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How To Prepare For Competency-Based Interviews (STAR Technique)

6th June 2023

Advance TRS provides the most up-to-date interview tips so that you know how to answer interview questions effectively. If you particularly struggle with structure or how to respond to competency-based questions, then this article is for you! Let’s dive into the STAR approach and how it is used to get the upper edge over your competition.

Competency questions are used by interviewers to determine how candidates would react to certain situations, by asking for real-world examples to support their claims. Therefore, by mastering the STAR technique, you show confidence in your answer by staying calm and giving a clear and logical response.


The STAR technique involves 4 main areas to cover – Situation, Task, Approach, and Results. Using these steps together can help you create the perfect response for any competency-based question given.

Here is a detailed step-by-step process on how to use the STAR technique to answer competency-based interview questions:

S – Situation

Set the scene for your interviewer so that they understand the general context which leads to your thought process and solution.

To do this well, simply provide some background of the status of your company at the time, and what is expected in your role. Reference any names and dates where appropriate to help add credibility.


At Company Name Ltd, I was responsible for representing the firm at tradeshows. In my second year there, three regularly attended events were scheduled within a month of each other – generally they were spread out over a much longer period.

T – Task

State the task at hand and outline the logical solutions to overcome any occurring problems throughout.

To take your STAR approach to the next level, mention possible difficulties and variables that could affect the operation to demonstrate your situational awareness.


It meant a tremendous amount of work was compressed into a tight timeframe. These shows were a huge source of lead generation for the company, so it was essential we attended and presented our products in the best light.

A – Approach

What actions did you take to resolve the situation?

Outline the steps you took to ensure a successful outcome, without being tempted to take all the credit. Always keep in mind what specific skills the interviewer really wants to see and reinforce them throughout. Be sure to mention any teamwork, collaboration, or effective management that helped accomplish the task.


To effectively manage the assignment, I first analysed the events and broke down what would be needed for each. From here I could establish the workload and prioritised it, accordingly, bringing my team in to support where appropriate. I then worked up a detailed project plan with interim deadlines for each item so that I’d have all the materials I needed ahead of the event and could fully brief and prepare all other participating staff.

R – Result

Summarise the key outcomes in relation to your task, where possible use clear KPIs or measures of success.

How did the scenario play out? Explain the impact your actions had on achieving the desired result, this could include, testimonials, statistics, financial results etc. Make your happy ending quantifiable, and you’ll really have nailed your answer!


The events went off without a hitch and I was able to exceed our lead generation targets. One quickly resulted in a contract award, and the sales team were really pleased with the overall event. I was even awarded Employee of the Month in recognition of the event’s success.


Finally, impressing at a competency-based interview is all about the way you tell your story. Therefore, prepare by writing down any memorable experience which highlights your skills, execution, and character well. Just remember that this is only a structure, so express your answer in any way you like! Make it your own so it flows naturally as a response, and don’t be afraid to differentiate and mention what went wrong or what could be improved. Being realistic by showing we are all human and clarifying that mistakes happen to improve future situations is an honest yet relatable approach!


If you seek more guidance with interview preparation or finding your perfect role, be sure to contact us today at 01483 361 061 or head to our contact us page to talk to one of our specialist recruiters, who offers a free confidential conversation about your place in the recruitment market.

We have other articles which can help support you in finding your next role! Depending on your recruitment stage, be sure to check out the best job searching tips in summer and how to optimise your LinkedIn page to maximise your chance of employment.