Welch says too many job-seekers answer this question with the best of intentions but no strategy, responding with something generic like "my mom" or "my dad."
"That answer is endearing, and I get it," she says. "Parents make enormous sacrifices for us and often are our best teachers in life. But as an interviewer, I want to hear about your career values and aspirations. I want to hear about your professional heroes."
In the early days of her journalism career, Welch says she would always ace this question by talking about a Miami-Herald crime reporter she admired name Edna Buchanan. "Everyone in the business knew of Edna and her decades of investigative brilliance," she says. "She was fierce, relentless and respected — she was everything I hoped to be."
"Find your Edna Buchanan," Welch advises job-seekers. Choose someone whose reputation will indicate that you're serious about becoming one of your industry's high achievers as well.
"Talk about a visionary in your field, or a former boss who taught you how to build great teams," she says. "Prove that you have role models who are relevant to the job you want to land. And then, if you want, go ahead and mention your parents, too — and don't forget to tell them that you did."
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo
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