Job Interview Question & Answer: Who Is Your Hero? Why?

Dealing with the Hero/Influence/Role Model Question

Interviewers sometimes ask candidates to name someone who constitutes a personal hero, role model, or significant influence. The question commonly appears phrased in two parts: “Who is Your Hero? Why?” Applicants must choose one person to focus on and explain in detail why said individual stands as an inspiration. The question helps interviewers determine if job seekers fit with corporate culture. Selecting the right person as an answer shows the employer commitment to ideas in line with company needs. Several choices, both good and bad, persist as common selections given by interviewees.

Responses to Avoid
One of the most common mistakes applicants make when answering questions about personal heroes remains choosing a controversial figure. Political and religious leaders may seem like positive choices; however, everyone possesses different biases and opinions and may not share candidate assessments of said individuals. Similarly, modern-day celebrities and historical personas also constitute poor replies. Even if the figure carries seemingly desirable connotations, applicants cannot predict how interviewers may feel about various persons. In general, responders should exercise extreme care when choosing public figures as answers to the question and should largely avoid potentially divisive individuals as answers. Naming an individual the interviewer dislikes or does not respect often hurts chances of hire.

Ideal Choices
To prevent the possibility of interviewer bias, candidates should select a hero unlikely to prove known on a large scale. A friend or family member constitutes a safe reply, in most cases. Community members and teachers may also persist as positive responses. With any reply, applicants must explain how the person inspires by example in a way relevant to the job at hand. Describing traits such as honesty, integrity, and leadership, as well as listing accomplishments the person achieved, may effectively illustrate the influence of said individuals on candidates and may show the interviewer aspirations to achieve similar success with the company if hired.

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