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Helping Students Become Interview Stars

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Documenting Success

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.685.1 - 10.685.7



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Paper Authors

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Patricia White

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Steven Mickelson

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Thomas Brumm

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2508

Helping Students Become Interview STARs

Thomas J. Brumm Steven K. Mickelson Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Patricia N. White Engineering Career Services

Iowa State University Ames, Iowa USA


The majority of employers of students from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University use behavioral-based interviewing (BBI) techniques. This process focuses on past behaviors (what did you do?) rather than opinions (what do you think?). When students interview for full-time employment and internships, they are expected to relate experiences showing how they’ve developed and demonstrated competencies important to the employer. The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a technique for describing actions related to specific competencies. Competency development and demonstration are also critical components of our departmental outcomes assessment plan. This paper discusses BBI, the relationship between BBI and STARs, how we are integrating STARs into our curriculum from freshman to senior years, how our students successfully use STARs, and how STARs contribute to our overall outcome assessment plan.


Career interviews for engineering students are evolving from interrogation sessions to structured conversations. This evolution is facilitated by the proliferation of information technology that has automated many of the previously manual tasks such as reviewing resumes and scheduling interviews. This frees recruiters to spend more time networking and building relationships with job candidates.1 The real impetus for this evolution is the realization that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance.2 And after all, future performance is what any interviewer is trying to ascertain.

This type of structured conversation, commonly referred to as Behavioral Based Interviewing (BBI), aims to discover examples of past behavior through guided questioning. Development Dimensions International, Inc., a global provider of competency-based performance management tools and services,3 is a leader in teaching managers how to interview candidates. They call this method Targeted Selection.® While this technique is called by many names, the underlying premise is the same – past behavior is the best predictor of future performance.

Traditional interviews often include such questions as:

• “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

White, P., & Mickelson, S., & Brumm, T. (2005, June), Helping Students Become Interview Stars Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15486

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