STARR Method explained: the theory, example questions and the format
STARR Method: This article explains the STARR Method in a practical way. Next to what it is, highlights this article also the importance, the five components of the STARR Method and example interview questions, tips to conduct this method and a worksheet / template as a format to start with the STARR Method with (self) reflection. Enjoy reading!
What is STARR Method?
The STARR Method, StARR Technique or STARR Intererview Technique is often used by students when reflecting on their own actions, for example in a reflection report for an internship.
The method is also used by professionals in coaching, research and job interviews. STARR helps to answer questions about competencies accurately and completely and ensures that you become successful in, for example, conducting a job interview.
STARR is an acronym for:
- S: what was the Situation?
- T: what was the Task?
- A: what Actions have you taken?
- R: what was the Result?
- R: what have you learned through Reflection?
Many questions in a job interview, or any other type of interview, start with: Describe a situation where…, or: Share an example of a project where you… . Many people experience these kinds of questions as difficult. The STARR Method helps to formulate a complete answer.
Why a STARR Method is important
Employers do this because they are looking for proof of certain skills. Examples of skills and competencies favored by employers are: analytical skills, creativity, problem-solving skills, communication skills or teamwork.
The following questions may sound familiar when it comes to job interviews:
- Tell me about a situation where you had to complete a task with a tight deadline and how you handled it.
- Do you go beyond what is minimally expected of you? Can you cite an example of this?
- How do you position yourself in conflicts? Describe a conflict situation you have experienced?
The five components of the STARR Method and interview questions
Below you will find several sample interview questions that are related to the different parts of the STARR method.
Don’t use the answers to all questions in the interview, because then the answer will be way too long. Instead, select only the most relevant interview questions and answers and incorporate them into the answer.
S – Situation
- When did the situation take place?
- Who were involved in the situation?
- What exactly was going on?
- Where did the situation take place?
- What was the environment like?
- Where were you during the situation?
- How many people were present?
- What was the reason for the situation?
T – Task
- What was your role in the situation?
- What exactly did you want to achieve?
- What was expected of you? And what was expected of the others?
- What did you expect from yourself in that situation?
- Did you have specific tasks?
- What was the further division of roles?
- How did you feel about that division of roles?
- Who did you work with directly? With whom indirectly?
- How did you perform the tasks?
- What did you think of your range of duties?
- Who was ultimately responsible?
A – Action
- How did you approach it and why?
- What actions and steps did you take and why?
- What did you say and how did it relate to what you did?
- Have you carried out your actual approach?
- Was there disappointment in your performance?
- How did you deal with that?
- Have you tried to improve the situation?
- How did you improve the situation?
R – Result
- Has your approach worked? And why or why not?
- How did the situation turn out in the end?
- What was your part in the end result?
- Was your task completed successfully?
- What part did you have in the success or failure of the task?
R – Reflection
- What have you learned from it?
- How do you think you did in this situation?
- Are you satisfied with the result?
- What is the core of what you have learned?
- What would you do differently next time?
- Can you also apply what you have learned in other situations?
- How did others react to your actions?
- Do you think you did the right thing?
- How did you feel about the end result? Are you proud of it?
- What else can you add when it comes to your own actions?
Tips for performing a STARR Method technique
- Do not spend too much time describing the situation and the problem, but keep it short and concise. In many cases, employers are more curious about what you have done in that situation and what you have learned from it.
- Practice answering job-specific questions with the STARR reflection based on the job description.
- If you are a student: make sure you don’t just share examples about situations at university or school. Almost all students do this. Employers also like to hear what you do and learn in other aspects of your life.
- Always describe the situation in the first person. With this you focus on your own role in the situation.
- Ask yourself open questions in addition to the sample questions provided. With this you gain deeper insights that are important for writing an extensive reflection report.
- Describe the situation objectively beforehand, so without a value judgement.
- Don’t just look at problems and things that went wrong. You can certainly mention successes.
- Ask other people to join the reflection. This ensures that you look at the situation from as many angles as possible.
- Make regular use of the STARR reflection, so that you become proficient in it. It is a very effective way to regularly analyze your own development.
STARR reflection template / format
To write your STARR reflections in a format, you can use this ready-to-use template / worksheet.
Download the STARR reflection format templateThis template is exclusively for our paying Toolshero members. Click here to see if a membership is something for you!
It’s Your Turn
What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about the STARR model for reflection? Have you ever used this reflection method before? Do you find it a useful and complete model for reflection and answering interview questions? What tips or comments would you like to add? Do you have questions or other comments?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
- Haacke, D. R., & van der Ploeg, Y. Reflectie en portfolio en reflectie, wat te beoordelen?.
- Branch Jr, W. T., & Paranjape, A. (2002). Feedback and reflection: teaching methods for clinical settings. Academic Medicine, 77(12 Part 1), 1185-1188.
- Strange, J. M., & Mumford, M. D. (2005). The origins of vision: Effects of reflection, models, and analysis. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(1), 121-148.
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Janse, B. (2022). STARR Method explained: the theory, example questions and the format. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/personal-development/starr-method/
Published on: 05/08/2022 | Last update: 03/02/2023
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