4.7 Discussion and Activities

Rose Helens-Hart and Rachel Dolechek

4.7.1. STAR Interview Practice

Utilize the STAR Interviewing method to answer the behavioral questions below. Questions are organized by the skill they are assessing. Once you have practiced a few, pair up with a classmate and ask each other questions for a quick mock interview.

ST—Situation & Task: Identify a specific situation you were in and your task. Give enough detail for the interviewer to understand what was asked of you.

A—Action: Describe the action you took and make sure to focus on YOU, even if you were accomplishing a task with a group or team.

R—Results: Finally tell the interviewer the result of your action. What was the outcome? What did you accomplish and what did you learn?


  • Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker criticized your work in front of others.
  • How do you ensure that someone understands what you are saying?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to present complex information.
  • Tell me about a time you had to use your written communication skills to get across an important point.

Decision Making

  • Give me an example of a time you had to make a difficult decision.
  • Tell me about a problem you solved for your employer.
  • Give me an example of when taking your time to make a decision was worth it in the end.


  • What did you do to prepare for this interview?
  • Give me an example of a situation that could not have happened successfully without you being there.
  • Tell me about what you do when you don’t know how to do something and there is no one there to help you.

Planning and Organization

  • Tell me about a time when you had many projects due at the same time.
  • How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time?


  • Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
  • Discuss when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker understand a task.


  • Tell me about a time when you influenced the outcome of a project by taking a leadership role.
  • Give me an example of when you involved others in making a decision.

Time Management

  • Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline.
  • Tell me about a time when you were particularly effective in prioritizing tasks and completing a project on schedule.


  • Tell me about a time when you worked in a team to achieve a goal.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked in a team where someone wasn’t contributing.

4.7.2. Generating Skill Stories

To answer interview questions in clear and concrete terms, you will need to identify when, where, and how you have developed your employability. On a separate sheet of paper, identify your skills and qualifications. Then, answer three questions related to these skills and qualifications:

  • Where did you learn this skill/acquire this qualification?
  • How have you practiced this skill/developed this qualification?
  • What is a story that demonstrates your skill or qualification level?

4.7.3. FHSU Big Interview

FHSU provides its students with a service that allows them to practice interviewing online anytime, anywhere. “Big Interview is an online system that combines training AND practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence. Big Interview offers a variety of tools including: Challenging, virtual mock interviews for all experience levels and hundreds of industries.” (BigInterview, n.d.)

Get started with Big Interview here!

4.7.4. SWOT Interviewing

Strengths, weaknessesm opportunities, threats (SWOT) analyses can be used in a variety of contexts, including preparing for interviews. Create a SWOT chart for your next interviewing opportunity.

4.7.5. Informational Interview

Interview a professional and analyze their advice using content from this course and other credible sources.

Activity Objectives:

  • Apply interviewing skills;
  • Practice professional communication;
  • Evaluate professional advice;
  • Develop your professional network;
  • Clarify your career identity.

Activity Steps

  1. Select someone you can identify as being part of (or you want them to be a part of) your professional network or an actual or possible mentor who has been working in a field of interest to you for at least five (5) years. Family members and friends are okay to interview but you should be considering pursuing their fields or jobs. Send them a professional e-mail or give them a call to set up a time to conduct an informational interview over the phone, video conferencing, or in-person. No email interviews–you must speak with the person in real-time. Be respectful of their time—don’t expect people to drop everything to help you.
  2. Start your interview with some questions that help you understand your interviewee’s job or career, such as, “what it is like to work in your position?” or “what attracted you to this work?” Try to find out as much as you can about your interviewee before the interview. If your interviewee has a LinkedIn profile or staff biography, you can find out basic information such as employment title and career history. You should personalize questions to fit the person you are interviewing and ask follow-up questions. Here are some sample questions:
  • How would you describe what it means to be a “professional” in your field?
  • What does it mean to “behave in a professional manner” at your workplace?
  • How important is professionalism at your workplace?
  • Do you belong to any professional organizations? If so, how have they influenced your professional development?
  • What do you like most about your work? What is challenging?
  • What advice do you have for someone looking to enter your line of work?
  1. Once you have completed your interview, send your interviewee a thank you message to show you appreciated their time.




Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Introduction to Professional Development Copyright © 2022 by Rose Helens-Hart and Rachel Dolechek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book