Risk Job Interview Questions
With numerous branches of risk operational within the business world, from market risk and credit to enterprise risk management, financial risk and geographic risk to name a few, it won’t surprise you to learn there isn’t a generic interview hit list of questions when job hunting for risk management opportunities. However, that’s not to say there aren’t types of questions you can prepare for and certain pieces of information you should be ready to impart.
The Technical Stuff
Undoubtedly, a risk candidate should have some level of technical understanding that would enable him or her to answer the statistical and maths-based questions an interviewer will likely ask. Anything from Mean Value theory and variable selection to p-values, Monte Carlo Simulations and Maximum likelihood estimation may cross your interviewer’s lips so swot up on all things technical so you are as prepared as possible.
The framework for best-practice for monitoring internal controls, COSO or the Committee of Sponsoring Organisations of the Treadway Commission is something any discerning risk management professional should understand when looking to work in risk. At the very least know what it is and anything more may just give you the advantage during interview.
Be prepared to delve into your academic history, as in addition to the value placed on practical experience, for those candidates with less than 5 years’ experience, hiring managers will want to see some sort of higher education qualification, think MBA, CRM (Certified Risk Manager), FRM (Financial Risk Manager) or similar. What these certifications, and others of its ilk, show to your interviewer is that you have been furnished with the expertise required of a risk manager who must be able to do things like process evaluations and improvements, and assess the effectiveness of controls and control mitigation strategies. Having an MBA or other under your belt gives your CV a seal of credibility and reassures the hiring manager of your commitment to your career in risk management.
Your interviewer may throw you a real complex brainteaser of a question. Now, before you get all caught up in worrying about how to prepare an answer for such an eventuality, remember this, it is not necessarily a right answer they are looking for but how you cope when faced with the pressure of finding an answer for it. This is a test from your interviewer to see how you would approach a real-life risk dilemma, so stay cool, breathe, and think through the question to really understand what it’s asking. Within this line of questioning, you may also have to offer up examples of problems you’ve solved or helped solve to demonstrate how your skills will add value to the role you’re applying for.
In this case, jumping up and down on your chair won’t do you any favours but there is one way to cruise this line of questioning and it has everything to do with whether you can show that your view of risk management is aligned with the firm you are hoping to work for. Understanding your view of risk management’s role within the organisation, gives an interviewer a deeper sense of your knowledge and your passion for the role.
You may be asked to provide a specific example of when you were faced with a challenging personality conflict involving another department and how you sought to overcome it. The interviewer wants to see that you are confident in liaising with all areas of the business, that you have the right disposition to temper internal diplomacy and that you can react quickly and effectively to any situation you’re faced with.
This may sound like a generalism as it covers many lines of questioning during interview, however as far as being asked for examples to illustrate your skills and experience, always be specific. Vague, clichéd answers will not get you the job so think hard about what you could say that reinforces what is written on the job description. You don’t want to give them any excuse not to consider your application for this risk job and hiring managers like candidates who are clearly being strategic about their career and have a proven aptitude for successful moves behind them.
With every answer you want to leave your interviewer with the impression that you can not only do the job but with no doubt as to why you want it and what drives you as a risk professional.