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How to Answer Tricky Interview Questions

The 1 Word You Need to Remember During a Job Interview

There's one type of interview question that can trip up even the most polished of candidates. It's called a behavioral based question, and it starts with the phrase, "Tell me about a time when . . ."

Some examples of behavioral based questions include:

Tell me about a time when . . .
. . . you went above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done.
. . . you had to work on a project under a tight deadline.
. . . you had to act with very little planning.
. . . you tried to accomplish something but failed.
. . . you delegated a project effectively.

Suddenly your mind is blank, your palms are sweaty, and you might even experience a fight-or-flight response as you nervously assess your exit options. In this situation, take a deep breath and recall one word: STAR. At an event hosted by New York Women in Communications, panelist Laura Burkart, formerly of Superfly, advised attendees to review behavioral based questions before an interview and prepare some answers using this acronym:

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S = Situation

Describe the relevant circumstances of the situation.

T = Task

Define the challenge that was presented to you.

A = Action

Give specific examples of your role in the situation and what actions you took.

R = Result

Explain the outcome of the situation (if possible, use quantities) and specify what you learned or achieved.

This is a great opportunity to make your past work for you. If you have some well-worded (and well-practiced) stories ready to go, you'll rock the interview and turn into their star candidate.

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