-We’ve all been there. You’re in an interview for a job you’re really excited about. You’re nervous. Then you get the dreaded question, ‘Tell me about a time when…’

Your mind goes blank.

You can only remember what you did yesterday and absolutely nothing from the last 20 years of your successful career.

You waffle on and on and can’t stop talking because if you keep talking you might eventually answer the question. Or they might not notice.

The truth is you are their final interview of the day. They’ve heard six people waffle – not getting to the point – and the more you talk, the more that really exciting job slips through your fingers. Hey ho. Next time…

Stop right there. Let’s rewrite this story. You need STARIL in your life.


What is STARIL?


Applying for jobs and prepping for interviews takes a huge amount of time and energy and the well known STAR framework is a great way to get your skills and experience in order.

STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action and Result, and can help you prepare your interview responses – especially for the the ‘Tell me about a time…’ and ‘Give me an example of when you’ve done…’ questions.

Most people get nervous about interviews so reframe the whole process as a conversation – an opportunity to showcase your talents, tell your unique stories and most importantly, to shine!

Storytelling is what makes us human after all.

I’ve enhanced the STAR framework and added ‘I’ for Impact and ‘L’ for Learning as I think they can add more value and help you stand out as a candidate.

Once you’ve got your STARIL stories down, you can use them time and again and not just in interviews – on your CV, when networking, in presentations and speeches.


Where to start?


Scrutinise job descriptions for roles you’re interested in.

What are the essential skills and experience that they’re looking for? Consider your career highlights. What do you want a future employer to know about you? What projects are you most proud of?

Then marry up what they’re looking for with what you’ve got. You can use a table like below to help write your stories out. Be succinct and include as much hard statistical evidence as you possibly can. Here’s an example:


Competency/ Skill: Leading a team



Click here to download your own STARIL sheet to get started.