10 Classic Interview Questions + How to Answer Them

Napa County Jobs CA Reading Time: 8 minutes

Job interviews, like most things, are all about preparation. Whether you love job interviews or hate them, your job interview prep will likely dictate how well that interview goes. And to assist you with that job interview preparation, we, at the best staffing agency in Napa, CA – Star Staffing – have compiled this list of ten classic interview questions, along with the best tips to help you answer them. We’re even providing sample answers from some of the best career advice-givers around.

When you’ve done your homework, and rehearsed your answers, you’ll no doubt feel more confident in your next job interview. And a confident candidate? Well, that’s a great first impression to make.

Classic Interview Question #1: Tell Us A Little About You.

Yes, we recognize that this isn’t technically a “question.” Most interviews start with the interviewer asking you to talk about yourself. This is your opportunity to give your personal pitch, also called your elevator pitch. And because this question is usually asked at the top of your conversation, you want this answer to provide a solid first impression to your interviewer. That being said, don’t overthink it. You should touch on the past, the present, and the future. Explain who you are, what you’ve done so far in your career, and what you want to do next. The biggest mistake we see when answering this question is oversharing personal details, stick to the facts and what pertains to your work only. If something specific is spurring your job search, like a big move and you need to relocate and find employment opportunities in Napa County, that’s something you can share.

Sample Answer from Flex Jobs:

I’m an innovative HR manager with 8 years of experience managing all aspects of the HR function — from recruiting to training to benefits— for Fortune 500 companies. I have spent the last six years developing my skills as a customer service manager for Mega company Inc., where I have won several performance awards and been promoted twice. I love managing teams and solving customer problems. Although I love my current role, I feel I’m now ready for a more challenging assignment and this position really excites me.”

Classic Interview Question #2: Why Us? (The Company)

When the interviewer asks you why you are interested in the role, or interested in the company, this is your opportunity to do two things. First, you can show the interviewer that you’ve done your research, and you know about the company already. You know about their products, their people, their work culture, and/or their mission. Touch on something about the company that really resonated with you. This also provides the chance for you to show the interviewer that you have a genuine interest in the role, you weren’t blindly applying on the internet and “spraying and praying.” Show your passion for the company, and explain why you’re a fit for the job listing in Napa County that you applied for.

Sample Answer from Fairy God Boss:

“I’ve always read your editor-in-chief’s letter from the editor notes. I’ve really enjoyed learning about her vision for the magazine and seeing how that’s taken shape over the last few issues especially. For example, I know she’s written a lot about inclusivity, and I can see how the magazine has been diversifying in a number of ways. I really respect the team’s efforts and want to be part of it. I know my background in journalism and my interests as an activist will prove invaluable in helping to propel the magazine forward.”

Classic Interview Question #3: Why Are You Looking for a New Job?

What you should do here? Answer honestly, and tie together why you’re looking for a new job, but also why this new job is the perfect solution to your “why”. What you shouldn’t do here? Bash on your current or past roles, bosses, colleagues, or companies. It’s unbecoming — and if you’re gossiping about your old companies, what would stop you from doing the same about the company you’re interviewing at? Explain why you’re job searching, but stay positive. Avoid any negativity in this answer. You’re looking for something better. And the company you’re interviewing for? That’s better. This is a question that you should prep for in advance because you know without a doubt, it will be asked whether you’re job searching in Napa, CA or in New York, NY.

Sample Answer from Media Bistro:

“My goal is to lead digital projects in a fast-paced agency. I love working on a creative team, thrive under pressure and have been told by my managers I excel at project management. My current company works with a small group of clients and I’m looking for exposure to a larger diversity of brands so I can continue to hone my skills.”

Classic Interview Question #4: Why Should We Hire You?

When you answer this question, you can touch on your qualifications and experience, and add why you’re uniquely qualified for the role. Explaining your qualifications shows that you researched the role, and that you absolutely have enough experience to do the job well. Each person that interviews for the role, however, will have similar qualifications and experience. That’s why you should also touch on a skill, a specific experience or qualification, or interest that makes you stand out as a candidate. Maybe that’s a soft skill, a certification or course you recently completed, or your die-hard commitment to your industry. It can even be a culture fit, that often can be the stand out differentiator.

Sample Answer from The Interview Guys:

“When I read the job posting I noticed that you specifically mentioned you were looking for someone with project management experience. As you can see on my resume, I have over 10 years of experience as a project manager, but what I think really sets me apart from other candidates and will make me a valuable addition to your team is my ability to combine that with my people skills. I really value lasting relationships and actively seek to build those with developers, vendors and senior managers alike. I also enjoy interacting with customers and know that a happy customer is a repeat customer. My passion for this industry and the job I do drives me to deliver high-quality work every day.”

Classic Interview Question #5: What is Your Work Style?

This question can sometimes seem like a trick question — if you don’t “match” their typical work style, will you not be taken seriously for consideration for the role? Luckily, if you do your research, and respond honestly, you’ll be just fine. If you want more information on this topic, we’re written an entire article completely answering it, which you can find here. Touch on things like how fast you work, how accurate you are, or your preferences for individual and team work balances. Above all, be honest.

Sample Answer from Live Career:

I am able to adapt to any workplace. I try to maintain a fast pace during my work shift to remain focused while completing my tasks. I strive to be efficient and strive to ensure all work is completed properly and without error. I work well on my own, but am more than happy to work with others for collaborations or team-based projects. I take my position seriously, and am completely dedicated and driven to succeed.”

Classic Interview Question #6 (and #7): What Are Your Strengths? Weaknesses?

The epitome of classic job interview questions. You’ll likely be asked about your strengths as a professional, and about your weaknesses. For your strengths, choose something (or things) to cover that are tied to the role you’re applying for. Explain to the interviewer why your strengths make you the best candidate for the job, and give an example for how it has helped you be successful in the past.

When you’re answering what your weaknesses are, overall, try to choose a weakness that doesn’t inherently hold you back from doing the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a role that requires typing and sitting down for eight hours, your weakness shouldn’t have anything to do with your typing skills or your attention span being too short to focus for long periods of time. Instead, you can choose a weakness that you’re already consciously working on. You can even choose a “strength”, and turn it into a “weakness” that you’re trying to improve already.

Sample Answer from Balance Careers:

“I have a very strong attention to detail. Sometimes, this can turn into a tendency to perfectionism. In the past, I found this leading me to triple-check every item on a spreadsheet, closely proofread emails to ensure I’d communicated what I was trying to get across in a clear, concise way, or fiddle with the layout of a presentation to ensure that it was perfect. I’ve since learned to successfully budget my time and gauge which tasks require and actually benefit from this level of precision.”

Classic Interview Question #8: Can You Give Us an Example of When…?

These questions, the “Tell us about a time when…” or “Give us an example of when…” questions, are called behavioral interview questions. You’re sure to be asked at least one of these in your interview. To answer behavioral interview questions effectively, try using the STAR Method to tell an effective story and give a phenomenal answer.

Using the STAR method, you’ll frame your answer with these guidelines in mind;

Situation: Describe the situation you were in. Give context to the problem you solved.

Task: What did you need to fix? What problem were you facing?

Action: How did you/your team respond? How did you solve the problem uniquely/efficiently?

Result: What happened in the end? How was your company/team better off because of the problem you solved?

Using the STAR method to answer behavioral questions will make tough questions a little less overwhelming to answer. Try to think of a few example STAR responses before your interview so you’re prepared.

Sample Answer from Balance Careers:

“While I typically like to plan out my work in stages and complete it piece by piece, I can also achieve high-quality work results under tight deadlines. Once, at a former company, an employee left days before the imminent deadline of one of his projects. I was asked to assume responsibility for it, with only a few days to learn about and complete the project. I created a task force and delegated work, and we all completed the assignment with a day to spare. In fact, I believe I thrive when working under tight deadlines.”

Classic Interview Question #9: What Are Your Goals? Or, Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?

When you’re asked about the future — whether about your specific career goals, or what your plans for the next few years are, don’t stress. These questions allow you to explain your career visions, and swiftly integrate the role you’re interviewing for, into that vision. It’s a great opportunity to show you’re invested in the company long term, too. Your five-year plan should be something you can do at the company—no one wants to hire a candidate who can’t see themselves growing within the company.

Sample Answer from HubSpot:

“In five years, I’d like to have developed a deep expertise of video strategy and how to use video to promote brands, which is why I’m excited about this position. I know my role will require me to become a master at video, which aligns well with my long-term goals. Additionally, in a few years I could see myself enjoying the project management aspect of video strategy, as well.” 

Classic Interview Question #10: Do You Have Any Questions for Us?

The answer here — always, always, always — is, yes. You should typically prepare anywhere from three to five questions to ask the interviewers when given the opportunity. These questions should show that you’ve done your research on the position, and on the company and thoughtfully considered yourself in the position. Allow the interviewer a chance to answer questions about your priorities for your next role, whether that’s about flexible scheduling, work culture, or how they structure their bonuses. If you need some inspiration, Business Insider offers a long list of over 30 questions appropriate to ask at the end of your next job interview. A few of our favorites include:

  • ‘Beyond the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the company and position best?’
  • ‘What have past employees done to succeed in this position?’
  • ‘How would you describe the company’s culture?’

Above are the 10 typically asked interview questions that you must be prepared for. Rehearse with these classics to be sure you really impress at your next job interview for any employment opportunities in Napa County. If you need help in finding Napa County jobs listings and Napa County employment opportunities, Star Staffing is the top employment agency in Napa providing flexible staffing solutions, including temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire placements in Napa, Fairfield, Sacramento, Hayward, and Lodi. For more details, contact us at 707-265-9911.