The STAR method: What is it?


Planned Resources recruit across the niche markets of planning, engineering, architecture and design, property, and government support. We operate​ across private and public sectors in Melbourne, Victoria, and Australia. Here, Leo Liemesak,  gives his tips on how to answer interview questions via the “STAR” method.


You’ve applied for a great job – and you receive that phone call from the company to organise an interview. Amazing! *Insert celebratory dance here* 

But then you realise that you have to prepare for the interview. GASP! – it’s been a while and you need to brush up on your interview skills. 

Make no mistake, interviewing is a skill. And like most skills, you can practice or train yourself to be better at it. In this blog post, I want to quickly remind you the importance of the STAR method when you are interviewing. 


So, what is the STAR method?

The STAR method is a way of answering a behavioural question by providing examples divided into four main aspects: Situation, Task, Action, and Result (STAR). 

Some organisations, including the public service, uses the STAR method when interviewing and/or addressing a position’s key selection criteria – this is so the interviewers can determine how you’d approach certain situations based on your past performance.

You can tell when an interview question requires a STAR method response, as they typically start with: 

“Describe a time when you…”

“Can you give an example of…”

“Tell me about a situation when…”


How to use STAR

Answering a question using the four main aspects of STAR, shows that you understand the question and helps you to create a complete answer that relates to past performance and highlights your skills.

Situation: Outline the situation of the example or the background – this will give the example a context. 

Task: Explain what it was that you needed to do – or the task that you have been allocated to do.

Action: This is where you outline what actions you take in order to manage or see through the task and situation.

Result: You can tell the interview panel what the outcome or the result of your actions are towards the situation.

For example:

S: “There was a time when we received a huge flow of applications coming through.”

T: “I was then allocated a higher amount of applications than my usual workload – which was already high at the time.”

A: “In order to get through it, I decided to increase my productivity by blocking times during my day. So I would block four hours in the afternoon just to go through applications. And I also focus on prioritising – pushing less important meetings later which allows me to focus.” 

R: “As a result, I was able to get through my allocated applications and met my statutory time requirements.” 



One last tip, in order to make STAR method easy – you will need to have good examples. So, before any interview, I would strongly encourage you to look back on your career and pick some key highlights, situations, or major projects, for you to use as examples when answering questions.

Good luck!


By: Leo Liemesak, Associate Director

Leo is part of our powerhouse Planning team; he recruits in Town Planning working with private and public sector clients and candidates. 


Connect with Leo on LinkedIn

Contact: 0450 911 172 or



Scroll to Top