Interview tips for today's compliance job market

two professionals in an interview

In this age of abundant regulations, compliance is a quickly growing field, and one area in which banks are not likely to cut corners anytime soon. While there are more and more jobs opening up in banking, compliance is still tough to break into if you don’t already have experience.

"Even with experience in compliance, to land the really prime jobs, you must be prepared. It’s no longer good enough to simply have a solid degree under your belt." Adrian Morrissey, Compliance Manager.

Job seekers in the compliance field need to have a targeted, focused approach. Here are some pointers to ensure success during your next interview.

Do your legwork up front

Always do the research ahead of time so you know exactly who will be interviewing you. Review the LinkedIn profiles of the people you know will meet with, and check for people you may know in common with the team. Glean specific facts about the firm from its website, LinkedIn business page, Twitter feed, and other social media platforms. Have a few solid facts about the potential employer ready to use as conversation topics during the interview.

Dress the part

Dress is important in the compliance field, because it proves that you know how to conduct yourself in a professional environment. Men typically should wear a smart business suit with a clean, ironed shirt and tie. Women: a blouse and dress shoes. Never wear casual clothes to an interview for a compliance role - even if the position is with a laidback startup or hip tech company.

Talk like a compliance pro

Even if you aren’t fully sold on the position yet, behave as if you’re determined to get it. Better to win your interviewer over with enthusiasm and have the opportunity to make a decision further down the road.

Here are three basic conversational tips for intelligent compliance interviewing:

1. Describe your past wins and accomplishments in terms of your personal contributions, and how they are relevant to the job you are interviewing for. A job interview is no place for modesty - but brag honestly.

2. Even if you aren’t fully sold on the position yet, behave as if you’re determined to get it. Better to win your interviewer over with enthusiasm and have the opportunity to make a decision further down the road.

3. Never bring up salary or perks like holiday pay and bonuses unless the interviewer broaches these subjects first. But do come to an interview with a baseline idea of your value and your expected salary. If asked, you should be prepared with an answer. 

Have answers for these common compliance interview questions

In our many years of experience helping candidates land roles in the compliance field, we’ve aggregated a list of the most common questions that candidates often get asked during compliance interviews. Make sure you go into every interview with solid answers to these questions, but always tailor your answers to the particular company you’re interviewing with. That means, again, doing your research.

  • Why are you interested in this role and how would you add value to the team?
  • Why this firm and not another organization?
  • What are your long-term career aspirations?
  • What projects have you been involved in?
  • What are your dealings with the financial regulators?
  • How have you been involved in the development of policies and procedures? What do you think are the key compliance challenges for this type of business in the current climate? (This question, in particular, is coming up quite a lot for compliance roles)
  • In the first 30 days on the job, what would you expect to achieve?
  • How would you deal, or have you dealt, with difficult employees or situations?
  • Have you ever experienced a situation where something has gone wrong for you or a team that you were part of in compliance? What did you do to fix it? What did you put in place to ensure that it didn’t happen again?
  • In your current role, what wouldn’t have been achieved had you not been there?
  • If one of your former line managers were to describe you, what would they say? Would they highlight any weaknesses?

Find out more about the importance of networking in compliance.

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