Doesn’t matter if we admit it or not, each of us has some role models. People we look up to, people who inspire us, people we’d like to emulate with our life journey. It can be our parents, friends, famous singers and artists, or scientists, activists, or entrepreneurs who put the dent to the universe. People who left their mark on this Earth.

Who really inspires us, however, and who we should refer to while interviewing for a job, in not necessarily always the same person. But it’s more about our reasoning and explanation than about a particular name we mention in the interview. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting interview question, which will work well for any of the following variations of the question:

  • Mention one person who has inspired you and why.
  • Who is your inspiration on life?


7 sample answers to “Who inspires you” interview question

  1. My mother is my greatest inspiration. She faced a lot of adversity in her life, and had to raise three children as a single mother. She worked extremely hard to provide for us, but I rarely saw her complain about her fate. What I really admire is her enthusiasm for life, and an ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions. I am extremely grateful for being her child, and I cannot thank her enough for everything. Maybe, by following her example in both my personal and professional life, I can pay back what she did for me. At least that’s what I aspire to.
  2. I am inspired by people who enjoy leaving their comfort zone, and do not mind venturing into the unknown. Be it the famous climbers and athletes I read about in books, or entrepreneurs or scientists who revolutionized the way is which the world functions today. I would also love to leave my mark in this world, and believe that working for your organization, trying to manufacture new ways of distributing renewable green energy to households, I can have such an impact.
  3. Mother Theresa is my great role model, the one person who has inspired me the most. I always felt the calling to help the sick and poor. Today we have more problems and inequality in the world than ever. Working for your non-profit organization, trying to help homeless people and people on the fringe of society to get back on track, I believe I can follow my calling. And I will always carry a small picture of Mother Theresa in my breast pocket, to motivate me to continue trying, even if the results aren’t good, or if I struggle with motivation.

* Do not forget to check also: Answers to 15 most common interview questions.

  1. Every person who tries to live in harmony with themselves, other people, and the environment, inspires me. Most people spend their time rushing somewhere, pursuing an illusion of happiness. That’s not the path I’d like to follow. I’m not in for petty corporate wars and daily conflicts with my colleagues, or for trying to make an impression on people around me. No, that’s not my journey. I prefer cooperation to competition, I want to follow healthy and balanced lifestyle, and bring some value to the lives of people around me. And I am lucky enough to have around me few people who are on the same journey, and they are my daily inspiration.
  2. To be honest, instead of looking for role models, I try to become one. I would love to be an inspiration for people around me, for people in work. How do I want to do it? I want to try my best in job each day, be attentive to the needs of my colleagues, enjoy my time in work, bring some positive energy to the office. And I constantly work on my skills and knowledge, learning new things and languages. I am sure that if my subordinates see such an example, it will be inspiring for them.
  3. I am mostly inspired by people who overcame extreme adversity. People who crossed Siberia while escaping from labor camps for war prisoners, sailors who managed to survive without food for a month or more when shipwrecked on the ocean, or people who pursued innovative ideas that others condemned, and often suffered imprisonment or even dead as a result of their beliefs. Luckily I do not find myself in their shoes, but I still have my personal battles and personal demons I try to conquer. People who overcame much harder obstacles are my inspiration, and they motivate me to continue trying to win in my small daily battles.
  4. Speaking honestly, you inspire me. You are such a young woman, and you already work as an HR director in a big company. I’d love to learn more about your journey–where you studied, what results you achieved in your former jobs, how you managed to progress so quickly in your professional career. Maybe if we become colleagues I will get a chance to learn more about your way. But hats down really and you are definitely an inspiration for me.


Try to connect your answer with your new job

When you define qualities of a person who inspires you, you can try to connect these qualities with your new job. Look at sample answer no. 2, or at sample answer no. 3, as a great example of this technique. Job applicant talks about Mother Theresa (a famous person, each hiring manager will know what she did in her life), and immediately bridges it with their duties in the job–helping homeless people.

We typically look up to certain qualities, or achievements of a person–that’s their identity in our eyes. If you can, try to pick someone who would do a great job in your new employment, or at least someone who has the right strengths and personal traits for the type of work. You want to emulate their qualities, and hence you will also do such a great job.

* Special Tip: Who inspires you?” isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other situations that may happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!

Applying for leadership roles, you can try to be an inspiration for others

When you apply for a managerial or executive position, or for any other leadership role in an organization, you can try the approach from sample answer no. 5. Instead of looking for role models, you want to become one for your colleagues.

If you opt for this answer, however, you should clearly define what you want to do to inspire other people. In an ideal case you should talk about work related things–how you want to approach your job, what attitude you want to have to your colleagues, and similar. You can be confident, but you should not sound cocky. Present them your ideas, and a humble desire to be the role model for your subordinates.

* May also interest you: How to dress for an interview? 5 things to consider when choosing clothes to wear.

Saying that your interviewer inspires you is a risky approach, but it can do wonders in some cases

Let’s face the reality of today’s economy. People strive for recognition, but often they do not get it. Some people work hard and overtime and do whatever they can for their company, just to impress their superiors, to hear some words of praise from their mouth. But their superiors don’t understand it, or are too consumed in their own ego to praise anyone else in the company.

Such a person can easily lead the interview with you. Manager who strives for recognition of their efforts and achievement, but does not get any. If you praise such a person in an interview, if you call them your role model, your inspiration, it can have a huge impact on them, and on the way in which they perceive you.

You may immediately become their favorite job applicant, and they may even feel obliged to pay you back the favor somehow–perhaps letting you progress to the next rounds of interviews. At the end of the day, even the most skilled recruiters and managers are human beings. They have their emotions, desires and dreams. If you manage to touch something profound in them, you may win them over.

Having said that, answering their question in this way definitely possesses some risks, and you should think twice whether to opt for it or not…

Ready to answer this one? Great! Now you should check our Interview Success Package 2.0 for up to 10 premium answers to all 104 interview questions. Learn something your competitors won’t know, and outclass them in your next interview!
Alternatively you can have a look at sample answers to the following questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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