If you do have an interview for a scientific job soon, you need to think about the type of interview technique you will use to answer questions and what the interviewer might ask. One technique that is used throughout both technical and competency based interviews is that of behavioural questioning. This is designed to get practical examples from interviewees as demonstrations of particular skills or competencies.
In order to prepare for this before your interview, you should identify examples of situations from your experiences on your CV where you have demonstrated skills and competencies that you feel are relevant to the role – please refer to the Job and/or Person Specification as well as the companies website for these.
During the interview, your responses need to be specific and detailed. Tell them about a particular situation that relates to the question, not a general one. Briefly tell them about the situation, what actions you took, and the positive result or outcome. One proven way to structure your answers is using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result or “STAR”) format (please see below).
Situation or Task:
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
Action you took:
Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.
Results you achieved:
What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?