You have secured a blockchain job interview for your dream job. It’s a competency-based interview, but what happens next? I always recommend that candidates use a very simple technique to sail through the interview called ‘STAR’. Take it from me, as an expert in interviewing, the key to getting through the process is all about being prepared.
What is STAR?
The STAR structure is a tool used mainly for answering competency-based interview questions.
Situation – Set the scene.
Task – Outline what was required.
Action – Explain what you did.
Result – What was the outcome.
You can use this tool in two broad ways: For a competency-based interview, or to help you frame your responses in a standard or non-structured interview.
What is a competency-based blockchain job interview?
A competency-based interview deals with asking all candidates the same questions and asking them to highlight a relevant situation or achievement that has demonstrated a competency they are looking for in a candidate. The interviewer(s) write down the responses before scoring the candidates’ answers to see how they match their requirements.
Don’t worry – you will always be told prior to the interview if it is to be competency based and you can prepare accordingly. The key to these is to get all your major points across succinctly. You will be imparting a lot of information that will be written down often by more than one person, so you want to make sure you get to the point quickly. You will often be asked several questions, so you will need to prepare plenty of examples before the interview, and think about how they can apply to the different competencies required for the role.
STAR in detail
Competency questions typically start along the lines of:
“Tell me about a time when you…”
“Think of an example that…”
This will then be followed with one of the competencies listed on the job description. Because the questions are always focused around a key competency the employer is looking for, you should be able to prepare in advance.
If you are applying for an internship, graduate job or a junior role where candidates won’t be expected to have much in the way of actual work experience then they will be about some of the ‘softer’ skills. Soft skills are non-technical and non-specialised and not aligned to a specific vocation or discipline but rather a candidate’s personality. Examples of soft skills are teamwork, problem solving, negotiation skills and communication. These can be illustrated with school, university and club/hobby experience if it’s your first job.
For more senior roles and those requiring lots of experience, the questions will be more technically and experienced focussed.
The length of your answer can depend on the question asked, but typically we would expect a response to be around a minute-and-a-half to three minutes. Remember the interviewers are looking for how you meet a key competency and they will likely have several questions, so keep your answer succinct and to the point.
Taking each of the STAR terms in order:
Situation or task:
This is about setting the scene, giving a context and background, and describing the situation that you were confronted with, or the task that needed to be accomplished. For example, a question about time management would need an answer detailing the project you were working on, who you were working with, when it happened and where you were. If the question is asking you to describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult person, explain how you came to meet that person and why they were being difficult.
This is more specific to your exact role in the situation. You need to make sure that the interviewer knows what you were tasked with, rather than the rest of the team. So, for example: “I had to deal with a difficult stakeholder. As the Project Manager, it was my responsibility to resolve this situation to allow the work of the team to progress.”
This is the most important part of the STAR technique. This is the bit where you demonstrate that you meet the competency. It’s important to talk about what you specifically did rather than the team… I did. I had to. My response was. Make sure you are using “I” – it is your skills the employer is looking for. Include enough details (the interviewer won’t be able to guess what you mean or be familiar with your history). Avoid acronyms and institutional/sector language as they may not be familiar with it.
The key thing you’re trying to get across here is what, how and why. So, what did you do? How did you do it? And why did you do it?
Ideally, this should be a positive quantifiable result. Therefore, it’s important to think about these before the interview so you can ensure you have some stats that you can use. For example: increased sales by 15%, increased web traffic by 10%, saved the team 10 hours a month etc.
Also, include details about what you learnt from the situation and if this led to how you would approach the situation in the future. I hope this has assisted you in coming up with a strategy for your up and coming interview. Best of luck!