Who are your biggest inspirations?

First of all, this is an incredibly open-ended interview question.

And while there are no wrong responses… some answers are better than others.

You could answer that your mother or father is your greatest inspiration. And that would be an okay answer.

But I recommend you look beyond a personal or family connection when answering, and consider the specific job you’re interviewing for.

Because the next question you’ll be asked, assuming you don’t expand on it in the first place, is “why?”

What did your mother, father, college teacher, or other personal connection do that was so inspiring? Was it their work ethic? Leadership skills?

Again, any of those answers are correct, but your answer will stand out and resonate more with the interviewer if you go into detail and ideally, tailor your answer to the traits required in the position you’re discussing.

Here’s a good example of how to answer this interview question by matching your inspiration to the job.
Imagine you’re looking for a career with a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide aid to the homeless, the sick, and the poor.

Claiming Mother Teresa as your greatest inspiration would be a sensible answer to the question.

She devoted most of her life to charitable work, helping the homeless, sick, and poor.

Or, if you were interviewing for a leadership position, you could use someone past or present who showed exemplary leadership as your inspiration.

Just be sure to pick someone you really admire because there’s a good chance your body language will give you away if you’re lying.

And yes, don’t be surprised if the recruiter or manager has some skill at reading body language.

The point is, your answer not only provides some insight into the person you aspire to be, but also highlights the type of behavioral patterns and attitudes you admire and respect.

And that will translate into the type of person you would be on the job.