STAR Formula Worksheet
Use the STAR Formula Worksheet to prepare yourself for the interview process. Go through the worksheet several times so that your answers are clear, sharp and focused. Practice makes perfect, even when preparing for an interview.
1. Tell me about a time when you had to solve a complex problem within a very limited amount of time.
2. What would you do if you had to work with a supervisor whose style was different than your own?
Sample STAR Formula Responses
1. Describe a time when you were asked to handle a request from a high-level faculty member that was actually against University policy. What did you do?
This actually happens in my office on a regular basis, and my role is to work directly with faculty to ensure that their research activities are in alignment with what is considered appropriate under University policy. To do my job, I try to predict faculty needs ahead of time in order to be able to address them with proactive solutions. To this end, I research in advance the types of requests our faculty will have through talking directly with them on what they are working on, reviewing our budgets, talking with my colleagues and generally just arming myself with information. Since our policy is to avoid saying no whenever possible, I work hard to present faculty several viable solutions.
Just today, for example, a professor asked if I would approve an LVO over the required amount because he was in a last-minute bind and needed to get research materials ordered. I predicted his request was coming because I knew he was at a crucial point in his work so rather than saying no or overreacting to the request that was against policy, I simply got to work by calling our budget office and accounts payable folks to see if we could separate the order into smaller parts so that the faculty member could order his materials right away. In the end, we were able to address the concern right away through effective communication skills and a keen interest in making sure that the faculty member’s needs were met. He left my office satisfied, and we felt good about solving his problem. It was a win-win for all.
2. Talk about an experience working with a team to reach a common goal.
I am responsible for maintaining our database regarding our diverse working environment at UCLA. Our goal as a department is to increase staff diversity so that it accurately reflects the greater community within which we reside. To do my job, I analyze policy and records regarding diversity information, and I determine if we are or are not meeting our goals. I also make recommendations for improvement.
I was recently asked to prepare a status report for my manager updating her on our progress. I wrote a small two-page concise report and included an executive summary. In addition, I included recommendations that included guidelines for how to increase our diversity pool, ways to develop training programs for our campus partners, and how to keep continued accurate track of our numbers. My manager was so impressed with my work that she shared it with our team and asked me to train our entire team on the processes. The team is now completely on board and we are working together seamlessly to reach our goals of increasing diversity on campus.
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