Answer every interview question using STAR/R?

FIT
New answer on Apr 20, 2022
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 18, 2022

Hi, I came across interview questions such as:

- What would you do if a colleague told you they’re stressed.

- what would you do if a client looked anxious.


Am I supposed to answer those questions in a STAR/R format if I'm asked so at an interview?

Thanks

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 18, 2022
Highest recommendation rate / Top McKinsey coach / 100% success rate at >4 sessions / Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there!

Good question!

Not necessarily. What I'd do is answer the question directly, then try to recall an example (e.g., of a client looking anxious) and then apply the STAR framework on that example to explain what you did. 

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Kurt
Expert
replied on Apr 20, 2022
Conducted over 100 interviews for grads, interns & experienced hires

Hi - great question!

The biggest trap I see candidates fall into is being too scripted in their answers. The STAR format is a good simple reminder to cover all key aspects of a story in a logical sequence, but you should focus overall on ensuring you give a genuine, authentic, well thought out answer to the question.

For the specific examples you gave, you may want to start with identifying some guiding principles that would guide your behavior rather than telling a story in STAR format. That may be something like “its important to see the client not only from a work point of view, but also as a human being with their own goals, aspirations, worries and concerns”. Then you could either
a) Give an example where you applied this using the STAR format
b) Tell more concretely (focused primarily on the A because your interviewer has already given you the S and the T) what you would do in that situation applying these guiding principles

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Anonymous B replied on Apr 19, 2022

As its a hypothetical scenario, I think I'd answer this one using a step-by-step method, as others have suggested (e.g. listen → digest → etc).

However, for PEI questions in which a framework might help, I prefer to use PARADE: https://www.caseinterview.com/parade-method

Hope this helps

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Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 19, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

You can use the STAR method loosely in such cases. Your answer needs to be structured and engaging still.

  • What was the challenge/problem
  • Why did it happen
  • How did you fix it
  • What was the outcome and what did you learn/how are you applying the learning

You can use some light hearted opening lines such as:

  • ah great question! I few examples come to mind but there is one in particular I would like to share….
  • I am sure a number of us have been in such tricky situations before. One particular event played a key role in shaping me as an individual. Allow me to explain…
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Paul
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Apr 18, 2022
Project Leader @ BCG - 6 years consulting experience|Coached 300+ candidates |Interviewer at BCG | 2nd Session free

Hi,

the STAR/R or other variations of Fit frameworks are just conceptual tools to make sure you deliver an answer which is

- Concise

- Structured

- With a relevant real-life example that should be credible or even better TRUE including IMPACT

Answer as per above show you have some of the key characteristics vs. the consulting job and can more easily be benchmarked vs. the key scoring dimension in interview (e.g. structured communication, …)

As such, you can answer using different framework in FIT, provided you maximize/keep under control the dimensions above.

Hope this helps.

 

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Lucie
Expert
replied on Apr 19, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

your answer must be structured, it has a context and some conclusions, but I wouldn't overthink it. 


I would recommend to
1. test with someone from a completely different background to respond few of these questions and test if the person understands you (the best is to let them reply with what they understood).
2. alternatively get a coach and mock for the personal interview, I usually see a bit of Wow effect on coachees from those sessions. 

Good luck, 

Lucie

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 19, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

For hypothetical questions, I'd just answer them in a straightforward manner.

STAR and other frameworks I would only use to discuss stories of the past. 

For an effective story framework, check out the SCORE framework that I created for the McKinsey PEI, which also works for every other story question: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-pei

Cheers,

Florian

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Ken
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 18, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

STAR works more for experience based interviews than hypothetical situations.  For these questions, I personally would keep it simple and talk through various considerations  (E.g., listen to your colleague, take them away from the stressful situation, offer to help the colleague, etc.) and then share what you would do and why. 

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 19, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Be careful using generic, overly rehearsed/canned structures for your behavioral answers!

Ultimately, yes you want to setup the context/scene, briefly explain the problem/consequence, talk through the main actions you took (and why), and have a resolution. However, make sure if sounds natural and not overly robotic/rigid/rehearsed!

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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