What Qualities to Look for When Hiring Risk Management Talent

risk management

Hiring for risk management talent? You’re not the only one. The financial services industry has seen a boon of growth within risk management over the last year, creating an intensely competitive market for risk management talent.

Every finance firm from bulge-bracket investment banks to evolving FinTech platforms need qualified candidates to take on risk roles. Though responsibilities can vary from analyzing portfolio risks to building analytical programs, the following qualifications/skills are relevant for any risk role you’re looking to fill.


As the risk management profession grows, so does the pool of risk management talent. But not everyone will bring the same experience to the table. If you’re looking for strong candidates, certifications like the FRM (Financial Risk Manager) are a great place to start. FRM’s, for example, have passed a two-part exam measuring their ability to recognize, analyze and manage market risks and event non-market financial risks against international professional standards.

“The FRM exam tests one’s understanding of financial instruments; the techniques for managing a variety of areas of risk; and knowledge and competency in Basel II and other regulations. It allows me to take a holistic view of risk.”

June J. Meimban, FRM Professional at Citizens Bank

Not only have these professionals gone the extra mile to show their commitment, they’ve also earned third-party validation from the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) to distinguish their skill set. This certification, along with similar designations, can easily narrow down your talent pool and maximize your chances of making intelligent hires.

Excellent Communication Skills

Explaining vulnerabilities within the risk management team, as well as to portfolio management, data/tech and executive teams, is a vital component of the job, which places communication skills on your must-have requirement list.

Communication skills can be tougher to measure since they’re a soft skill. The best way to determine how well a candidate can communicate is an in-person interview. The Balance has a great list of questions that can help you gauge communication style. If they can answer these clearly and succinctly, you’ve found a candidate who will be able to communicate any risks or findings without a problem.

Coding Capabilities

The labor market is rapidly evolving and coding skills are becoming a necessity in most positions, including risk. Candidates with even a basic knowledge of coding language have the ability to understand how models are generated and how to fix minor bugs in the reporting code. Candidates with a thorough comprehension of C++ or Java will be able to tweak or create their own models, significantly cutting down reliance on technology resources.

Solid coding skills will also be an important factor in evaluating and assessing cybersecurity risks. Cybersecurity issues are front and center after several massive breaches in 2017 and the demand for talent has risen accordingly. Risk professionals who have a background knowledge in coding and technology will be better equipped to find potential vulnerabilities across the business landscape.

A Forward-Thinking Mindset

Staying up to date on industry threats and trends is expected out of any risk professional. But someone who can think ahead of the curve? They’re priceless.

Weave questions surrounding current events into your interviews and get their opinion on how it will impact the risk management industry. The mark of an excellent candidate is someone who not only understands recent laws, regulations or threats but can perceive their future impact and ready the business accordingly.

Hiring the right risk management talent is a crucial step towards your firm’s success. If you’re struggling to find qualified risk professionals, post your job on OneWire to access our community of over 600K professionals in the financial services industry.