As a recent grad or someone who’s entering the workforce, this is one of those tough interview questions that you’re going to be asked on your interviews. They might ask you to describe a teacher that you’ve connected with and what was it about them that caused the connection.
Now, it may not be that language but it’s words to that effect. They’re asking you about a teacher that inspired you, motivated you, pushed you, and what they’re looking for isn’t the name of that teacher (although it’s a cool thing to say their name). What they’re looking for is that you can be motivated because they’re thinking about a mentor.
“You know there was (so and so) who was a professor of mine that I had at (fill in the blank name of the school). What she did was inspire us to be better than we were and, through that inspiration, created a lot of the excitement in me in this subject and this career.” That’s one possible example.
Another one might be, “I remember this teacher I had (fill in the blank name). What he did was push us hard, drive us to excel, challenge us all the time.”, From that, they can look at selecting a mentor for you. \
Part of the reason they ask this is to see if you have the emotional intelligence to be part of the team. I understand that once you’re on board, they have no interest in emotional intelligence but play the game, okay? This is ostensibly what they’re trying to find out about you, what the motivation is for you, how to motivate you, who to connect you with, and whether you can be reflective. The subtlety here is it’s a distraction because, often, the next question is going be one of those tough difficult grinding kind of questions that that will blow your mind.
So, recognize it’s a deflection. You still have to answer it sincerely and then, from there, be prepared for some tough follow-up questions that have nothing to do with this.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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