Who Inspires You? with Sample Interview Answers

Whether we admit it or not, we all have certain role models. People we admire, individuals who inspire us, people we want to emulate in our lives. Our parents, friends, famous singers and artists, scientists, campaigners, and businesspeople can all make a dent in the cosmos. People who have left their imprint on the planet.

However, who truly inspires us and whom we should mention when interviewing for a job is not usually the same person. However, it is more about our logic and explanation than it is about a certain name we mention in the interview. Let’s have a look at seven sample responses to this intriguing interview topic, which will work well for any of the following variations:

  • Name one individual who has inspired you and explain why.
  • Who is your life’s inspiration?

7 examples of responses to the interview question “Who inspires you?”

  1. My mother is my greatest source of motivation. She had to raise three children as a single mother and endured a lot of difficulties in her life. She worked very hard to provide for us, yet I never saw her grumble about her lot in life. What I like most about her is her zest for life and her ability to adjust rapidly to new circumstances. I am really grateful to be her child, and I cannot express how grateful I am to her for everything. Maybe I may repay her kindness by following her example in both my personal and professional life. At least, that’s what I hope for.
  2. I am motivated by folks that appreciate stepping outside of their comfort zone and are not afraid to venture into the unknown. Be it legendary climbers and sportsmen I read about in literature, or entrepreneurs or scientists who changed the way the world works today. I would also like to leave my imprint on the world, and I feel that working with your company, and developing innovative methods of providing sustainable green energy to households, will allow me to do so.
  3. Mother Theresa is my greatest role model, the person who has most inspired me. I’ve always felt compelled to assist the sick and poor. The world today has more challenges and inequality than ever before. I believe I can follow my calling by working for your non-profit organization and attempting to help homeless individuals and persons on the outskirts of society get back on track. And I’ll always have a small picture of Mother Theresa in my breast pocket to remind me to keep trying, even if the results aren’t excellent or I’m lacking in inspiration.
  4. I am inspired by everyone who strives to live in harmony with themselves, others, and the environment. The majority of individuals spend their time racing around, chasing an illusion of happiness. That is not the road I wish to take. I’m not interested in small corporate skirmishes and everyday conflicts with my coworkers, or in making an impression on those around me. That is not my journey. I prefer cooperation over rivalry, I want to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and I want to make a difference in the lives of those around me. And I am fortunate to have a few people around me who are on the same journey as me, and they are my daily inspiration.
  5. To be honest, rather than seeking out role models, I strive to become one. I’d like to be an influence on everyone around me, especially those at work. How do I want to go about it? I want to give my all every day at work, be attentive to the needs of my coworkers, enjoy my time at work, and add some positive energy to the office. And I’m continuously honing my talents and expanding my knowledge by learning new subjects and languages. I am confident that seeing such an example will inspire my subordinates.
  6. People who have overcome extreme circumstances most inspire me. Those who crossed Siberia to escape from work camps for war captives, sailors who survived without food for a month or more after being stranded on the ocean, or people who pursued creative ideas that others despised and were often imprisoned or even killed as a result of their views. Fortunately, I do not find myself in their position, but I still have personal struggles and demons to overcome. People who conquered much greater challenges are my inspiration, and they push me to keep fighting in my modest daily struggles.
  7. To be honest, you inspire me. You’re such a young lady, and you already work as an HR director in a large corporation. I’d like to hear more about your journey—where you studied, what results in you achieved in previous employment, and how you were able to advance so swiftly in your professional career. Perhaps if we become colleagues, I will be able to learn more about your way. But hats off to you, and you are unquestionably an inspiration to me.

Try to relate your response to your new employment.

When you establish the characteristics of someone who inspires you, you might strive to connect these characteristics to your new career. As an excellent example of this strategy, consider sample answers 2 and 3. Job applicant talks about Mother Theresa (a famous person, each hiring manager will be familiar with what she did in her life) and quickly connects it to their job tasks of assisting homeless people.

We often look up to a person’s traits or achievements—that is their identity in our perspective. If possible, choose someone who would perform an excellent job in your new position, or at the very least someone who possesses the necessary skills and personality attributes. You want to replicate their attributes, so you will accomplish an excellent job.

When applying for leadership positions, you can aim to be an example to others.

You can use the strategy from sample answer no. 5 when applying for a managerial or executive position, or any other leadership role in a business. Rather than looking for role models, you want to be one for your coworkers.

If you choose this option, you should clearly state what you wish to do to inspire others. In an ideal world, you should discuss work-related issues such as how you want to approach your job, how you want to interact with your coworkers, and so on. You may be confident without seeming arrogant. Present your thoughts as well as your sincere desire to be a role model for your subordinates.

Saying that your interviewer inspires you is a hazardous strategy, but it might work wonders in some instances.

Let us face the facts of today’s economy. People seek recognition, but they do not always receive it. Some people work long hours and do whatever they can for their organization merely to impress their bosses and hear some words of praise from them. However, their superiors either don’t comprehend it or are too consumed with their own ego to applaud anyone else in the firm.

Such a guy can easily lead the interview with you. A manager who aspires for acknowledgment for their work and accomplishments but does not receive any. If you praise such a person at an interview, calling them your role model or inspiration, it might have a big impact on them and how they perceive you.

You may quickly become their favorite job applicant, and they may feel obligated to repay the favor in some way—perhaps by allowing you to advance to the next round of interviews. Even the most skilled recruiters and managers are, at the end of the day, people. They have feelings, desires, and dreams. You may be able to win them over if you manage to touch something deep within them.

However, answering their query in this manner carries significant hazards, and you should consider it twice before doing so…

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at athinailiadis.com

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