Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Those Interview Questions You Hate

I met with a former boss of mine today. He managed to get out of an industry where it is believed once you get in it, you can't get out. He works for a major worldwide brand. In fact, if you didn't drink one of their products today, I bet you saw one.

He mentioned it was hard to get into the company. When he finally had the chance to interview, they used the "STAR" method. I had NO IDEA what he was talking about and it was evident. So, he explained it to me.

Aha. I've heard this before and I absolutely hate it. In fact, I'm ill-prepared when it comes to responding to the "STAR" method. After looking into the "STAR" method a bit more, I get it.

Both STAR and SOARA are behavioral interview methods that encourage a start-to-finish approach of a recent or notable challenge in the workplace, the goal, how you handled it, the results and the aftermath.

STAR = Situation, Task, Action, Result

SOARA = Situation, Objective, Action, Results, Aftermath

Looking back, my answers to these behavioral interview questions probably threw the interviewer(s) off. While I do learn from situations, I don't dwell on them. I don't think of them as situations. I think of them as a normal part of business, deal with them, ensuring I achieve the desired results without disrupting things and move on.

While I may learn things, I don't store "situations" in my memory bank, nor do I think of them as situations. The fact of the matter is that many companies expect for you to be able to replay at least SOMETHING.

So, where I thought the STAR and SOARA methods of behavioral interview questions were ridiculous, I guess they have some merit after all.

In fact, now that I think about it, one of the blogging agencies I'm a member of (that connects bloggers with brands) uses semi-similar techniques. I have to apply for the job, make a presentation for the job (resume/interview), present past experience (posts) and how it relates to the current post, which is like the STAR/SOARA methods.

In fact, you likely use the STAR/SOARA methods in everyday life - outside of work.

For example...

Situation - We can't seem to serve dinner early enough. The folks who get home earliest need constant reminders.

Task - Serve dinner earlier by finding a way to gently push everyone to contribute.

Action - Make a meal plan, shop for it, print it, schedule duties, have a family discussion

Result - Dinner can me made earlier if everyone does what they're supposed to. There may be some opposition, but with gentle reminders and encouragement over a period of several weeks everyone gets used to their role.

I'm literally just learning this as I type. Let's see what I can learn from it at work tomorrow and over the coming days.

What are your thoughts on STAR/SOARA interview questions? I'd love to hear your experiences.

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