5 new tips for the STAR technique


I’m most known for helping my clients use the STAR technique. Why do you need it? Teachers need to harness the powers of the STAR technique because it is the universally known technique for competency-based interviews (the types of interviews that are used in education). The STAR framework is the best one to help interviewees tell stories about their actually experience and not tell stories about ‘best practice’ or what they think ‘should’ happen - and give evidence that you have experience and competence in that area.

  1. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result.

Situation: The situation is where you set the scene for the interview answer. It may mean that you are agreeing with them - then you will give them an example of a time that you showed that skill or displayed competency.

Task and Action: The task and action parts include your power verbs (I communicated... I researched…) Focus on the tasks you actually did - not what you know or believe.

Result: The result is one sentence - after that zip it up! Why? Because wrapping up your interview answer succinctly shows confidence, self-awareness and is a signal to the panel that you are finishing in a strong way. Read this blog post to learn more about the types of results that you can mention.

2. The situation and the result mirror each other

We all love a story that has a happy ending. Ensure that your result refers to what you spoke about in the situation e.g. as a result of planning that great lesson, I observed that pupils really enjoyed it and the majority of pupils. That will show the panel that you have thought about the impact that your actions had and that you were effective in your role.

3. Don't ‘learn off’ interview answers

Yes, I know that it helps you prepare. Yes, I know that you feel more confident when you have your words learned off by heart. However, if you simply repeat words verbatim - you lose the ability to show them your personality. Instead, think of what keywords they are probably looking for. For example, if they are looking for your ability to manage your time effectively you might use words like - long and short-term planning, delegate, setting timers, to-do lists, completing the most important tasks first.

4. Sample layout for the STAR technique

When asked a competency-based question (templates, have you experienced conflict, best lesson that you taught etc) the STAR technique is your mental checklist to run through.

YES, I am a team player - for example...
↪ When I....
✔ I...
✔ I...
✔ I... and
✔ I....
↪ The result was that the project ran efficiently and was a very enjoyable experience for the children because we all worked so well as a team.

5. Storytelling

People love stories. We love to know if the villain got his ‘comeuppance’ in the end! In interviews, interviewers will want to know what benefit it was to the class that you’re a team player or how you resolved conflict with the parent or what you observed after teaching that fantastic lesson. This is rooted in human behaviour. Focus on channelling your most interesting self to tell the story and they will be hooked!


💥 Bonus Tip

If you want to practice STAR you need to speak your answers out loud...
So what can you do?
➡️ Practice it with family and friends, (cringy to practice out loud but very necessary!)
➡️ Watch YouTube videos about it.
➡️ Read my interview-focused highlights on Instagram @orla.dempseycoaching
➡️ Check out my interview blogs on my website
➡️ Do mock interviews with me.
➡️ Focus on giving evidence. Step off your soap box telling me what best practice is and actually tell me what you've DONE.

PS: My online course ‘Knock Their Socks Off’ - Interview Confidence Skills for Teachers is a brilliant asset to teachers who are preparing for interviews right now. For many teachers, it has proven to be even more useful than a 1-1 session. Learn more about it here.



There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!