All of us have our dreams, goals, ambitions. We want to be someone, achieve something, live a meaningful life. But things are not easy in the 21st century, even when one wins in an ovarian lottery, and is born in a rich country. Resources are scarce, and competition is tough, in virtually every field of human endeavor.

If you want to reach the stars, or at least be the best you can be, you’ll have to make sacrifices. You’ll have to try harder than others, do more, and overcome the laziness, and the attraction of conformity that is natural for human beings. It helps a lot when one finds an inspiration in something, or someone. Our inspirations can drive us forward, make us leave our comfort zone, and achieve feats most people wouldn’t dare to dream about… Burt what about a job interview? What should you say when the hiring managers ask what inspires you?

First of all, you should have some inspiration. It can be a person, a thing, an event, or even something from within. Your main goal is to convince the interviewers that there is something in your life that will help you find motivation, and overcome any crisis in the workplace. Something that inspires you to become the best version of yourself, and achieve great results for your employer. What can it be? Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers for some inspiration


7 sample answers to “What inspires you?” interview question

  1. The things that inspires me the most is the inequality I see in the world. You walk along a boulevard, and see posh shops displaying expensive merchandise, and beggars in rags sitting just meters away. It is striking, yet inspiring to me. Now do not take me wrong–I do not dream of changing the world. Have already accepted my limitations. However, I know that I can change something in the lives of individuals, people with names and stories, and it inspires me to try my best as a social worker, and to never give up on any case.
  2. What inspires me the most is desire to find out how far I can go, how good I can become in my field. Sure enough, I have already mastered three programming languages, and it allows me to work on complex projects, and having a real impact with my work. But is this really the pinnacle? Cannot I do even more, become even better in my field? And what options will open to me once I master forth programming language? Such questions, and a desire to find my own limits–if they exist, motivate me to keep learning and working on my skills.
  3. Classical music inspires me more than anything else. When you listen to a true masterpiece, giving it 100% of your attention, you perceive all colors and tones and emotions of the music, you realize there is more to this world than money, and that one doesn’t necessarily need millions to be happy. Such music always gives me an inner peace, and helps me a lot to deal with the challenges of both my everyday life and work. That’s why I listen to it everyday, in the morning, and also before I go to bed.
  4. Speaking honestly, many things inspire me. Anytime I see someone overcome adversity, or beat the odds–be it in sport, politics, business, or arts, it inspires me to also try to give my best shot to life. Luckily enough, there are many inspirational people and stories, and one just has to look for them. I love to read such a story. It gives me goosebumps, and I come to work ready to give me 100%. Inspiration is important, I hope to continue to find it in the stories of others, and perhaps one day my own story can be an inspiration for someone else.
  5. Speaking honestly, seeing some results of my work inspires me the most. Because many things are abstract in architecture. You spend weeks drawing something, and than they choose another project, or you didn’t see the realization of your work and imagination for some other reason. But when you actually see it, when you see a beautiful functional house and a happy family inside, and you know you are the one who came with an idea and made it possible, it gives you both satisfaction and inspiration to continue trying, and spending long days and sometimes also nights in front of your computer screen.
  6. I am an artist at heart. Always walking with my eyes open, not lost in thought, I observe the world around me and can find an inspiration in the seemingly everyday stuff. The car is passing around the corner, a pigeon flies in the opposite direction. Sun shines, shades meet, colors change…. Such everyday moments often inspire me in my work. Because, at the end of the day, nature is the greatest artist of all, and the most we can hope for as humans is imitating it, in our own unique way. As long that’s how I see it.
  7. My goals inspire me the most. I know why I want to make a career in the corporate world, what jobs I will have in five and ten years, what things I will buy, what feats I will achieve. And also the realization that good things do not come easy in life. You have to work hard to escape the mediocrity–if that’s your goal of course. And it is my goal. I do not want to be a failure, a mediocre individual, someone who works just to survive. On the contrary, I want to become one of the best in my field, and such goal inspires me to try hard, leave my comfort zone often, and make sacrifices.


When you get this question in an interview, try to relate to the job

As you can see on my list of sample answers, all sorts of things can inspire us–from classical music and everyday wonders of nature, to homeless people on the streets, and goals we want to achieve in life. And you cannot say that some inspiration is better than another–as long as it works for the person in question. But you will likely agree that some choices are better for your interview answer than others.

What I try to convey here is that talking about flying pigeons and shades of a morning sky may work great when you apply for a job of an art teacher, for example, but won’t do you much good when you try to get some entry level corporate job. Think about it for a moment, and try to pick an answer that makes at least some sense in the context of your interview.

Explain how your inspiration drives you forward

Generally speaking, you should avoid extremely short answers in an interview, such as “My goals inspire me”. Because such answers only create additional questions on the side of the hiring managers: What goals are you talking about? And what do they inspire you to do? It is better to come up with a longer answer, making sure they will get your entire point.

Tell them what inspires you, and elaborate on it. Explain how it helps you overcome the challenges you face in your work or studies, how it drives you forward and motivates you to venture out of your comfort zone. Because any inspiration or idea is worthless without action


People can be your best inspiration

At the end of the day, nothing is more inspirational than unbelievable stories of other people. Stories that resonate with us and our personal experiences, stories we can identify with on one level or another. If you prefer to talk about a person rather than an event, thing, or a miracle of nature, check out my 7 sample answers to “Who inspires you?” interview question.

That’s it for now, I hope I inspired you with my words :), and once you know how you will answer this one, check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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