Some interview questions have an obviously good and obviously bad answer, regardless of the job you are trying to get. This one does not belong to the group. Your attitude to risk, and whether you like to take it, can be both an advantage and disadvantage, depending on the role you are applying for, and the situation in the interviews. I will show you some great sample answers to the question, but before you look at them, think for a minute about the job, and what role does taking risks play in it.
Let me help you with some basic distinctions. If you apply for any entry level position in a big corp, or for any typical manual job–think restaurant work, assembly line, farm job, cashier, and so on, you should show more conservative attitude towards taking risk. If the job entails money handling or working with some dangerous substances (such as chemicals, for example), you can even show strong aversion to taking any risks, at least while on the job.
On the contrary, if you apply for a managerial or engineering role, simply a job in which you’ll have to make decisions, and sometimes on the spot, with certain variables unknown, you should present yourself as a risk taker, with certain limits. The same goes without saying when we talk about dangerous jobs, such as fishing on a rough see or working on an oil rig–jobs in which risk is even present, and a good salary is often a compensation for the danger the job entails. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers now, including some unconventional answers. Hopefully at least one of them will resonate with the message you try to convey in your interviews.
7 sample answers to “Are you a risk taker?” interview question
- I am definitely not a risk taker. In my opinion, it is better to platy it safe, especially when one handles money and works with customers. I always try to follow the working manual, and do exactly what the managers expect me to do at work. At the end of the day, it is their responsibility to create systems and processes that deliver the expected results. And while I definitely do not hesitate to suggest some improvements–if I see any areas for an improvement, managers decide how we should work, and I prefer to stick to their instructions instead of taking any risks.
- It depends on whether we talk about personal life or work. In my personal life, I like to take risks. For example a risk of being rejected, a risk of feeling ridiculous, a risk of making mistakes. Because it is worth it. But in work, in this field in particular, when we handle dangerous substances and any mistreatment can cause harm to other people and environment, I have strong aversion to risk. I always follow the protocol to 100%, even if it sometimes means a delay in delivery, or other inconvenience to the customer. Safety should be our first priority.
- In my opinion, there is no progress in engineering without taking risks. Of course, we have progressed a lot in last twenty years, and the materials and processes we use now meet high standards. At the same time, however, your competitors do not sleep, they invest a lot of money in their R&D, and unless you take some risks and try new things, you will quickly fall behind, and find yourself with the second-best product. And that’s certainly not what you want to happen to the business. We have to experiment and take risks if we want to stay ahead…
- Life is a journey of risk. Just look at the world in which we live–risk is ever present. Risk of catching the virus, risk of getting wiped-out in the next environmental catastrophe caused by global warming, risk of losing a job in unstable economy–which happened to me few months ago. Hence I definitely do not have aversion to risk, because, in my opinion, someone with a strong aversion to risk can hardy do anything in the world as we know today. I am ready to take risks in my new job as well, because that’s our only option in today’s economy.
- I like to take risks, but only if it can benefit myself, or the company I am working for. Let me explain. It makes sense to go on with an early product launch, even if it has some bugs, as long as we know that a competitor tries to release a similar product, and want to be first on the market. Sure enough, the situation can backfire, but we can also gain a lot with being the first company to release the product. On the contrary, driving after I drank a beer, or playing slot machines, is a risk I would never take. In a long run you cannot really win anything for you, your family, or your employer with this type of a risk. At least that’s my attitude.
- In my long managerial career I’ve learned that we should always take a calculated risk. Considering all options we have, the pros and cons, and the possible impact it will have on the business and both short term and long terms goals we follow, we should do the best thing for the company. Of course, we do not always have a luxury of time, and we may face ambiguity. We cannot always calculate everything properly. In such cases we should probably take the risk, and do the best thing based on the information we have at our disposal, however limited. We live in a fast-paced era and waiting often equals losing. I understand it very well, and I am definitely ready to take some risks as a manager.
- I am a risk taker, but I am not a gambler. Of course you can play it safe, you can conform, and be happy with what you have. And I have nothing against people who follow such a route in their life. But my way is different. I like to venture outside of my comfort zone, try new things, face the unknown. It has paid off at times and hasn’t at others. But it is a part of a journey I enjoy being on, and I can assure you that I won’t struggle to leave my comfort zone in this sales job I try to get with your company.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only tricky question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Taking risks makes more sense in some jobs and less sense in others. Even though, there isn’t really anything like a bad answer to this interview question, unless you answer it with silence. What matters the most is your explanation. Do you love to take risks? Fair enough, as long as you explain how it benefits you and your employer.
Are you risk-averse? Fair enough, as long as you explain why it makes sense for you, and for your prospective employer. Of course they may agree or not, and an interesting discussion may follow. That’s only a plus for your chances of getting the job at the end of the hiring process. The key is to avoid short answers, such as “I am a risk taker”, or “I hate taking risks”. Show your open mind and readiness for a discussion, and win the favor of your interviewers…
Ready to answer this question? Great! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- What would you do differently in your last job?
- Tell me about the biggest risk you have taken.
- Tell me about a time when you took a calculated risk.