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The value of the past in interviews. The STAR method

For many people, looking back to the past has been an important way of predicting the future. Centuries ago, the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551 B.C. – 479 B.C.) advised humankind to “heed the past to see what the future holds”. His words of advice have been followed by many people and in a number of fields of activity and knowledge. For example, stock market specialists use “Technical Analysis” to predict future stock market movements, anticipating future share prices on the basis of current and past ones.

In the field of Human Resources, and particularly in the area of Selection, many businesses use competency-based interviews, i.e. structured interviews that set out to identify critical incidents, resting on the basic assumption that a person’s past performance is the best indicator of his or her future performance.

In this kind of interview, the Selection Specialist asks the candidate about real Situations that define Tasks, Actions and Results. This is known as the STAR method.

Drawing on your own personal experience in job interviews, do you think that the situations that you faced in the past serve are a reliable indicator of how you are likely to act in the future? Or do you think that more factors need to be taken into consideration, such as specific circumstances, situations or moments, or an individual’s physical and mental state?

Ramón Rodríguez Lago
ACCIONA Selection Manager