The quote’s origin comes from a long line of psychology texts and behavioural scientists. After many years it has been kicked around and debunked a few times. Where it currently stands in the psychology world is debatable and honestly, not relevant in the HR world.
In HR we interview and assess for corporate compatibility-do their skills, education, and experience, line up with the corporate position and values? But how do you ensure that the individual is who they represent themselves to be? We ask them about situations or experiences they have previously been in, to extract and compare their responses and perceptions, to what we are looking for. This is how we entertain the idea of “predicting” future behaviour. A strong candidate will answer questions using the STAR formula.
Set up the Specific situation
Tell me the Task that you did or needed doing
What Action happened
What was the Result of the situation
As an interviewer, your question might look something like this; “Tell me about a time where you experienced conflict between you and your supervisor.” The question it self sets them up to respond using STAR. You don’t want, “Well in that situation I would do this…” Politely correct them and ask them to tell you about a specific time that actually happened.
Once they recite the specific situation, they should have highlighted the task or skill set used, and then they tell you how it all resulted and played out. A STAR answer allows you to compare their answer against the answer you are looking for and ultimately gauge if they have the behaviors and perspective on the situation that the position requires. If the candidate doesn’t give you a STAR answer, there are ways to pull it out of them, but more often than not, it is a reflection of their inability to see cause and effect, or to self assess well. We can discuss this scenario more in detail in a one on one conversation.
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