The interviewer wants to know how you handle making risky decisions. As a successful professional, you know 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.
"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 were 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 in which I was truly interested. I made a great career for myself for the next eight years, which has brought me here today - with an exceptional opportunity in front of me."
"The riskiest career choice I have made was asking for a reduction in hours, from full time to part time employment, to pursue my degree in Business Administration. My boss could have let me go, but he didn't. In fact, he openly supported my pursuit of higher education."
"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."
"One of the riskiest decisions I made was to leave corporate America and join a startup 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."
"I think the riskiest decision I've made is taking steps to pursue this position. I am seeking out an opportunity, which would result in leaving a 5-year tenure at a successful store, where I've risen through the ranks and made a name for myself, to start fresh and challenge myself professionally."
"Easily the riskiest career decision I've made was to leave an established organization where I was being groomed for a general manager role, to try my hand at a technology startup. Most of my family thought I was 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 I never thought possible."
"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 example 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."