How to give a STAR performance in a CB Interview

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First of all let me explain what CBI means, since this is an abbreviation used by recruiters: CBI stands for “Competency Based Interviews” (also known as Behaviour Interviews). This is an interviewing methodology often used by recruiters working for Fortune 500 Companies. As the name indicates, this interview practice is used to assess candidate competencies and predict future behaviour in the job role.

I am sure that you have great competencies, but do you know how to communicate them? And do you know how to convince your interviewer that you have the right mix of “know-how” required for the job? Actually, there is a very simple technique to help you prepare for CBI and increase your level of confidence when sitting in an interview.

This technique is called: S T A R

“Tell me about a time when you had to face a particular conflict in your job; what was it that you had to achieve, how did you handle the conflict and how did you resolve the issue?”

Have you ever experienced a similar interview question? This is exactly the type of question that a recruiter would use to assess your ability to handle possible conflicts into the new role and this is what we call a “CBI question”.

Let me explain you how the S T A R technique will help you to prepare for such type of questions.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result

The trick is to include these fours aspects, one after the other into your answer when you describe a real situation from you past experience. In this way you will clearly communicate your level of competence to manage certain situations and your ability to produce results.

Use the table below to guide you on how to use the STAR technique:

The STAR Technique

This is actually a very good technique to prepare for all type of interviews and can also be used to answer situational/hypothetical questions such as: “What would you do if…..” You will come across much more confident and convincing if you use the STAR model to describe a concrete example, rather than using a hypothetical situation.

Here are some quick tips to help you prepare:

  1. Identify 3 to 4 key competencies required for the role which you will find in the job description
  2. Think of a few examples from your experience when you used those competencies. Looking at the achievements listed on your CV should give you plenty of ideas. Take examples from different jobs. If you have limited professional experience, think of other areas where you developed competencies during your life (i.e. community work, family, etc).
  3. Write down two examples for each competence based on the S T A R model.


Let me give you an example:

The STAR Technique Example

I hope that you are now ready to give a STAR performance in your next interview!

Please don’t hesitate to leave your comments and/or questions below or to get in touch with us if you would like to be coached preparing for your future interviews.

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