The Secret Is in the STARS
Learn to provide what interviewers are trained to find.
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Actually, there's a technique that many
HR pros and hiring managers use — and if
you know that technique, you're way ahead
of the game.
The key word to remember: STAR.
That's an acronym for situation, task, ac-
tion, result. It's the cornerstone of a method
called behavior-based interviewing. Smart
companies want to make sure they hire the
best people so they require managers to be
trained to interview effectively and select
new employees using proven methods
rather than hunches or gut feelings. Yes,
there's more of a science to job interviews
than you might imagine.
The premise behind behavior-based
interviewing is that past performance is
indeed an indicator of future success. Smart
interviewers don't settle just for hearing
your philosophy about work or descriptions
of what you would or might do in particular
situations. They want concrete evidence
of your ability to deliver results. They want
solid, real-life success stories.
You know your interviewer has been
trained in behavior-based interviewing
when you hear queries that start with,"Tell
me about a time when or "Describe a situ-
ation in which you ..." or other such ques-
tions. That's your cue to tell your success
stories using the following outline:
Take this approach, and you make the job
easy for your interviewer. And the beauty
is that even if your interviewer was not
trained in behavior-based interviewing, you
are still making the same positive impres-
sion. You're coming across as someone
capable of communicating your strengths
clearly and objectively with an eye toward
results. You're offering something of value
— experience in succeeding in challenging
A good way to prepare for job interviews
is to have your STAR plan ready in advance.
If a job description was made available to
you, see if you can develop STAR answers
for each bullet point.
Vary your examples. Take them from all
aspects of your life. Generally, the most
recent examples are the strongest.
Are they looking for a well-organized,
creative, problem-solving, customer-ori-
ented, self-starter who communicates well?
(Who isn't?) Take the time to find the STAR
responses that bring to light your organiza-
tional skills, creativity, problem-solving abil-
ity, focus on the customer, self-motivation
and communication skills.
If the job description is brief or vague, ask
interviewers to describe in more detail the
1) S2hilatiob-1 Provide the context, the chal-
After a while, you'll find that using the
STAR approach puts you at ease during an
interview. You'll view your STAR stories as
the well-practiced tools you need to shine.
The stories provide a beginning and an
end to your answers, which enable you to
communicate more confidently. One more
thing: Stay factual. Be honest. Don't embel-
lish. And when discussing the result, it's all
right to share the success with "the team";
however, be sure to specify precisely what
your contributions were.
That's it. It takes a little time and prepara-
tion, but the payoff may be your next good
lenge you were faced with.
2) Talsk. What was your goal? What were
you trying to achieve?
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AcAlon: What did you do? What spe-
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cific steps did you take? What were your
alternatives, and why did you choose this
course of action?
4) Result: What was the outcome of your
actions? Did you meet your objectives?
What did you learn from this experience?
How have you applied this learning?
Below is a sample of some of our clients:
Wall and Window Graphics
Be specific. Don't ramble. Just follow the
skills and type of person they're seeking.
Then select the STAR points to match the
I Want Candy
Madelaine Chocolate Co. offers treats for Valentine's Day
and every other day on the chocoholics' calendar.
Mail and postage
Employ- I - Dent
Branding and Corporate
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how can we help you
Contact Kevin Browett or Debbie Schultz
29200 Northwestern Hwy. • Suite 110 • Southfield, MI 48034
14 February 2012 I
By Suzanne Chessler
ayla Jacobson Kaye knows exactly the kind of rose she prefers for
special occasions like Valentine's Day — pure chocolate.
It's an easy gift for her husband, Jeremy, to bring home.
The preferred roses, available at Walmart, are made at the family-
run factory of the Madelaine Chocolate Company in Far Rockaway,
Queens, N.Y., where she works as a sales manager and he is assistant
plant manager, each on a different schedule.
"The long stems of the candy roses are made of green plastic with
soft, fabric leaves, a lot easier to hold than an actual rose stem cov-
ered with thorns;' says Kayla Kaye, who grew up in Southfield."The
full chocolate blossom, wrapped in red foil, is molded to suggest
Kaye, 29, the daughter of Hedy and Bruce Jacobson of Southfield,
graduated from Akiva Hebrew Day School and was a member of
Congregation Shomrey Emunah in Southfield.
After spending a year studying in Israel, she moved on to Stern Col-
lege for Women in New York City, graduating as a marketing major.
Soon a party planner, she designed all aspects of events and often
attended to oversee details.
Kaye began working for Madelaine when party planning, with
weekend responsibilities, became too demanding for a mom, now
looking after Noa, 2, and Henry, 3 months.
"I love the snap of biting into the candy and then tasting the sweet,
creamy flavor as the milk chocolate slowly melts in my mouth;' she
said. "The aroma of the chocolate is as wonderful, in its special way, as
the aroma of a fresh, fragrant plant."
While the roses are among her favorite Madelaine products, partly
because Jeremy brought them while they were dating, she also is a
special fan of a peanut butter and milk chocolate combination, ha-