How to answer "What are your thoughts on taking risks in the workplace?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why employers ask this

In many job roles, taking risks is a necessary part of success. Employers want to know how comfortable you are with taking calculated risks and how you approach decision-making when there are unknown factors. By asking this question, employers are looking for insight into your attitude towards risk-taking, problem-solving, and decision-making. They want to know if you can balance willingness to take risks with the need for caution and thoughtfulness in your actions.

How to answer the question

When answering this question, it is important to strike a balance between being too risk-averse or too reckless. Emphasize the importance of being willing to take calculated risks that are grounded in research, data, and careful consideration of all the potential outcomes. Your answer should demonstrate that you are comfortable with ambiguity, and that you have an open mind when it comes to trying new strategies.

You should also mention any past experiences where you took a calculated risk that led to a positive outcome. This will help to convince the employer that you are not only comfortable with taking risks but are also capable of doing so in a way that benefits the organization.

Lastly, it is important to emphasize the importance of being responsible and accountable for your actions. Talk about how you ensure that your decisions are ethical and consider the impact they may have on the organization or its stakeholders. This will help the employer see that you are not just a risk-taker, but also someone who approaches decision-making with conscientiousness and integrity.

Sample answers

Good answer: I think taking risks is important for personal and professional growth. It shows that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. However, taking risks should be strategic and calculated. Before making a decision, it's important to evaluate the potential risks and benefits and make sure they align with the company's goals and values.

Good answer: I believe taking risks is necessary in order to innovate and stay competitive in the business world. However, it's important to strike a balance between being cautious and taking calculated risks. You want to minimize the potential negative impact of a risk while maximizing the potential benefits.

Bad answer: I don't like taking risks because I'm afraid of failure. I prefer to stick to what I know works and avoid any potential mistakes.

Explanation: This answer shows a lack of willingness to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. It may signal to the interviewer that the candidate is not open to growth and development.

Bad answer: I love taking risks! I make decisions quickly and without much thought. Sometimes it works out great and sometimes it doesn't. But that's just part of the thrill of taking risks!

Explanation: This answer shows a lack of strategic thinking and decision-making. It may signal to the interviewer that the candidate is impulsive and may make reckless decisions that could have negative consequences for the company.

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