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What is the riskiest decision you have made? What happened in the end?
How to answer
As a successful professional, you have the knowledge to calculate risk in your industry. Tell the interviewer about a work-related risk you have taken and what the outcome was. Start with an overview of the decision you needed to make, and explain why the situation was risky. Describe who the situation affected, as well as the possible outcomes. Complete your answer by sharing how the decision paid off, or by mentioning any recognition you received for your success.
Answer examples
"The riskiest decision I ever made was to leave the recruitment industry to move into workforce planning, as a consultant. The risk meant that if I was unsuccessful, I would be looking for a new job in a really slow economy. The pay off would be that I would finally be in a sector that I was truly interested in. I made a great career for myself for the next 8 years, which has brought me here today - with an exceptional opportunity in front of me."
"One of the riskiest decisions I made was to leave corporate america and join a start up with an innovative idea. The company was seeking to provide a product/service that would pioneer a new industry. We worked hard and smart to launch and create a new space in the nutraceutical marketplace. We failed a lot along the way, but we learned to fail fast and it made us all better professionals."
"My riskiest decision was to ship a customer order late because I was not satisfied with the quality audit. The numbers were within the threshold, but not to par. In the end, while the customer was unhappy to receive a late order, she was happy that we cared enough to investigate any potential problems."
Specific Career Examples
Sales Example
"Easily the riskiest career decision I've made was to leave an established organization in which I was being promoted up the ranks and groomed for general manager of a branch in order to try my hand at a technology startup. Most of my family thought I was kind of nuts when I did it, but I felt it my gut it was what I needed to do. I was right. Not only did I get to experience a different, more innovative culture, team, and product, but also I was able to be a real difference maker in the organization, rather than continue to chug away at a 10,000+ person corporate entity. That leap brought me to more opportunities that I never would have been offered had I stayed at my cozy, comfy corporate job."
Retail Example
"I honestly think the riskiest decision I've made is taking the steps to pursue this interview and position. I obviously don't know for certain how it will turn out, and yet I'm here. I am seeking out an opportunity to leave a 10+ year tenure at a successful store, where I've risen through the ranks and made a name for myself, in order to start fresh where no one feels any loyalty to me, and I could be making a huge mistake. I could leave my comfortable, successful career and company to be let go and have to start from scratch. However, I am confident that this is the best move I could be making for my career and my personal life. I know I need to get out of my comfort zone and take the leap, and I know with 100% certainty that your organization is the one with whom I want to continue to grow and bring my career to the next level. I look forward to retelling this particular move as not only the riskiest thing I've done, but the best decision I've made."
Teacher Example
"When I came back to work after having my kids -- and leaving was seen as potentially risky, might I add -- I had two options on the table. I could have worked as a high school Spanish teacher, or elementary Spanish teacher. I chose elementary. This may not sound risky, but a few years prior, the district had floated the idea that elementary Spanish should be cut to save money, so I came into a position that was potentially on the cutting block, when I could have chosen a high school job that was sure to be secure. I made my decision knowingly. I knew how important starting a second language is at an early age and I wanted to be a part of educating the next generation in another language and culture. The risky nature reared its head four years in, might I add, as the district attempted to cut the program, as I mentioned. Luckily, I had a group of passionate parents and students, current and former, who rallied around and made sure that did not happen."
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More Interview Questions

When have you taken an unusual risk in the workplace? What was the outcome?
How to answer
The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of taking calculated risks in the workplace, and that you understand the difference between a calculated risk and a risky choice. Think of a work related risk, like trying out a new idea to solve a problem. You may even take on a new responsibility that you're not trained in, which is a little bit of a risk. Give an example that shows you are thoughtful and strategic when taking risks. Do you weigh the pros and cons first? Are you considering how it will affect others? Do you consider the company's bottom line? These are all things that the interviewer will be looking for in your answer.
When have you had to make a split second decision? How do you react under unexpected pressure?
How to answer
Being able to make quick decisions and think fast on your feet sets top-notch professionals out from the crowd. We all make a lot of decisions every day, so start off by telling the interviewer that you make a lot of quick decisions each day. Next, be prepared for a more significant example that will be sure to impress.
Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
How to answer
Keeping your answer career based, discuss a decision you made where you may not have had all of the pertinent information. The interviewer would like to see that you are able to use logic to make a sound decision. Show the interviewer that you are capable and confident when it comes independent thinking and decision making. Be sure to include the success you saw from your sound decision making.
What are your salary expectations?
How to answer
Before your interview, make sure you have researched the median salary for the position (and location). You can look at salary reviews on or Always make sure you give a salary range, not just a number. Providing a range allows you to negotiate down the road, if you are given an offer. However if you just tell the employer you are looking for $50K it doesn’t leave room for negotiating later on. Also, make sure the lowest number of your range is something you are comfortable with! Another great option is to tell the interviewer what you are currently earning, and tell them that you are seeking a competitive offer.
Tell me about a contribution you made to the last team you worked on.
How to answer
It is important to show the interviewer that you are a team player. Talk about a time that you were recently expected to achieve a goal in a team setting. How did you go above and beyond to ensure that your contribution was felt?
Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.
How to answer
Talking about your greatest accomplishment will give the interviewer a strong idea of where you place your values. It will also show the interviewer more about your personality, how you like to be motivated, and how to coach you in the future. It is okay to brag a little bit when answering this question. Show that you are proud of yourself and your career accomplishments!
What are your strengths?
How to answer
Which personal strengths make you excellent at your job? Strengths can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks. In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand client needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewer about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in this role. Some great strengths to mention are: - Communicative - Loyal - Collaborative - Tech Savvy - Flexible in Schedule/Availability - Persistent and Determined - Eager for Knowledge/New Skills

User-Submitted Answers

What is the riskiest decision you have made? What happened in the end?
The computers went down, the owner was out of town. I emailed him but no answer. Followed through by getting buying new parts and installing, saving reciepts so if my decision was wrong I could return them. It worked out fine.
The riskiest decision I have made was to go to a college hours away from my hometown. I knew that moving there would mean being on my own, away from family and everything familiar. I think in the end, it was just the challenge I needed and I think that I am better for it.
To leave my banking job. I decided to take six months off and found that it was hard to find a good paying job.
To move from New Mexico after my divorce.
The riskest decision that I made was having to work in a group other members not contributing to the work after several attempts to get them to do their work thought it was time to tell the leadership team.
Describe a time when you were able to effectively communicate a difficult or unpleasant idea to a superior.
To leave my employer of 10 years to open my own business. My business took off from day one... Very successful during its time of operation.
Accepted to worh day night for a project continuous 36 hrs.
Sending my resume to as many companies as I could. This gave me the ability to put myself out there.
Once there was a client who was asking for a discount as per company policy it was 2% but I decrease to 1.5% as it will benefit the co. I close the deal with that the customer was happy, manager was also satisfied.
I decided to move to nova scotia to find a job, I had never been there before... I found a job within 11 days of landing.
I decided to live my previous job at esatern cape and come to jhb because of my mother was very sick her and have one one to look after her but I came in jhb and hunt for anather job.
Working as a Substitute teacher and making new ways to teach new methods for kids to learn.
The riskiest decision i've ever made was to nearshore the develipment of the womens network instead of going with the much safer, but much more expensive (both financially and timewise) internal solutions offered. The situation was that interally I was told it would take 1 year and 5.1 M to develope the network. I decided to do dev in AR and was able to complete it in less than 1/2 the time and for 750k.
The riskiest decision I made was giving five different cardiac prescribed meds at once to a CHF patient with a normal blood pressure. I found out from MD that by giving these cardiac meds together helped stabilize the pt blood pressure and with out then she would have been at risk for multiple complications.
That I promised the customer that he will get the product on time knowing very well that is not on my hands but I had to push the sales and stores people for the product to be there when the client reach the shop. I had to use my own personal line to make sure that the customer is happy.
To tell the owner why there are people that are unhappy with his company. Not really sure how it ended up.
I was working in a group for a project and I told my team that some of the topics they were talking about should be ignored and continue improving on what we had left. Because I didn't push had for them to stop it cost me my grades.
Continuing CPR on a patron while waiting for the medical team.
1 study -- financial problem and there is no possinilities to study there is no colleges near by my villlage.
I decided to take a necessary course during the summer knowing that I would just enough funds to pay for the class and off campus housing. I didn't have a means of transportation or a surplus of funds for food. I walked to school and bought low cost options to survive on for weeks. I was able to get through the 4 weeks and passed the class.
When I worked in distribution I made the commodity stocks, providers are trying to change the good putting others unwanted. So when I had this situation I gave them the goods back, asking to send commands required. Providers want to make money of cheating, our company don`t accept something what we don`t need, because we have it allready.
Riskiest decision ever made was to confront shoplifter while counting her out of FR. She took an item out of her purse. Then persisted on telling me I counted her in wrong.
Build a bigger boat MGM - tents.