Interview Tips

How to Answer: Who is Your Biggest Role Model?

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By: Juliana Norton
Aug 5, 2020 • 6 min read
Image Credits: Photo by Jealous Weekends on Unsplash

How to Answer: Who is Your Biggest Role Model?

Interviewing for a position you really want can be stressful. Typically, this stress stems from being asked a question you don’t have the answer to. Or, thinking that you’ve chosen the wrong answer. The best way to avoid this and be the calm candidate you desire to be is to prepare. Luckily, you’re in the best spot!

who is your role model

Be Genuine

When someone asks, “who is your role model?, it’s reasonable to pause and think. It’s normal to feel panic if you pause after a question, but when done with grace, it looks like you’re putting in careful consideration of your answer. This is actually a good thing! Who is your biggest role model is a difficult question to answer because of how many different possibilities there are. Most importantly, be honest! In an interview, you want to come across as genuine. The best way to do so is to actually choose a role model of yours. Even if you don’t have one picked out beforehand, taking a moment and choosing the first person that comes to mind can be a great way, to be honest, and genuine.

who is your role model

Focus On Their Qualities

Since we were children, we were always asked who or what we wanted to be when we grew up. Believe it or not, now as adults in the workforce, we’re still being asked the same thing! An interviewer asking about your biggest role model is another way of saying, what qualities are important to you/what qualities do you aspire to have? Most people want to be like their most significant role model, so choose someone with admirable characteristics. Try to at least list two or three attributes of the individual you chose that defines them the most.

Example: My biggest role model is Michelle Obama. She’s always working on a new project that emphasizes her generosity and strong work ethic. In addition to this, I appreciate how Mrs. Obama is so confident in herself and her decision making.

Example: My biggest role model is a high school teacher of mine, Mr. Rochner. He exuded confidence in the classroom and was always a great listener. Even on long days, he was energetic and lifted up everyone’s spirits.

How Do You Relate To Them?

Our role model is someone who we see a part of ourselves in. What do you two have in common? Are there certain beliefs or values of theirs you stand with? This is essential to make your answer genuine because this is personal to you. If you choose someone famous, many people can list qualities about that person. Though, only you can explain why those characteristics are important to you.

Example: Many of Michelle Obama’s projects give back to her community. This is something that I admire because I believe helping those around you is of utmost importance.

Example: Every period I spent with Mr. Rochner, I could count on him to stay on task and be very attentive to students. I appreciated this because I take pride in starting things with a good attitude and putting my best foot forward.

who is your role model

What Did You Learn From Them?

Treat everything as an educational experience. This shows your employer that you want to learn and grow. By hiring you, they’re making an investment in your character and work ethic. Your answer can hint that you’re able to take things out of events in your life and capitalize on the skills you acquire.

Example: By leading with such a strong will and concern for those around her, Michelle Obama taught me how to believe in myself.

Example: Science wasn’t my favorite subject, but Mr. Rochner made my learning experience enjoyable. I admire this because it helped me realize that you should make an effort to acquire new skills from every experience, even unfavorable ones.

 How Have You Used What You Learned?

Use what you stated to talk about a time when you took advantage of the lessons you learned. Following up on your statements shows reliability and accountability. You’re not just saying a basic answer because you’ve actually applied it to your life in some way. It’s never a bad thing to tell a future employer some of your successes and what made you get there.

Example: Because of this faith in myself, I pursued math as my major in college. I’ve heard from peers the program can be challenging, but I know I can do it.

Example: I’ve had a lot of experience in customer service working at a local gym. Not everyone comes in with a smile, but because of that, I’ve been able to learn how to interact with all different types of people and handle any situation thrown at me.

who is your role model

Let’s Put It All Together!

Whether you chose someone well-known or in your local community, as long as you explain why you look up to them, you’ll do great! Your employer doesn’t necessarily care to hear about Michelle Obama or your high school teacher, but rather, why they’re important to you. By answering this question, you’re explaining what you value in a person. Follow our advice, and feel free to add in what you think is necessary. You can do this!

Example 1:

My biggest role model is Michelle Obama. She’s always working on a new project that emphasizes her generosity and strong work ethic. In addition to this, I appreciate how Mrs. Obama is so confident in herself and her decision making. Many of those projects give back to her community. This is something that I admire because I believe helping others around you is of utmost importance. By leading with such a strong will and concern for those around her, Michelle Obama taught me how to believe in myself. Because of this faith, I pursued math as my major in college. I’ve heard from peers and administration that the program can be challenging, but I know I can do it.

Example 2:

My biggest role model is a high school teacher of mine, Mr. Rochner. He exuded confidence in the classroom and was always a great listener. Even on long days, he was energetic and lifted up everyone’s spirits. Every period I spent with Mr. Rochner, I could count on him to stay on task and be very attentive to students. I appreciated this because I take pride in starting things with a good attitude and putting my best foot forward. Science wasn’t my favorite subject, but Mr. Rochner made my learning experience enjoyable. I admire this because it helped me realize that you should make an effort to acquire new skills from every experience, even unfavorable ones. I’ve had a lot of experience in customer service working at a local gym. Not everyone comes in with a smile, but because of that, I’ve been able to learn how to interact with all different types of people and handle any situation thrown at me.

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