Questions to ask at your Compliance job interview

Questions to ask at your Compliance job interview


When it comes to this part of your compliance job interview, your interviewer is looking beyond the preparation you put into answering their questions. Now it’s your turn to essentially put them in the hot seat and demonstrate your insight and enthusiasm for the role and the business of compliance.

Director of Consulting Practice at KPP Search, Lee Hine, regards the importance of emotional intelligence in focusing the current line of questioning for compliance jobs. His advice is to ask questions that will unveil inside information as to the organisation’s relationship with key regulators, further understand the internal culture of compliance and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role.

How would you describe the business’ relationship with the regulator?

“In some compliance roles you may be interacting a great deal with the regulator,” says Lee. “So you need to know what the relationship has been like historically.”

Asking this type of question lets you know what kind of regulatory environment you’re walking into. If the regulator is being particularly tough on your would-be employer they will likely be dealing with fines and perhaps a number of areas of their compliance framework that require improvement and review. This will give you a better sense of both the climate and workload you’ll be facing in this particular compliance role. As an individual working in compliance, it’s also an important skill to know how to read the regulator, particularly ahead of any new directives being rolled out.

What are the key risks and vulnerabilities the business is currently facing with compliance?

This line of questioning is self-explanatory and while this may be something that could come up earlier during the interview, if not then this is the perfect time to bring it up. This may also give you the opportunity to raise any ideas you may have around weaknesses you’ve noted within the company’s compliance framework.

What are the key areas I’ll be focusing on?

It goes without saying you should ask about the role itself, understanding your employer’s expectations for the forthcoming 12-18 months and exactly what the role will be. For example, “how much of the role will be advisory and how much will be implementation?” says Lee. “You want to understand how much of each will be practiced within the role.” There is typically a component of each in every compliance role but it’s important for you to have clarity regarding whether you’ll be driving policy and change or actively implementing regulation.

What new areas of regulation coming out do you think will impact this role?

This is a very topical question which allows you to demonstrate your regulatory and industry knowledge. Furthermore, their response will reveal how current their sources are for incoming compliance laws and regulations. It is useful for you to understand then how they see the impact of incoming regulations on their business. This gives you the opportunity to further dig into the possible strategies they have in place for dealing with it. For example, you could ask questions around the sanctions lists around financial crime and screening in response to the latest issues with Russia and whether the business intends to implement new compliance procedures around that.

How much will I be interacting with the other lines of defence?

Referring to audit and risk, it is helpful for a candidate going into a compliance job to have a sense of the relationship between the three lines of defence within the enterprise. What is their attitude like towards the compliance team? How receptive will they be in taking on your advice?

What is the role of compliance like within the business?

Following on from the previous question, here you want to gain a better insight into how compliance operates within this specific organisation. Are you expected to be an enforcer or will you be stepping into more of a business partner type relationship with the rest of the business?

What is the direction of compliance over the next 3-5 years?

You want to know their strategy behind their compliance policy and how it will affect the business. This will also tell you how compliance is conducted internally and how they expect you to help steer their ship. What you will also glean from this line of questioning is a sense of company culture with regards compliance and how seriously it is taken.

The most important message you want to communicate in everything you ask is your enthusiasm and interest in the role and equally importantly, your intrinsic understanding of the role and all that it entails. On this note, the next question is a good one to follow this up with.

What is your intention for this role moving forward?

You want a general forecast for the role over the next 3-5 years and their expectations for how they see the role progressing. This will give you a sense of what your personal career development will look like and the opportunities for growth in your own career in compliance.


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