Who has inspired you in your life and why?

You may alternately be asked, “Who is your inspiration?” or “Who is your role model?”

This is a very personal question that is aimed to see who you are inspired by and what actions or qualities are you motivated by. The interviewer what to know who you are as a person, as well as what skills or qualities do you value in others, and why.

You can always go the same route and talk about your parents or family members that inspire you, but to be honest, those type of answers fail to impress the interviewers. There is nothing wrong with those type of questions, but they are too common and don’t show any imagination.

Hence, it is better to talk about someone who has genuinely inspired you. If that is your parents, then its fine, but ideally, you should talk about someone in the same field as you. For example, if you are into computer engineering, then maybe talk about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates‎, or Elon Musk. Alternately, if you are into digital marketing, then perhaps mention Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey.

Even better than these is to talk about people in the industry that are not famous or that well known outside of the industry, such as Dennis Ritchie, who founded Unix, or Reid Hoffman, founder of Linkedin. Using these names will really impress your interviewer, as it shows that you are really knowledgeable about your industry, as not everyone will know these names.

However, don’t forget the why part. You should be able to show that you are not just name-dropping, and that you actually know about and are inspired by these people. Hence, it would be advisable to do some research beforehand. Highlight some skill of theirs you really like and admire, preferably one that would also help you in this job, e.g. dedication, perseverance, etc. It would be ever better if you support their skill with an example of a situation that really resonated with you. This would really cement your answer.

When trying to decide who to pick, keep in mind that the person’s qualities speak less about them, and more about you. So, pick accordingly but remember to also be honest to yourself.

An Example of how to Answer:

I have really been inspired by Joan Smith. She came from a poor household, and lived through a traumatic and abusive childhood. However, it was through her pure dedication that she finished her schooling and even went on to complete college, paid through scholarships and various jobs she undertook. Today she runs a center that aims to help women and children who are in a similar situation that she once was. She provides them with a safe space and even helps them escape their abusers.

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