Using the STAR technique

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Completing your silver award is somewhat harder than completing your bronze as the intensity of the tasks slightly increase from simple activities such as attending welcome week to activities such as fundraising, part time job or volunteering for 50 hours

Completing the silver award

Once you are on the awards page on the graduate+ website you will need to select one of four attributes and aim to link an activity, majority of the activities require you to complete at least 50 hours before applying for the award- (Fundraising, volunteering, part time work or even having an online presence via blogging/vlogging). You must do this using the star technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) in plenty of detail. Once approved you are able to progress onto the Gold award.

The STAR technique:

The graduate+ silver and gold award use the STAR technique, this is beneficial to you as an individual as you can practice this technique in order to implement it in the real world. 

For example with job interviews:

There are many types of interviews, from the free flowing to the formal, but one that you are likely to come up against at some point is the competency-based interview.

They’re designed to make the job application process as objective as possible, removing any conscious or subconscious bias the interviewer may have by asking each candidate the same questions. Some people feel this type of interview is more stilted – there can be less opportunity to build rapport. However, they are very common, especially in large organisations and the public sector, so it’s worth refining your technique.

The questions will be driven by a competency framework that’s required for the job. For example, a marketing executive may require problem-solving skills, or a job in customer services may require conflict management skills.

The interview questions tend to start with a variation of, “Tell me about a time when…” This may sound simple but, in the heat of the interview, it’s easy to give an unstructured answer, miss out key details, or let the story come to a halt.

One way of avoiding this is by using the STAR acronym to structure your response. Here are two examples of how to implement the technique:

Situation – set the context for your story. For example, “We were due to be delivering a presentation to a group of 30 interested industry players on our new product and Stuart, the guy due to deliver it, got stuck on a train from Birmingham.”

Task â€“ what was required of you. Such as, “It was my responsibility to find an alternative so it didn’t reflect badly on the company and we didn’t waste the opportunity.”

Activity â€“ what you actually did. For example, “I spoke to the event organisers to find out if they could change the running order. They agreed so we bought ourselves some time. I contacted Susan, another member of the team, who at a push could step in. She agreed to drop what she was doing and head to the event.”

Result – how well the situation played out. For example, “Stuart didn’t make the meeting on time but we explained the problem to the delegates and Susan’s presentation went well – a bit rough around the edges but it was warmly received. Stuart managed to get there for the last 15 minutes to answer questions. As a result we gained some good contacts, at least two of which we converted into paying clients.”

By simply using the start technique you will be able to provide well-structured answers during interviews without missing out major or minor details and you could avoid unnecessary embarrassment. In a way, completing your graduate+ award will help train you in acing everything from job applications to interviews.

Quote of the week: "Organisation is the foundation to getting the rest of my life in gear." ~ Katy Lipp