A quick google search tells me that the average salary for a Risk Manager in the UK is somewhere between £55,000 and £65,000. This jumps up massively for our friends from the US who can expect to pick up somewhere around $120,000 on average in the Risk Manager position.
Risk management skills are highly sought after, hence the relatively high salaries paid.
These high salaries though mean that there is lots of competition for each role. If you have the skills, experience and qualification you should be able to garner some interest from organisations looking to hire Risk Managers.
But just having the skills, the experience and the requisite qualifications isn’t all that’s necessary to actually land the job. You also need to be able to correctly communicate these to the hiring manager.
That is why in this article we are going to be looking at how you can nail the Risk Manager interview and get that highly sought after role. Firstly we will be looking at some tips for the interview itself, then we will look at the best approach to take when answering Risk Manager questions (and also what not to do!). Then finally we will look at some of the most common interview questions you can expect to get.
Ready? let’s get cracking…
Risk Manager Interview Tips
Lean heavily on your experience. This applies even if you have never held a Risk Manager position before. A Risk Manager is responsible for numerous things but primarily the management of the day-to-day risk and overseeing the organisation’s risk policies. You don’t need to have held a Risk Manager title previously to have participated in similar activities. When answering questions lean heavily into these.
Know your audience. You should always research the organisation you are interviewing for. But what people don’t think to do is also research the interviewer and the hiring manager (if these are different persons). You want to impress the person making the hiring decision so you should research them specifically trying to understand what makes them tick and what they are looking for in a new employee.
How Best To Answer Risk Manager Interview Questions
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? – As a Risk Manager you should have your own set of philosophies and risk-appetite approaches that you tailor to each situation.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. – Try not to spend too much time describing the situation. The bulk of your answer needs to be about you and what you did so keep the situation simple to understand and even simpler to describe.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time it is best that you are taking an active rather than passive role in the encounter – You are going for a Risk Manager role (presumably if you are reading this) so the situation you describe should have you involved with the management of risk within an organisation.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. – This should take up the bulk of your time answering the question.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible (e.g. 99% of issues were resolved in first instance, Project failures reduced 50% etc.).
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should Not Do When Answering Risk Manager Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not over hype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action.
Risk Manager Interview Question & Answers
What are your weaknesses?
“I have never worked with <insert tool or software> before and I see that it plays an integral role in your organisation. I have worked with <insert other tool> before and from what I hear it lacks a number of features present in <tool>. I look forward to the opportunity to use this new tool as I hear great things about it, I have also found a crash course online that I would look to take to get up to speed as quickly as possible…should I be offered the job”
How Do You Assess And Monitor Risk Within A Project?
“Managing risk is one of the most important tasks that is undertaken by a Project Manager (with assistance from a good Risk Manager). It is crucial to success that risks are appropriately identified, assessed and monitored throughout the project lifecycle.
In order to achieve this one of the first project artefacts that I advise PMs to create when forming a new project is the RAID log. Within this log they should record all potential risks to the project (as identified by the project team and stakeholders).
Within the log, risks are assessed as to the likelihood and severity and an appropriate plan is put in place, usually looking to reduce or eliminate the risk or to mitigate the impacts should the risk crystallise.
Within the log should be a date for review. When this date comes around the item is re-examined to determine if all the underlying logic still holds true.
I have found that the on-going monitoring of the risks is the most difficult to get people engaged with. It is easy to explain the need for the initial session but slightly more persuading is needed to get people involved in continually updating the risks.“
Can you provide an example that demonstrates your attention to detail?
How do you deal with employees who prove difficult to work with?
How do you stay up-to-date on the best practices of risk management?
Can you describe the most problematic situation you have dealt with?
What experience do you have writing and presenting risk assessment reports?
Discuss you experience in presenting risk assessments and reports
What is the role of risk management in an organisation? How do you go about advocating for risk management?
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 Do You Mitigate Risk?
How Can You Perform Risk Identification?
Briefly Explain The Process Of Risk Management
How Can You Communicate Risks Effectively To Stakeholders?
Explain The Meaning Of Risk Breakdown Structure?
What Are The Types Of Project Risks?
What Is Risk Probability And Risk Impact?
Who Performs A Risk Assessment?
Describe The Daily Routine Of Risk Managers?
How do you convince people to take risk management more seriously? Can you share an example of where you have done so?
Tell me about a time when you had to source information from multiple people or locations. How did you make a determination about what information was relevant?
Tell me about the risk process you use in your current/previous role. What have you learned and how would you improve the process?
Can you share an example of a situation you have been in where you have had to recommend implementing contingency plans or risk management measures that you knew would be unpopular?
What experience do you have with risk modelling?
Give me an example of a time where you had to make a decision alone. What was the outcome?
Tell me about a recent experience where you were under pressure. How did you manage the stress you were under to ensure an effective result?
What do you think are the top risks affecting our business/industry at the moment? What will they be in five years?
Do you have any questions for us?10 Questions To Ask At The End Of An Interview (And 6 That You Shouldn’t!)