Update: Stand out to employers in the interview process with more than the STAR method. Check out these new updates to become one step closer to ace your future interviews.
Update: One Way You Can Distinguish Yourself in Any Marketing Job Interview
In addition to the STAR method, there are more ways to make an impression on your future employer. As a marketer, the responsibility lies on your shoulders to come up with creative ways to differentiate your personal brand and professional skillset. Your best strategy will depend on your background, strengths and the nature of the job and company you’re applying to. But there’s one tactic any marketer in any discipline can use to reliably stand out at any point in their career: a 30/60/90 day plan. Check out our posts to learn how the 30/60/90 day plan can prepare you for upcoming interviews.
Nailing the interview is an essential (and for many people, the most intimidating) aspect of landing almost any job. If that job happens to be an important marketing role essential to the company’s success, rest assured they’ll be vetting you carefully and have high interview standards.
One interview strategy marketing recruitment agencies find to be consistently effective, especially for marketing jobs, is the STAR method. In almost every style of interview for any kind of marketing job, it provides a stable and flexible base for you to stand on and confidently approach any questions and discussions with your interviewers.
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results. It’s a behavioral interviewing technique you can use to coherently frame your answers and discussions in a way that matters to good recruiters and hiring managers. Use the STAR method when you need to share an experience and quantify the results quickly and concisely.
Interviewers want to know you’ve been capable of delivering marketing results in the past, and reassurance that you’ll continue to do so in the future. The STAR method addresses both of these while helping you sound confident, competent, and well-spoken— even more ways to impress and set yourself apart from the competition.
Start by providing your Situation: the essential background information that’s needed to understand the context of your story:
- Your position and marketing responsibilities.
- Other key players—team members, competitors, consumers.
- When and where the situation occurred, if relevant.
- The marketing environment you were in.
Be brief. It’s important not to spend too much time setting up your story. Include only the details necessary to appreciate the rest of it.
Describe the key marketing objectives you accomplished or problems you resolved in your story. It could be a regular responsibility assigned by a manager, a long-term campaign you executed, or an abrupt emergency you responded to.
Outline any particular challenges to your Task: deadlines, budget restraints, competitors, internal and systematic obstacles.
Be as specific as possible with your Task. What metrics determined your success? How did you track your progress? What were the consequences of failure?
Share how you prepared and executed your strategy to accomplish the Task. Use this as an opportunity to list your most desirable traits: anticipating problems, operating under pressure, acting as a leader, etc. Explain step by step your approach and emphasize how your unique combination of skills, experience and attitude led to a more desirable outcome than would normally be achieved.
Here’s your chance to really raise eyebrows and draw attention. Communicating your ability to drive marketing results is the most important part of your interview. Show how your Action produced demonstrable, measurable improvements and achievements.
As much as possible, provide hard numbers: an increase in conversation rates, greater campaign responses, better ROI. At a time when marketing spend and results are more trackable than ever, there’s little excuse not to illustrate the effects of your Action. Compare these metrics to their state in the Situation phase and show how much better YOU delivered.
Which Experiences Should Your Share With STAR?
Part of the strength of this interview method is that it’s very flexible—you can format almost all of your conversations in this manner to drive the discussion to the most important part: your results. So if you come across an unexpected question or venture into unfamiliar territory, you can use it as a starting point.
But you’ll often get an opportunity to share an experience of your choice, and it’s good to do a little preparation ahead of time to make sure you have the story straight and all the details you want to share.
In that case, think of situations where you can showcase yourself in the best way possible:
- When you delivered extraordinary results far beyond expectations.
- When things didn’t go according to plan and you had to react quickly.
- When you had to take a position of leadership to get things done.
- When you got to work on a very high-profile or unusual project.
Unless your interviewer asks you to elaborate further, your experiences usually should not take more than three or four minutes to share. Practice brevity; hit the high points and share your key results.
Update: How to Formulate the Perfect Follow-Up Letter for Your Marketing Job Interviews
Implementing the STAR method for your upcoming interview is a solid foundation to guide your way through the interview process. To stay on a good track, its vital that a thank you note is provided following the interview. The follow-up letter is a critical part of the interview process for nearly every job in any field. But it’s perhaps doubly important for marketing applicants of any kind, from entry-level junior roles to veteran marketing executive positions. For marketers, a perfectly crafted follow-up can be almost as impactful as their interview performance itself. Click here for great tips on how to formulate the perfect follow-up letter.