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What Inspires You? Interview Question in 2023

Recruiters ask different questions during an interview. They do so to assess the candidate’s strengths and personality traits. Among these questions, “What inspires you?” is quite common. This helps them to identify one’s motivational factors. Candidates often get daunted because they are out of answers. So, how you let your employer know what motivates you? 

This article will explain to you why recruiters ask this question. It will discuss the appropriate ways to answer it, followed by some example responses. Keep reading!

Why Interviewers Ask “Who Inspires You?

Do you know why recruiters ask- ‘Who or what inspires you?’ They want to understand what motivates the candidate to apply for a specific role in their organisation. The answer you give them will help the recruiters comprehend your goals. Moreover, they also learn how you perceive some leaders to achieve success. 

Your answer demonstrates to the recruiters your desire to acquire the role. In other words, it explains what value you’re willing to add to the company’s success and culture. Interestingly, interviewers also assess if your values match theirs through this question. 

How to Answer This Question “Who Inspires You?”

“Who inspires you?” You need to put in some hard thought to answer it effectively. It is not challenging, though. Each candidate’s response will be different. The effective way is to talk about individuals who matter most to you. Here are some tips to ensure you provide an appropriate and impressive answer.  

Choose a Personal Connection

Choose someone with whom you have a personal connection. You may not be super close to them or know them personally. As a result, talk about people who inspire your professional career truly.

Avoid selecting individuals you believe the interviewer expects you to mention in your response. For instance, refrain from making a flattery, such as selecting the company’s CEO. Choose them only if they genuinely serve as a source of inspiration for you. So, avoid falling into the trap of clichés.

Discussing someone who holds genuine significance in your life is more effective. Chances are, you have deep-rooted sentiments regarding their achievements. You’ll come across as more authentic when you have a meaningful connection to the person you’re discussing.

Include Examples

Incorporating past experiences can enhance the impact and applicability of your response to the “What inspires youinterview question. Share how your sources of inspiration have propelled you to excel in your professional endeavours. Express how they help to attain your objectives more effectively.

Ultimately, recruiters show interest in understanding how you integrate your inspirations into your work.

Research the Company

Employers inquire about candidates’ sources of inspiration. This is to gain insight into their values and assess whether they match the company’s culture. Consequently, research the company and understand its work culture, vision, and overall goals. 

You can ensure that your sources of inspiration align with the company’s if they genuinely resonate with you. This approach will demonstrate your company’s knowledge and sincere interest in joining their team.

What You Shouldn’t Say in Your Answer

When answering this question, there are a few things you must avoid, such as:

Typical Family Answers

Many candidates express admiration and affection for their parents or close family members. Avoid standard responses related to your family unless you have a compelling or distinctive reason to discuss them.

Interviewers show interest in individuals who have significantly impacted your professional journey. It’s acceptable to bring up family members if their story directly relates to your field or career path. 

However, merely expressing love for a family member or emphasising their support isn’t enough. Without specifying their influence on your professional aspirations, it may not provide the depth of insight interviewers are seeking.

Religious or Political Figureheads

Like most workplaces, interviews have implicit guidelines regarding discussions involving politics, religion, and other contentious subjects. It’s crucial to be mindful of these boundaries.

While hiring managers are unlikely to discriminate against you, subconscious biases can still affect their perception. You wouldn’t want to inadvertently bring up a controversial figure that the interviewer disagrees with. This can cast a shadow over the interview and potentially create biases that are challenging to overcome.

Example-Free Responses

This mistake occurs more often than one might expect! You may have individuals who serve as sources of inspiration. Therefore, it’s essential to explain why they inspire you; otherwise, your response remains incomplete.

This is where thorough preparation becomes invaluable. Reflect on the reasons behind your admiration for these individuals. Consider the specific qualities you aim to incorporate into your professional life. When responding to what inspires you interview question, always include an example to provide a comprehensive answer.

Example Answers to the “Who Is Your Inspiration?” Question

  1. My mother serves as my ultimate source of inspiration. She confronted numerous challenges throughout her life, raising three children as a single mother. She worked hard to provide for us, yet I never saw her complain about her lot in life. What I like most about her is her zest for life and ability to adjust rapidly to new circumstances. I am grateful to be her child, and I cannot express how thankful I am to Mom for everything. Maybe I may repay her kindness by following her example personally and professionally. At least, that’s what I hope for.
  2. People who appreciate stepping outside their comfort zone and are not afraid to venture into the unknown motivates me. It could be legendary climbers and sportspeople or entrepreneurs or scientists who changed how the world works today. I would also like to leave my imprint on the world like them. I feel that working with your company and following its principles would allow me to do so.
  3. Mother Theresa is my greatest role model, the person who influenced me most. I’ve always felt compelled to assist the ill and underprivileged. The world now has more challenges and inequalities than ever before. I feel I can fulfil my objective by working for your non-profit organisation. And I’ll always have a photo of Mother Theresa in my pocket. It reminds me to keep trying, even if the results aren’t excellent or I lack inspiration.


In general, job interviews are a stressful experience. To ease the stress, we have created this guide to assist you in answering the common question, “Who Inspires You?”

Sharanya Rao

Sharanya Rao

Content Marketing Strategist at Talent500. Innately curious about things in general. A strategic planner who loves to make lives easier. An optimist holding on dearly to a glass half-full.

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