Career Development

Common Risk Management Interview Questions and Tips for Success

Thursday, March 10, 2022

By Liz Alton

Anticipating risk management interview questions and knowing what hiring managers are looking for in candidates are key aspects of the job search, whether you're going after a promotion or trying to move into a new field. As Careers in Risk notes, risk management professionals must demonstrate a range of skills from communications to out-of-the-box thinking. Let's take a closer look at common risk management interview questions and how candidates can position themselves for career success.

5 Common Risk Management Questions

As you're preparing for your job interview, think about your answers to these inquiries:

1. Discuss your experience in presenting risk assessments and reports.

Understanding how to communicate effectively with different audiences is essential in risk management. During an interview, prospective employers will strive to understand your experience in developing risk assessments, writing reports, giving presentations, and navigating uncomfortable conversations. Be prepared to speak about your writing skills, presentation experience, and general approach to difficult communications. If possible, consider preparing a portfolio of example risk assessments and communications that relate to the job you're applying for.

2. Outline how you maintain attention to detail and how it's helped you solve a problem.

Risk management is a field that relies heavily on attention to detail, and focusing on the right details can be the difference between solving a problem and missing it entirely. Hiring managers want to understand how you think, so it's helpful to highlight what systems you put in place to make sure you're noticing and tracking the right details. Be ready to discuss specific examples of situations where your attention to detail resulted in a positive outcome or impact on a risk-related project.

3. Analyze a risk process that you've worked with before. What would you change or improve?

These types of questions give managers the ability to see your technical understanding of a specific risk process. Your response can also demonstrate your analytical approach and how you identify potential improvements in processes you work with over time. This can provide a chance to show out-of-the-box thinking and highlight your ability to identify risks and develop creative solutions for them.

4. What's the role of risk management in an organization? How do you advocate for it?

As a risk management professional, you're constantly acting as both a representative for the department and an educator and advocate for colleagues. Think about how the company you're interviewing with views risk management. Is it a partnership with other departments, or more of an audit-based check on compliance? Articulate your point of view and take time to outline how you work with other departments. For example, do you have experience in training colleagues or working on project committees to bring a risk management perspective to new initiatives?

5. How do you stay updated on the latest developments in risk management?

Risk management is a career that demands continual learning. According to the GARP Risk Careers Survey 2021 report, 95% of risk management professionals consider themselves lifelong learners. What steps do you take to keep up with developments in the field? Have you pursued advanced education or certifications, such as becoming a Financial Risk Manager (FRM®)? Being a member of a professional association, attending conferences, and following publications are all viable strategies for getting a pulse on emerging trends — and for showing prospective employers you would be an asset.

Soft Skills Questions

Risk management professionals often must operate under pressure, convince stakeholders to change behaviors they may be reluctant to shift, and prevent potentially high-stakes situations from escalating. In addition to risk-specific questions, hiring managers might make soft skills inquiries, such as:

  • Share an example of how you worked with a difficult personality.
  • What's the most challenging risk management conversation you've had? How did you navigate it?
  • Discuss a time when you had to prevent a risk challenge from escalating.
  • How do you operate under pressure? Describe your most stressful project and how you managed it.
  • Have risk recommendations ever brought you into conflict with a stakeholder or department's goals? How did you navigate that conversation to a successful resolution with everyone's goals in mind?

When you're answering soft skills questions, there are three key considerations to keep in mind. The first is showing self-awareness. How have your responses and approaches influenced challenging conversations or handled difficult personalities? The second consideration is focusing on tangible examples. Be sure to refer to specific projects you've worked on and describe how your soft skills positively impacted them. The third and perhaps most important consideration is showcasing how your soft skills relate back to risk management — whether you're streamlining how you communicate complex concepts or reducing risk by getting buy-in from difficult colleagues.

Tips for Success

More than half of all respondents to the GARP survey expected their organizations' risk management departments to increase their staffing during 2022 (??). When you're preparing for a risk management interview, you can increase your prospects for success by focusing on senior hiring managers' top priorities:

  • An interest in the industry: Risk management is constantly evolving — are you staying updated on new trends, learning constantly, and considering the future of risk management? Show your interest in the field by sharing your thoughts on where it's going and describing your plans to further your education in risk management.
  • Strong technical skills and applied experience: No matter the level of the role for which you are applying, strong technical risk management skills and applied experience will help foster confidence that you can do the job. According to the GARP survey, the most in-demand technical skills include credit risk (cited by 26% of hiring managers), market risk (cited by 21%), and operational risk (cited by 20%).
  • Soft skills: Survey respondents noted that finding great candidates with strong interpersonal skills is difficult. As a candidate, being able to manage difficult personalities and gracefully navigate hard conversations through solid communication is important. Your soft skills can ultimately determine your success or failure in the risk management field.

Landing the interview is just the first step in finding the ideal career in risk management. Developing a strategy that helps you stand out, showcases your skills, and speaks to hiring managers' most urgent concerns can help you score an offer.

Learn more about the latest career trends in risk management by downloading the GARP Risk Careers Survey report.

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