What's Your Risk Tolerance?
In a recent JobsinOR.com poll, 86 percent of our respondents told us that they would prefer a job with a medium salary and a medium profile in exchange for some on-the-job pressure. Few people chose the high pressure/high profile/high salary option and no one picked the low option.
This poll shows how job seekers are typically risk averse, willing to give up some comforts for some benefits, but not usually willing to take on large risks when it comes to work.
Depending on the job that you are applying for - as well as the company - your risk tolerance could qualify or disqualify you for a job. Start-up companies, for example, often hire those who take more risks, particularly with jobs that will grow the company, i.e. sales positions. Large accounting firms looking for accountants, on the other hand, prefer candidates who take fewer risks and typically follow standard procedures more precisely.
Of the many questions that you could be asked in an interview, here are five that focus on your risk tolerance:
- Can you think of a time when you made a decision at work that could have had a negative result, yet you felt the decision was worth it?
- Have you ever spent a large amount of company resources in order to gain more sales?
- Have you ever tried something completely new and rather expensive in an effort to improve poor business performance?
- When did you last say or do something on the job that could have had adverse repercussions?
- Have you ever made a decision that helped your employer, yet you didn't have all the facts first?
Preparing answers to these questions is vital. Your answers should simply describe a specific situation, explain the risks that you took, and how it turned out. If they want more details, they'll ask.
Even if these questions don't specifically come up, you can still weave them in to your responses. Many jobs require a certain level of calculated risk. The ability to take chances and make mistakes means that you're learning, gaining ground, and moving you - and your employer - forward.