How to Shine in Compliance Job Interviews



You’ve got the basics down pat, the smart outfit (online interview or not), the company researched, and your own CV memorised, but for compliance jobs in particular, what are the things that will make you stand out in an interview?

Of course, it will always depend on the kind of compliance role you’re interviewing for but there are some fundamental traits that will set you apart from the crowd. Straight out the gate, showcasing your aptitude as a subject matter expert in your compliance space is a must. Seasoned compliance professional, Renita Vink advises framing this expertise within examples of how you have assisted the business in practically interpreting a piece of legislation or new regulatory guidelines in order for it to be implemented in a process.

However, if you haven’t got examples that’s also okay. In an interview, it’s not all about how authentic your examples are, but more about the process of how you think. Vink advises that even if you don’t have a laundry list of specific instances to refer to, you should rather use those opportunities to demonstrate how you would think through your actions if placed in a similar situation. “Whoever interviews you is going to want to see how your mind works through that process,” explains Vink. “Take AML (Anti-Money Laundering) for example, one aspect is verifying a person’s ID and address. This has been operationalised in business process by implementing a 100 point check; but if you haven’t done that before you need to think of examples of law where you can show the ability to translate the law to a business process.”

Typically, people applying for compliance roles will be deep, analytical individuals with a degree in law or compliance. When it comes time for interviewing to launch your career in compliance you must be able to show that you can think strategically as well as analytically.

“You must be able to show the interviewer that can see the big picture,” says Vink. That is what will set you apart from other candidates; your ability to alternate between being a deep, analytical SME and also having the foresight to ensure that whatever you do in compliance aligns with the strategic direction of the business.

In addition to that business acumen, more and more, people working in compliance find themselves becoming educators to the business. “(The organisation) doesn’t have a deep knowledge of the law or the regulations but they need to understand it in order for them to operate in a responsible way,” says Vink. What this means for compliance professionals hoping to impress at interview is to highlight their confidence and willingness to step into the role of trainer and present to people across the business.

Being comfortable presenting is not something that comes naturally to many candidates, but this is where you’ll really impress. Weave that presentation skill into your interview or give an example of where you’ve taken a piece of legislation, broken it down in a logical way and then presented that to the business in a way for them to understand it.

“Don’t come into your interview with legal jargon,” says Vink, “translate the law into business process so that it makes sense for the business to practically apply it.”

Certainly, soft skills such as great communication and the ability to write well are traits an interviewer will be looking for. Candidates won’t necessarily be expected to know every new piece of legislation, but you should be able to show the skills and ability to read something that’s written in legal terminology and translate it, as well as to think about how you’d tackle it within a business context.

At the end of the day, an interviewer wants to know if you know where to go to find what you need, if you have the ability to translate complex information in an understandable way to the business and whether you have confidence in delivering that education piece to the business as well.


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