like situations, variations of it can be used anywhere from a classroom setting to casual conversation.

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