• Charlie Webb

PAR & STAR - Answering the Describe a Time When Questions in an Interview

Describe a time Questions can be tricky to answer, however if you use these little tips you can be sure that your competence based answers will impress the interviewer providing them with detail, logic and precision.

Whenever you need to answer a time you dealt with a challenging situation maybe it was working with a difficult colleague or delivering to an impossible deadline, remember PAR. Problem - what was the challenge presented, Action - what did you do to overcome this, Result - How did it go, was it a success, failure? Would you do something different in hindsight?

Another good way for planning how to answer these questions is to structure your responses following the STAR model: Situation, Target, Action, Result. When answering these competency based questions always follow this rule! Situation, paint the picture, Target, what was your goal, Action, how did you perform the task, Result, how did it end up? Did it go as expected? What could be improved? What did you learn from this situation?

Some of the most common questions are:

  • Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult colleague.

  • Describe a time when you had to make a change and think quick on your feet

  • Describe a time when you worked as part of a team

  • Describe a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone.

  • Describe a time when you showed your leadership skills

  • Describe a time when you were in a team that was not working well together.

Give them go, I'd love to hear your answers! Email me your examples at

If you're looking to get ready for your upcoming interview or thinking of changing your job soon, book a free 15 mins consultation and we can take it from there.


Charles Webb

Online Interview Coach