Shake of hands between a former lawyer, applying for a compliance officer job, and a recruiter from the company.Why did you choose to apply for this job?

This job title attracts people from all fields of business-former lawyers, consultants, managers, or even accountants.

And what is your story?

Try to be honest, and tell them what attracted you to the job. It is always good to say that you understand the importance of law and regulations, and are aware that a serious and repetitive breach of them can ruin the reputation of the company.

Show them that you see a purpose in this job, and do not apply only becasue they offer an excellent salary and benefits to the successful candidate.

You can also narrate how your past experience (not only with witnessing employees breaking the regulations, but also with discovering flaws in the rules while doing your former job), motivated you to pursue this career.

 

How do you imagine a typical day in work?

Easy question for many other jobs, but definitely a tough one for a compliance officer. What will you do in work, all day long?

The key is to show a proactive approach to work. Obviously you should be there, for the employees, ranging from manual laborers to top executives, so they can consult you on the issues related to law and regulations, and report a breach of them.

Nevertheless, you should not tell the hiring managers that you plan to sit in your office, waiting for people to approach you. Tell them that you plan to actively move in the workplace, talk to people (in a friendly manner), and keep an eye on the rules and how people adhere to them.

You can also say that you will devote a part of your time to designing ways of auditing the compliance to the rules, in various departments of the business.

 

What do you want to accomplish in this job?

Show them that you do not think only about your prestige and salary. Show them that you see the bigger picture.

For example, you can say that you hope to improve the overall satisfaction of the employees, and reputation of the company in the eyes of public, by ensuring full compliance with all national and international laws and regulations that pertain to the particular industry, as well as professional standards, and accepted business practices.

 

Why do you think you can be a good compliance officer (manager)?

Right answer depends a lot on your previous experience. When you had this job before, in another company, you can refer to your successful experience with them (if it was a successful one), narrating what you did, and how you managed the challenges of the job.

When you did not have this job before, you should refer more to your skills, abilities, and possibly the knowledge of laws and regulations, simply to things that make from you a good candidate for the job.

One way or another, try to show some confidence in your answer. Unless you believe to be a good candidate for the job, they won’t believe it either

 

Two young hiring managers listen to the job applicant, while he answers one of their behavioral questions.Imagine that you discovered an executive violating the company’s code of conduct. What would you do?

Though a delicate situation, you should report this behavior. But remember that some people sitting in the interviewing panel may actually belong to the board

I’d suggest saying that if the violation wasn’t very serious, or wasn’t a repeated one, you’d talk only to the particular executive first. You’d explain the situation, and ask them to remedy their actions. Obviously you’d not report the person who notified you of the violation.

If it didn’t help, you’d take the necessary action, reporting the violation on the meeting of the board, or directly to the CEO.

 

Describe the most difficult compliance or ethics issue you’ve faced. How did you resolve it?

Speak about a situation which you eventually managed to resolve. One that had a happy ending. You can talk about corruption, bullying, nepotism, falsifying data to pass environmental and other checks and quotes, or about anything else.

Once again, this questions in a test of your attitude. The key is to convince the hiring managers that you take your job with full responsibility, and do not prioritize any employee of the company–including the people in the board.

 

How do you feel about dismissing someone, or about suggesting such a step to the management?

Dismissing an employee shouldn’t be your first step, unless we speak about very serious violation of laws or ethics. Stealing, drinking in work, starting fight with other employee are some of serious situations that can lead to an immediate dismissal.

In every other case, you should suggest a personal meeting with the employee (or with their superior, or with both of them), explaining the issue, and trying to solve it under the radar. Nevertheless, the first warning won’t always help. In such a case, you may suggest dismissing someone, or even doing it yourself.

Ensure the hiring managers that you won’t let your emotions to interfere with your job. Show them your human side, saying that you do not like to dismiss someone, understanding the consequences for both their life and the company. At the same time, however, you won’t hesitate to do it when a first and second warning did not help, or when they committed a serious violation of the rules.

 

How would you protect people who confide in you, reporting a serious issue?

There are laws to take care of this, especially the whistleblower law. Nevertheless, we all know how fragile these laws are in practice…

Tell the hiring managers that integrity and confidentiality belong to your core values. Tell them that you won’t disclose the identity of the person who notified you about the problems, unless it was completely necessary. And it doesn’t matter if we talk about the issue that involved blue collars, white collars, or top executives.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

Man uses his hands to get his message over, while trying to answer the interview question.Compliance officer is a sensitive position. Companies do not like to see these people go, they do not like to hire a new officer every other year.

What is more, unless you work for a big corporation, there isn’t any room for promotion on this position. (In a big corporation you can become a compliance coordinator, leading and managing a group of compliance officers.)

Therefore the best answer is that you will be more than happy to have the same job, to still work for them as a compliance officer.

You can elaborate on your answer, saying that it takes time to fully understand the life in the company, and all the nuances of the business and rules that relate to them, and believe it makes no sense to have this job for only a year or two.

 

Do you have any questions?

Interview for this job should be a dialogue. As a good candidate, you should ask questions about their compliance programs, their requirements and problems their face, the latest issues and the biggest challenges.

What is more, you can ask about the structure of the compliance department (whether you work alone, with someone, under someone), and the next steps of the hiring process.

Try to avoid questions about salary, and benefits. If they seriously consider hiring you, they will start to talk about these things.

 

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Matthew Chulaw

Matthew Chulaw

Matthew has been working in international recruitment since 2008. He helps job seekers from all walks of life to pursue their career goals, and to prepare for their interviews. He is the founder of InterviewPenguin.com website.
Matthew Chulaw

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