“Are you a risk taker?” – How to answer this in an interview

Questions about whether or not you are a risk taker generally fall in the Behavioral Interview Questions category. These types of inquiries explore how you have behaved in certain situations. They also require more than yes or no answers. Some people find them a challenging part of the interview process. However, if you prepare for them you will be able to give solid and compelling examples of your experiences.

“Are you a risk taker?” can be one of the trickiest  behavioral questions to answer. This is especially true if you are applying for a job in a more conservative industry or company with a subdued culture.

You might also come across this question in various forms such as:

Why Do Employers Ask, “Are you a risk taker?”

Perhaps the employer wants to see if you will “tell” on yourself regarding a time when you did something at work that you shouldn’t have. He or she may be hoping to gain some insight, not only by what you answer, but by observing how confidently (or not) you react to the question.

Whether your answer is of a personal or professional nature will also reveal things about you. By the way, keep it professional. Save your skydiving trip details for after you are hired.

If the position you are applying for requires taking calculated risks and making a lot of decisions, the hiring manager is looking for evidence that you are comfortable with this responsibility.

How to Answer, “Are you a risk taker?”

Like all responses to behavioral questions, it is very important to give specific examples and outcomes. When it comes to talking about risk, it is also imperative that you discuss why you did what you did.

Include the following:

  • Your thought process that went into the decision
  • How you weighed the pros and cons
  • What you learned
  • What you’d do differently now (if anything)

It is perfectly fine to use an example of something that did not turn out well. Just make sure you are able to show what you learned, the steps you took to fix the problem, and what you would (or did) do differently next time.

Problem solving is a soft skill that can only be demonstrated by giving concrete examples. By using an example of problem solving in your example of risk taking, you can easily provide solid information that puts in a very good light. Employers knows that people aren’t perfect and things do go wrong in business. It’s how you fix them that really matters.

If you use a situation where you made a risky decision and it paid off, it is still important to explain the steps you took to arrive at your decision and why.

Do not use examples where your only two choices were: 1) I will get in trouble or 2) Something great will happen.

Instead, frame it more like, “I had two options that were worthwhile and I chose the first option for these reasons…”

This shows that while you made a risky decision, it wasn’t TOO risky and you had reasons for each one.

The Wrap Up

Hopefully you are now better prepared to answer questions about being a risk taker in a way that will demonstrate you are able to discern between taking calculated risks after weighing your options rather than just being a bit on the reckless side.

Do you have any good examples of how to answer this question? We’d love to hear them.

Good Luck! Happy Career Hunting!

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