Rocking the Behavioral Questions Using the S.T.A.R. Method

The S.T.A.R. Method is a framework used to answer behavioral interview questions, and you will need to have this method down for your pharmaceutical interviews.  The method provides a great template for answering these questions.

S.T.A.R. stands for:

  • Situation:  Give an example of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome.
  • Task:  Describe the tasks involved in the situation.
  • Action:  Talk about the various actions you took for these tasks.
  • Results:  Describe the results that followed directly because of your actions.

The hiring manager has already determined the skillsets and personality traits necessary for future success, and he or she will ask questions in an attempt to determine if you have these desired traits.  Use the S.T.A.R Method to organize your responses to these behavioral questions because the S.T.A.R. Method provides a concise, logical template to describe your past successes.

Future success is best predicted by past performance, and behind past performance are traits that drive that performance.  The S.T.A.R. Method is how you prove to the hiring manager that you have the traits he or she is seeking.  While answering these behavioral questions, you will continue to use the key words that you have been using throughout your interview over and over again.

When you understand what hiring managers are looking for, you will know what to say before the questions are even asked.  So, as a reminder, the desired traits are:  drive, persistence, persuasiveness, impactfulness, coachability, likeability, analytical ability and logic, organization, and integrity.

Before the interview, you will identify your top selling points and determine how you can convey these points using two or three S.T.A.R. examples.

Examples of behavioral questions you might receive are:

  • Drive & Impact:  Give me an example of a time when you had set a goal, and tell me your thought process towards reaching that goal.  Also, tell me the outcome.
  • Persuasiveness & Impact:  Tell me about a time when you used persuasion to achieve a desired outcome.
  • Persistence & Drive:  Tell me about a time when you were having little success in reaching your goals at work.  Were you able to turn it around?

You get the idea.  Go through all the desired traits and come up with good answers for each.  Be specific.  For instance, if you are asked about a goal that you set and how you went about achieving it, have a specific, measurable goal such as being the top rep.  To be the top rep, maybe you knew that you needed to be at least 140% of quota to beat out last quarter’s top sales rep.  Be specific with your math and tell the exact numbers of where you were and where you needed to be.  For example, in reaching this goal you had to develop a strategy and focus on a certain group of sales targets.  Describe them and tell why this worked for you.  Did you reach your goal?  Of course, you did.  Not only did you reach your goal, but you carried that success forward and were the top rep two quarters in a row, and you still are.  These are the type of specifics the hiring managers are looking for, and the answers you give should be backed up by information in your brag book.  Practice your examples, so they flow smoothly and concisely.

If you understand that the big picture is not that you had these results, but that you can deliver the selling message to the manager that you are the best candidate for the job.  You show him evidence and describe the situation using the S.T.A.R. Method including how it was that you came to final outcome.  This approach will make you the stand-out candidate.

Posted in Interview Tips