During an interview, candidates are asked to explain a time when a coworker was not cooperative or couldn’t contribute enough. Candidates never know what to say unless they can see the whole answer in advance or try it out on a friend.
The STAR method helps solve this problem because it provides a process that is simple and helps candidates get through tough situations.
Practice using the STAR method by reviewing the different situations below. The best way to practice is to write out your own answers, using each of the 4 steps.
One of my colleagues was not pulling her weight.
S - When I was working as a project manager, one of my colleagues was not pulling her weight. She was not contributing enough to the project and as a result, it affected everyone else’s performance.
T - As a manager, I had to solve this issue—and fast! Before approaching her with my concerns, I had to gather information about how she was doing her work and what exactly was going wrong.
A - In order to do that, I spoke with other members of the team and conducted interviews with them individually so they could give me their honest opinion on the situation without feeling pressured by anyone else in the room. After talking to everyone involved and getting feedback from everyone involved (including my colleague), it became clear that she had been struggling with some personal issues lately which were affecting her ability to perform at work.
R - I then approached her about this issue and explained why it was affecting everyone else’s performance as well as hers. After speaking with her for a while about what happened over time, we came up with an action plan together so she could improve herself and be more productive at work again.
The company was growing fast but the team wasn't organized enough to keep up
S - I was working at a small tech company in the US. The company was growing fast but the team wasn't organized enough to keep up.
T - I was assigned to be part of a project management team that was supposed to help organize our workflow, make sure everyone had what they needed, and plan projects better.
A - When I first joined the team, we didn't have any sort of routine or schedule in place. We were just trying to get things done as best as we could but it wasn't working well because people were always forgetting about deadlines or not doing their part on time.
So instead of focusing on my own tasks, I decided to help out everyone else by reminding them about their workload and giving them updates on what other people were working on so they could do theirs better.
R - After a few months of this kind of teamwork, we managed to create a solid workflow system that worked for all of us instead of just relying on ourselves alone which allowed us all to complete our tasks much faster than before which is why we were able to finish the project ahead of schedule!
I was tasked to provide the team of developers to work more effectively
S - I was managing a team of developers and had been tasked with getting them to work together more effectively.
T - My duties were to supervise and train my employees, as well as make sure they were fulfilling their responsibilities.
A - I decided to ask each employee what their biggest challenges were in regard to working together with their colleagues, which gave me a better idea of how I could help them improve their performance.
R - After talking to everyone about their personal challenges, it became clear that some employees needed more training than others, as well as some specific tools that would help them do their jobs more efficiently.
One of my coworkers was not contributing much to the project
S - I was working on a project with two other coworkers, but one of them was not contributing much to the project, which was not up to the standard set by my other coworker and myself.
T - The task was to create a new product that would help our company increase sales. We were responsible for creating a prototype and testing it in order to get feedback from customers. Based on this feedback we would then need to make changes and improvements before launching the product.
A - I asked my coworker who wasn’t contributing much if he would be willing to work on a different part of the prototype so that we could all work together on different parts of the product. He agreed and we ended up being able to come up with something that we were all happy with after working together for about two months.
R - Our prototype ended up being successful enough that it was launched as a new product by our company within three months after its initial creation
I was working with a team that had a lot of tasks to do and not enough time
S - I was working with a team that had a lot of tasks to do and not enough time to do them.
T - My task was to manage the workload for the team so that we could get everything done on time.
A - To accomplish this, I worked closely with everyone involved to establish clear deadlines and expectations, so that we could all be on the same page and aware of what needed to be done and when. For example, one member of our team always worked slower than others, which made it difficult for us all to meet deadlines. In order to solve this problem, I did some research into management strategies that could help him work faster without sacrificing quality.
We then implemented these strategies in our daily meetings and set goals for him based on his past performance levels; this allowed him to take more ownership over his own productivity while still getting the support he needed from me as his manager. As a result of these efforts, both my coworker's output increased dramatically over time while also improving his overall morale!
R - This resulted in more efficient work being completed within deadlines.
I was working with a coworker who was not contributing enough to the team
S - I had a situation where I was working with a coworker who was not contributing enough to the team.
T - My task was to figure out how he could contribute more and make sure that he would be able to do so.
A - The action I took was to give him some tasks that were a lower priority and that he could accomplish without much guidance from me.
R - This resulted in him being able to contribute more, which made me feel satisfied that my action was successful.
I was working on a project that required all members of the team to contribute equally
S - I was working on a project that required all members of the team to contribute equally. However, there were two members who were consistently late and did not follow through with their duties.
T - As a project manager, I had to ensure that all team members were contributing equally and on schedule. I had to encourage them to get their work done on time while also ensuring they didn't get too stressed out or burned out by overworking themselves.
A - I had weekly meetings with each member of the team where we discussed their progress, what challenges they faced and how we could resolve them together. We also talked about how much time they needed to complete their tasks, so none of us would be overwhelmed by the workload.
R - This process helped me create an open line of communication with each member of my team so we could tackle problems together instead of letting them become individual problems that no one wanted to deal with anymore. It also helped us establish realistic goals for ourselves so we could reach them without feeling like we were being asked to do too much at once.
I was working with a coworker who didn't communicate well with others
S - I was working with a coworker who had a lot of experience in the industry and knew what he was doing, but he didn't communicate well with others. He would often go off on his own and not tell anyone what he was doing or what he needed help with. He also didn't ask for feedback on his work, so I felt like he wasn't learning anything new or improving his skills.
T - My job was to make sure that my coworkers were able to complete their tasks in a timely manner and were happy at work.
A - I started by having one-on-one meetings with him to try and understand why he wasn't communicating well with the team. Then I went over the entire project plan with him so that we could work together more closely on each task, ensuring that everything was communicated clearly across all levels of the business.
If there were any issues, we'd be able to handle them immediately instead of getting stuck later down the line when it could cause major problems for everyone involved.
R - This approach worked really well for us because it helped us understand each other better and made it easier for us both to contribute equally.