Internal auditor is one of the most rewarding roles you can have in any company. It pays well (even when we speak about entry level roles), and you will learn the ins and outs of business process working as an auditor. It will open you doors to many other fascinating careers.
Though you typically won’t compete with many for the job, you can be sure that everyone invited will try their best to succeed, and sign a coveted job contract at the end of the interviews. But just one person will achieve the goal. Will it be you?
The typical interview process for this position consists of screening interview (an easy part), behavioral interview (a difficult part), personality test (optional but common in big corporations), and technical questions that are specific for audit (can be both easy and difficult, depending on your knowledge of the field, and the person who leads an interview with you).
Obviously you can be invited for several rounds of interview, but you can also deal with all questions in one longer session. The selection below should help you to understand what to expect, in terms of interview questions. Enjoy!
List of interview questions for internal auditors
- Why did you decide to apply for this position? Try to speak about something else than money. Tell them about your passion for optimizing business processes, about your understanding of the role. If you have relevant experience, one that makes from you a great candidate, tell them about your experience.
- What does internal audit mean for you? To conduct internal audit means to help an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes (official definition by the institute of internal auditors).
- Have you ever though about the risk management in our company? When you apply internally, you should already have some ideas of what you want to do once they promote you to the position of an internal auditor. And when you apply for a job in a company foreign to you, company you know little or nothing about, you should at least make some research, and have an idea of the most important areas of business process, areas that need immediate auditing.
- Do you have any experience with software solutions for internal audit?
- What does IFAC mean? IFAC stands for International Federation of Accountants, an organization that issues the international standards for auditing (ISA). You can elaborate on your answer, saying that you have the knowledge of the standards.
- What do you consider the main auditing risks in the company of this type? Again, a good research should help you with an answer. Is it the detection risk, the inherent risk, or the control risk?
- What is the best risk assessment method for this size of a company? The right answer depends on the size of the company, and the complexity of their business processes. You can go with what-if analysis, HAZOP, failure mode and effect analysis, or with any other method you know. The key is to show the interviewers that you understand various models and methods, and are ready to apply them in the company.
- Can you describe substantive tests and when do we use them in the process of auditing the business process? Substantive testing is an audit procedure that examines the financial statements and supporting documentation to see if they contain errors. These tests are needed as evidence to support the assertion that the financial records of an entity are complete, valid, and accurate. They belong to the most common tools of each internal auditor.
- How do you ensure to keep your knowledge of laws and regulations up to date?
- What characterize a good applicant for the job in internal audit? You can go with education, experience in the field, understanding for the business process. But you can also name important skills and character abilities, such as responsibility, independence, strong accounting skills, attention to detail, etc.
- If you get this job, what will be the first thing you do in the office? You can say that you will start with studying reports from your predecessor, or from an external auditor–basically a person who did the last audit. Or you can say that you will spend a few days or weeks talking to everyone in the company, from laborers to managers, trying to understand their business operations in detail, to be able to plan your auditing schedule.
- What do you consider your biggest weakness as an auditor? If you are just starting, lack of experience is a good answer. Everyone has to start somewhere, however, and even the best auditors had their first auditing experience, and made some mistakes along the way. If you’ve already done auditing, you can point out a specific area of auditing, or a certain skill or ability that needs improvement (perhaps your computer skills, accounting skills, ability to keep professional distance, etc).
- What are the advantages of internal and of external auditing? This is simple one. Internal auditors know the company from inside-out, and typically understand the business process better than external auditors. On the other hand, people from outside of the company look at things from some distance, and since they have no connection with the employees of the company, we can be certain about their objectivity (art least most of the time).
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now? Good auditors are precious. Tell them that you want to work as an auditor in five years, and if they hire you, you will be happy to stay in their company.
- Describe a conflict you had with your colleague.
- Have you ever detected a case of fraud? What process did you follow?
- Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in job.
- Imagine a situation where you have to deal with uncooperative colleagues. What will you do?
- Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
Conclusion, great answers to all questions
Interview for any job in internal audit belongs to difficult job interviews. Hiring managers will test your motivation, skills, attitude, and also knowledge with a healthy mix of personal, behavioral, and technical questions.
If you are not sure how to answer the questions, or experience anxiety, have a look at the eBook I wrote for you, the Internal Audit Interview Guide.
Multiple brilliant answers to 25 most common internal audit interview questions will help you get rid of stress, streamline your interview preparation, and prepare for every challenge you may face in this interview. Thank you for checking it out, and I wish you good luck!
Matthew Chulaw, your personal job interview coach
* You can also download the list of questions in a one-page long .PDF document, and practice your interview answers anytime later, even when offline:
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