How to Impress in Your Risk Job Interview
First impressions of course count towards your ability to impress so following the basic rules of interview engagement apply regardless of which industry you’re targeting. Beyond your ironed shirt and/or sleek up-do, when applying for jobs in risk it is what lies within that will make you stand out.
Lee Hine, Director of Asia Pacific for KPP Search, says the first thing a company will be looking for is that a candidate has done their research. “You should be able to demonstrate some understanding of both the sector you’ve chosen to work in and the business itself,” says Hine. “You’ll be asked questions around the kind of risks you’d anticipate in that sector whether it’s financial or non-financial risk.”
What the business is looking for is someone who can frame their view of risk management clearly and expertly. If you can communicate to the interviewer what you think risk management is, why the business needs it, and how it should be embedded into the business, you’ve proven your value-add right there.
Aside from the obvious lines of questioning, candidates should also expect to be quizzed on topical issues, climate change being a hot topic currently. “Be ready to respond to questions around how issues like climate change, natural disasters and so on could impact the business,” says Hine. “Think about the risks associated with climate change for the business.”
The global pandemic is inevitably an issue businesses will still be trying to navigate from a risk perspective, with issues around remote working, supply chains and rapid digitalisation leading to higher exposure for cyber-attacks.
With regards to these issues, candidates should be prepared to discuss scenarios around political, technological or societal issues of note in relation to the particular industry they’re applying to work in. “The interviewer wants to see how you think and engage with risks,” explains Hine, “your logic around risk and how you see various issues impacting the business in the future.”
For professionals working in risk, the matter of strong stakeholder management will undoubtedly arise in an interview. As part of a risk role, it is highly important to be able to influence and change people’s views towards risk management. “You should be able to explain complex pieces of information in clear, digestible chunks, especially in a non-financial services setting,” says Hine, “in order to make those driving strategies for the business understand why risk management is important.” So come prepared with examples of how you’ve faced off to senior stakeholders in previous roles and how you’ve influenced them.
The power to influence derives from a need to be resilient. So showcase those examples of when you’ve been under pressure and experienced push-back from the business but have stood your ground to get your ideas over the line.
Hine suggests also tackling the technical aspect of a career in risk, with regards new trends, ideas, techniques and frameworks. “On that note, a lot of businesses employ the three lines of defence model,” he says. “You want to show an awareness of that both to impress the business but more importantly to understand where your role sits within the business.”
Depending on your role, the interviewer will want to make sure you’re technically sound so you should be able to talk around the content of your CV quite comfortably and provide practical examples of what you’ve done.
Ultimately, risk cannot be mitigated but it can be managed, so use the interview to emphasise how you can utilise your skills to help the business manage their risk. That is how you will shine and hopefully secure your career in risk.