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Classic Interview Questions and Answers

Are you a risk-taker?

Alternative and related questions:

How do you feel about taking risks?
Do you have a problem with taking risks?

The meaning behind the question:

“Are you a risk-taker?” is a very direct question. What the interviewer is really looking for is to assess what your attitude is to taking risks. In some lines of work someone who takes risks is definitely going to be a liability. However, in many lines of work the ability to weigh up risks – and to take calculated risks – is an important skill.

Your answer:

Your answer will inevitably depend on exactly what the job is that you are applying for. If your line of work is one in which taking risks – or cutting corners – is likely to be frowned upon then you’re going to need to formulate your answer so as to make it clear that you are not someone who believes in risks. You may even want to emphasize that you see it as part of your job to identify potential risks and pre-empt them.

If assessing risks – and taking appropriate risks – is going to be a feature of your new job then your answer will naturally be very different. You certainly want to avoid the impression of being in any way reckless though. Your emphasis should be on the steps you take to identify and gauge risks, only taking risks where you have calculated the potential outcomes and deemed that your actions are going to be worth the risk. You should also make some mention of your decision-making capabilities, because being prepared to take calculated risks is, ultimately, a form of decision-making.

Example:

It depends on how you define risk. I am certainly not somebody who takes unnecessary risks, nor risks that would in any way compromise anyone’s personal safety. However, I fully appreciate that commercial success is dependent on taking risks – calculated risks. If, having given a matter careful consideration and weighed up the possible ramifications, I determine that a risk is – in the best interests of the business – worth taking, then I am not afraid to take it. You can’t always be right – but careful planning and analyzis should tip the odds in your favour and ensure that, overall, your decisions pay off. Experience is, of course, essential – and the experience I have gained over the course of my career is invaluable in informing my decisions.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

Take the fear out of your interview and never be stuck for the right answer to even the toughest questions with The Interview Question & Answer Book.

The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.

 

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More classic interview questions and answers

 

How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

In what ways are you a team player?

Do you work well on your own initiative?

What techniques do you use to get things done?

What motivates you?

Are you proactive?

Are you creative?

Are you a risk-taker?

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?

What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?

How would you handle the following situation?

Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?

Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?

What is your customer service philosophy?

How did you get your last job?

What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?

What have you learned in your last job?

Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

How would you describe your current boss?

Why did you leave that job?

Which of your jobs was the best?

Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?

What do you know about us as an organization?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organization's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

Why have you chosen this line of work?

Are there any other organizations to which you are applying?

How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?

Can you describe your ideal employer to me?

What sort of person would you most like to work for?

In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

What sports are you/have you been involved in?

Do you know what the current headline news is?

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?

What is your current salary package?

What salary package are you expecting for this role?

When would you be available to start?

Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?

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