Three questions you may be asked at governance and compliance job interviews

Three questions you may be asked at governance and compliance job interviews

If you are in line for a governance and compliance role then you will likely have a background in risk management, business continuity, IT security or possibly the financial management of a company or organisation. At the same time, you are likely to have an in-depth knowledge of the national and international standards with which companies are either legally bound, or urged (as best practice) to comply. All these subjects come under the scrutiny of a governance and compliance officer.

This makes preparing for an interview for such a role, whether in mid or senior management, a challenging prospect. Here then are some suggestions of three possible interview questions you might face to help you on your way.

1) Looking back on your career history, tell us how you made a company compliant in a particular area, and explain in detail the benefits this brought the company.

This question is designed to probe three areas – your knowledge of the compliance field; your effectiveness in driving through a compliance programme; and most important of all, your ability to gauge the success of all that hard work. The interviewer wants to be sure that you have made a difference through your compliance drive. This could, for instance, have led to a measurable reputational lift for the business, or news of your company’s compliance could have been instrumental in persuading an investor to take the plunge.

2) How do you make best use of technology in compliance management?

This question seeks primarily to assess how up-to-date you are in your approach. Whilst there may be a general consensus that technology can make all sorts of processes more efficient, this question is after more detail. There is an array of GRC (Governance, Risk Management and Compliance) software available (e.g., IBM’s Open Pages). However, the question seeks to ascertain what packages you have used in the past, and how effectively. Perhaps the software you deployed helped make savings.

Second, the question is getting at whether you believe in striking a balance between automation through technology, and making sure that employees remain vigilant and aware of procedures and protocols. The last thing a prospective employer wants is a compliance officer who is going to relinquish their seat to a cloud server. It’s important to convey a balanced approach to technology, one which still gives employees room to spot problems, and report them easily to you.

3) What in your view are the key differences between the board’s role and management’s role in corporate governance?

Finally, this question strikes at the heart of a company’s constitution. Traditionally, the board is the overseer, and essentially helps the management by providing a steer on certain occasions. The management implements and drives forwards change – never the twain shall meet… in theory. The problem is that sometimes the lines do get blurred between board and senior management, and as a compliance officer, you could be caught in the middle. This question is designed to tease out how you would approach such a scenario.

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