A fairly common job interview question is, “Who is your hero, and why?”
The intent of this question is to find out more about you — your character, personality, and values. If you anticipate this question and prepare your answer in a way that shows the traits you most admire in others — and more importantly, that you have in common with them — you’ll turn this question into another great opportunity to blast your competition out of the water!
But there’s a right way, AND a wrong way to answer this question.
Here’s the best way to develop your answer.
First, decide which personal traits would be best to highlight for the position. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a firefighter or police officer, you’d want to highlight traits such as courage and integrity.
Here are some other traits that employers are looking for: leadership, honesty, creativity, dedication, generosity.
Next, craft your answer to include the traits you want to highlight.
Be careful about naming a celebrity, sports star or politician! Why? Because interviewers are people, and people have attitudes and biases that you’ll be unaware of.
Suppose you named Lance Armstrong as your hero because of his total commitment to success and amazing ability to overcome challenges and obstacles. Most people would have no problem with that. But what if the person interviewing you is a woman who thinks Lance is a total jerk for putting his career ahead of his family and leaving his wife for a rock star? It might not be fair, but this interviewer may think you are a jerk for admiring Lance! Do you think she’s going to hire a jerk?
People have opinions about people they think they know. You won’t know what those opinions are. So the safest bet is to name a hero they can’t possibly know or object to.
“My hero is my father. He taught me to always do the right thing; to value others and help them whenever I can; to plan ahead, work hard and do my best in any situation; to be a lifelong learner; to smile and keep a sense of humor even when things get tough; and to love, support and protect my family.”
Remember, all interview questions can provide an opportunity to highlight not only your qualifications, but also your character and values. Plan ahead, give great answers, and win your dream job!