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Hi I'm Emily Maguire

I'm a UK career coach and business coach for individuals in the creative and entertainment industries and passionate about helping people achieve their career goals. I'm also a top voice on LinkedIn for the Film Industry and a podcast producer and host.

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Emily Maguire UK Career Coach and Business Coach for the arts, creative and entertainment industry

Interview Tips UK: How to Ace Your Interview with Star Techniques

Updated: May 18

Are you tired of attending interviews only to blend in with the other candidates? Do you want to stand out and make a lasting impression on potential employers? If so, then you're in the right place. In this article, I’ll show you how to ace your interview using star techniques.

Interview Tips and Tricks

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Star techniques, also known as situation, task, action, and result, are a powerful tool that can help you effectively answer interview questions and showcase your skills and experience. By following this structured approach, you can provide clear and concise responses that demonstrate your ability to handle challenging situations and achieve positive outcomes.

Whether you're a recent graduate searching for your first job or a seasoned professional looking to advance your career, mastering the star techniques can greatly improve your interview performance. So, get ready to take your interviewing skills to the next level and leave a lasting impression on employers.

Importance of preparing for an interview

Preparing for an interview is crucial to your success. It allows you to confidently navigate through the interview process and present yourself in the best possible light. By taking the time to research the company, understand the role you're applying for, and anticipate the types of questions you may be asked, you can ensure that you're well-prepared and ready to shine.

Here are a few actionable steps that you can take to help ensure success.

1. Always do Your Research

Firstly, always do your research about the company and read the job description thoroughly. A common mistake interviewees make is failing to read the job description properly, which leads to missed opportunities and weak interview answers. Researching the company shows a passion and commitment to working in the role and with the company you've applied to.

Before the interview, take some time to learn about the company's history, mission, and values. Explore the company's website, read recent news articles and press releases, and check out any social media accounts.

Lastly, remember to review the job description thoroughly and make sure you understand the key responsibilities, skills, and qualifications required for the role.

2. Practice Your Interview 

Doing mock interviews can be a great way to settle nerves and hone your interview skills.

You can practice a mock interview with a professional Career Coach like myself, who will give you feedback, advice and guidance and help you hone your interview skills.

Or, you could practice answering common interview questions with someone you trust, like a friend or family member. This can help you refine your responses and get comfortable with the format and structure of the interview.

Additionally, practice your body language and tone of voice to ensure you come across as confident and professional and help you perform better on the interview day.

Tip: Remember to take a breath before answering any questions and smile as it will help you sound friendly and calm your nerves.

3. Dress Appropriately for the Role and Arrive On Time

First impressions matter, so make sure you dress appropriately for the interview and arrive on time.

Dress professionally and make sure your clothes are clean, ironed, and well-fitted. Always aim to arrive at the interview location at least 10-15 minutes early so you have time to collect yourself, review any notes or materials, and allow for travel delays.

4. CVs and Documents

It can be helpful to take along extra copies of your resume and any other relevant documents, such as a portfolio or work samples.

This shows that you're prepared and organised and ensures that you have everything you need to answer any questions that may arise during the interview.

5. Prepare Questions to Ask

Using your research from step 1, prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the role.

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will usually ask if you have any questions. This is your chance to learn more about the company and the role, so come prepared with some thoughtful questions.

A good option is to highlight something that you found about the company while researching and that you would like to request further information about.

Ask about the company's culture, values, and goals, as well as any specific details about the job that weren't covered in the job description.

This shows you're committed to making an informed decision about your career.

6. Practice good body language

Pay attention to your body language during the interview. Maintain eye contact, sit up straight, and avoid fidgeting. These small details can have a big impact on how you're perceived.

Prepare for the Interview

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

When preparing for a phone interview, make sure to test your phone signal for clarity and that your phone is fully charged.

Choose a quiet location indoors to take the call, and ideally, this should be a private space free from distractions and background noise.

  • Be ready and set up at least 10 minutes before the call.

  • Keep a glass of water nearby.

  • Always be polite and professional.

  • If you're unsure about a question, ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify.

  • Use verbal nods to let the interviewer know you are listening.

  • If the line is bad, tell the interviewer if you cannot hear them.

Understanding STAR Technique

The STAR interview technique is a widely recognised approach that can help you succeed in your job interview. It's a structured method that enables you to provide clear, concise, and detailed answers to interview questions based on specific examples from your past life or work experiences.

Always remember your answers need to show what you did, not what you would do. STAR is used to show your experiences. 

Before we dive into the specifics of using star techniques in an interview, let's take a closer look at what each component of the acronym stands for.

Situation: When using star techniques, it's important to start by explaining the context of the situation you're about to describe. This helps the interviewer understand the circumstances in which you were faced with a challenge or opportunity.

Task: Once you've set the stage by describing the situation, the next step is to outline the specific task or objective you were tasked with. This helps the interviewer understand the goals you were working towards and the expectations placed upon you.

Action: After explaining the task, it's time to detail the actions you took to address the situation. This is your opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and decision-making abilities. Be sure to explain the steps you took and the rationale behind your choices.

Result: Finally, it's important to highlight the outcome or results achieved as a result of your actions. This allows the interviewer to see the impact of your efforts and assess your ability to achieve positive outcomes.

How to Use the STAR Method

Step 1 - Situation

The first step of the STAR technique is the Situation. This involves describing the context of the situation you are discussing and providing the interviewer with a clear understanding of the circumstances you were in.

For example, suppose the interviewer asks you to describe a time when you worked under pressure. In that case, you might describe a situation where you had been given a tight deadline to complete a project, and your boss was demanding that you keep them constantly updated.

Step 2 - Task

The second step is the Task. This involves explaining the specific task or goal that you were trying to achieve in the situation you described.

For example, if the situation you described was a tight deadline, the task might have been to complete the project on time while ensuring that all the specific requirements were met.

Step 3 - Action

The third step is the Action. This involves explaining the actions you took to complete the task. You should describe what you did, how you did it, and why you chose that particular approach.

For example, you might explain that you had to delegate tasks to team members to ensure that the project was completed on time and that you monitored all their progress closely to ensure that the team was on schedule.

Step 4 - Result

The final step of the STAR technique is the Result. This involves explaining the outcome of your actions and the impact they had on the project or organisation.

For example, you might explain that the project was completed on time and within budget, and the company was satisfied with the outcome. You might also describe any lessons you learned from the experience and how you applied them to future projects.

Now that you understand the components of star techniques let's explore how you can apply them to common interview questions. Here is an example:

Describe a time when you had to meet a tight deadline.

Situation: I was assigned a project with a tight deadline and limited resources.

Task: The task was to complete the project within the given timeframe while maintaining the quality of work.

Action: I created a detailed project plan, prioritized tasks, and delegated responsibilities to team members. I also communicated with stakeholders to manage expectations and ensure everyone was aligned.

Result: Despite the challenges, we successfully completed the project on time, meeting all the requirements. The project received positive feedback from stakeholders, highlighting our ability to deliver under pressure.

Interview Questions for Creative Industry

Additional Interview Tips to Enhance Your Performance

Now that you have a good understanding of how the STAR technique works, it's time to practice and prepare for your interviews.

1. Review your past experiences

Take the time to reflect on your past experiences and identify situations where you demonstrated key skills and achieved positive outcomes. This will help you have a bank of examples to draw from during your interview.

2. Tailor your examples to the role

When selecting examples to use during your interview, make sure they are relevant to the role you're applying for. This will demonstrate your understanding of the position and your ability to apply your skills in a way that aligns with the company's needs.

3. Use specific and measurable results

When describing the results of your actions, be specific and use measurable outcomes whenever possible. This will provide concrete evidence of your achievements and make your responses more impactful.

4. Practice answering common interview questions

Spend time practicing your answers to common interview questions using star techniques. This will help you become more comfortable with the framework and ensure that your responses are well-structured and concise.

By following these tips, you can effectively use star techniques in your interviews and increase your chances of standing out from the competition.

Common Interview Questions for Creatives

Here are five popular questions that interviews ask to help find out more about your skills, qualities, and role suitability.

1. Problem Solving Abilities

Can you tell us about a time when you faced a challenging problem and how you solved it?

For example, when evaluating a candidate's problem-solving abilities, interviewers may ask them to describe a challenging problem they faced and how they went about solving it. This question provides insight into the candidate's critical thinking skills, resourcefulness, and ability to work effectively under pressure.

2. Creative Thinking

How do you approach a project that requires creative thinking and innovation?

When assessing a candidate's creativity, interviewers may ask them to describe their approach to a project that requires innovative thinking. This question helps the interviewer understand how the candidate generates new ideas and approaches problems from a fresh perspective.

3. Communication

Can you give an example of a project you worked on where you had to communicate effectively with team members or clients?

To evaluate a candidate's communication skills, interviewers may ask them to give an example of a project they worked on where they had to communicate effectively with team members or clients. This question helps the interviewer understand the candidate's ability to convey their ideas clearly, listen actively, and collaborate effectively with others.

4. Handling Criticism

How do you handle constructive criticism, and how do you incorporate it into your work?

Interviewers may also ask candidates how they handle constructive criticism and incorporate it into their work. This question provides insight into the candidate's ability to receive feedback, adapt to changes, and continuously improve their work.

5. Values, Goals and Traits

In what ways do you think you could contribute to the company culture and work environment?

This question helps the interviewer understand the candidate's values, goals, and personality traits and assess their overall fit with the company culture.


By following these tips, you can develop confidence in using the STAR technique and effectively showcase your skills and accomplishments during interviews. Remember, practice makes perfect, so invest time in preparing for your interviews to increase your chances of standing out from the competition.

With the right preparation and a structured approach, you can transform yourself from just another candidate into a standout contender. So, the next time you're faced with an interview, remember to bring your star power and leave a lasting impression on employers. Good luck!

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