What is the Strategy for Answering Interview Questions?

Interview session between a man and a woman

Most job interviewers ask strategic questions to assess and evaluate the applicant’s competence. These types of questions do not require a yes or a no answer. Rather, they require the candidate to give a story-like response. The best strategy to address questions of this kind is with the STAR Technique. Hence, this is the best way to answer both tricky and tough interview questions.

In this article, we will explore the steps you can use to implement this simple strategy of answering interview questions. 

What is the START Method of Answering Interview Questions

Let’s start from the top. The word START is an acronym that reads:

S – Situation

T – Task 

A – Action 

R – Results 

This acronym describes the holistic approach of giving qualitative responses to satisfy specific interview questions. 

According to Indeed.UK, the START technique depicts the following 

  • Situation: Describe the situation and the time it took place 
  • Task: Explain the task accomplished and the goal attached 
  • Action: Talk about the actions you took to arrive at your result 
  • Result: Conclude with the results of your actions 

Which interview Questions Require the START Technique?

Employees ask behavioral-based questions that assess candidate’s responses to certain challenges or tasks that may come up in the workplace. Such interview questions that require candidates to talk about an experience that tested their emotional and mental abilities require the START technique to give quantifiable answers.

Consequently, employers tend to ask strategic interview questions to know whether you can handle the task required by your role. Therefore, the questions asked in this category usually refer to the tasks or roles outlined in the job description. 

Hence, to be on the safe side, before your interview, ensure you are familiar with the descriptions of your role. The answers to these questions are easy if you follow the steps outlined in the START technique. 

How to Apply the START Technique for a Strategic Behaviour Interview 

You don’t have to beat yourself for a make-believe storyline. Instead, follow these steps to provide the best connecting answer.

  1. Think back to the situation you’ve experienced that brought out the best positive behavior or actions in you. It could be as little as communicating calmly or strategically. Leading a team to success. Drafting an email that closed a big deal. Or an event that spotlighted your leadership skills. 
  2. Now create a short description of these amazing moments. 
  3. Create a storyline line for each and ensure the story contains the actions and results achieved at the end of each situation. Also, ensure your story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  4. Be Honest. Some employers can smell a lie from miles away, so avoid going off board. 
  5. As much as possible, back every claim with an example aligned to the job you are interviewing for. 

Examples of Strategic STAR Technique Questions 

Here are the top 15 strategic questions using the STAR technique mostly asked by hiring managers.

1. Problem-Solving

  • Situation: Describe a time when you faced a significant challenge at work.
  • Task: What was your role and goal in addressing this challenge?
  • Action: Detail the steps you took to overcome the challenge.
  • Result: What was the outcome, and how did it impact the overall situation?

2. Leadership:

  • Situation: Provide an example of a project where you had to lead a diverse team.
  • Task: What were the objectives, and what role did you play as a leader?
  • Action: Explain the actions you took to guide and motivate your team.
  • Result: What was the project’s success, and how did your leadership contribute?

3. Adaptability:

  • Situation: Share a situation where you had to adapt to a significant change.
  • Task: What adjustments were required, and what was your role in this transition?
  • Action: Describe the specific steps you took to adapt.
  • Result: What positive outcomes resulted from your adaptability?

4. Conflict Resolution:

  • Situation: Describe a conflict you encountered within your team.
  • Task: What were the issues at hand, and what was your role in resolving the conflict?
  • Action: Explain the steps you took to address and resolve the conflict.
  • Result: How did the resolution positively impact team dynamics?

5. Initiative:

  • Situation: Provide an example of a situation where you took the initiative.
  • Task: What needed to be done, and why did you take the initiative?
  • Action: Detail the specific actions you took.
  • Result: What positive outcomes resulted from your initiative?

6. Customer Focus:

  • Situation: Share an experience where you had to deal with a challenging customer.
  • Task: What was your objective in handling this situation?
  • Action: Explain the steps you took to address the customer’s concerns.
  • Result: How did your actions impact the customer and the overall relationship?

7. Time Management:

  • Situation: Describe a time when you had to manage multiple tasks with tight deadlines.
  • Task: What were the tasks, and what was your approach to managing your time?
  • Action: Detail the specific time management strategies you employed.
  • Result: How did you successfully meet the deadlines?
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8. Innovation:

  • Situation: Provide an example of a situation where you introduced a new idea or process.
  • Task: What was your goal in implementing this innovation?
  • Action: Explain the steps you took to introduce and implement the new idea.
  • Result: What positive changes resulted from your innovation?

9. Teamwork:

  • Situation: Describe a project where you had to collaborate with individuals from different departments.
  • Task: What was your role, and what were the team’s objectives?
  • Action: Detail your contributions to effective teamwork.
  • Result: How did the collaboration contribute to the project’s success?

What is the Best Strategy for answering interview questions using the STAR Technique?

Although situations vary for different individuals and personal experiences too, the following sample answers would help you structure the best answer for your next interview. 

Sample Question 1

Describe a project where you had to collaborate with individuals from different departments. What role did you play? 


Situation: In my previous role, we undertook a company-wide initiative to implement a new customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Task: As a project manager, my role was to oversee the integration of the CRM system across multiple departments. The team’s primary objective was to enhance customer interactions, streamline communication, and improve overall efficiency.

Action: I was responsible for coordinating regular cross-departmental meetings to ensure open communication with team members in alignment with our core goals. Also, I created and managed a collaborative online platform where team members could share updates, challenges, and solutions in real time. 

Recognizing the diverse expertise within each department, I encouraged team members to use their skills to address specific aspects of the implementation. My focus was on fostering a culture of mutual respect and understanding.

Result: This collaboration contributed to the project’s success. With improved communication and shared resources, we successfully implemented the CRM system ahead of schedule. The streamlined processes resulted in a 20% increase in overall efficiency, and customer satisfaction scores rose by 15%. 

Sample Question 2

Describe a conflict you encountered within your team. What were the issues at hand, and what was your role in resolving the conflict?


Situation: Once, our team faced a bit of a hiccup during a crucial project. There was a clash of opinions about the project’s direction, and tensions were running high.

Task: The main issue revolved around differing perspectives on project priorities. My role, being the team lead, was to mediate and find a resolution that would keep us on track and maintain a positive team spirit.

Action: To address the conflict, I initiated a team meeting where everyone had a chance to express their concerns openly. I played the role of a mediator, ensuring that each team member felt heard and understood. We identified the common ground and outlined a compromise that Incorporated the best elements from each perspective. Additionally, I encouraged more transparent communication within the team.

Result: The resolution had a ‌positive impact on team dynamics. Team members appreciated the open dialogue and the shared compromise led to a stronger sense of collaboration. People started bringing up ideas more freely, and it fostered an environment where everyone felt valued. 

In the end, the project not only got back on track but, also benefited from the diverse input, resulting in a more successful outcome than initially anticipated. The experience taught us the value of addressing conflicts head-on and turning them into opportunities for growth.

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The best strategy for answering interview questions directed at assessing a candidate’s competence and behavior is the STAR Technique. The start technique is a special approach that describes the situation of an incident, specifies the major task to be done, and outlines the specific actions taken to arrive at a reasonable result. 

This is the best method used by applicants to answer strategic interview questions because it provides a route to incorporate storytelling while giving a striking narrative.

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