37 Compliance Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Updated May 1, 2023

Interviewing for a compliance position like compliance manager or compliance officer might require job and industry-specific knowledge and the ability to highlight specific skills. Through general questions, questions about experience and in-depth questions about the role, interviewers hope to picture how you might fit in their organization. Preparing for an interview in compliance can help you outshine other candidates and impress hiring managers. In this article, we discuss some common compliance interview questions and provide some sample answers you can use when preparing for your interview.

Related: 8 Types of Compliance Jobs (With Examples for Each Field)

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General questions

When interviewing candidates for a compliance officer position, hiring managers often ask a series of general questions. These help them learn who you are as a person and how you might fit in with their organization. Some questions might include:

  1. What makes you a strong candidate for this position?

  2. Why do you want to work for our company?

  3. How do you think this job can contribute to your career goals?

  4. What skills do you think are most important in compliance?

  5. Could you describe your communication style?

  6. What would you say is your greatest weakness?

  7. What interests you about compliance?

  8. How did you hear about our company?

  9. Why do you think companies need compliance officers?

  10. What do you expect from an average day in this job?

Related: 125 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

Questions about experience and background

Recruiters and hiring managers often ask you about your professional history in compliance to learn how you handled specific situations. Some questions about experience and background include:

  1. What was the most challenging issue you faced in compliance?

  2. How did you deal with a situation where someone was out of compliance?

  3. When did you have to work with people in other departments?

  4. How have you handled confidentiality issues?

  5. How have you prioritized tasks in your previous roles?

  6. How have you helped educate employees on compliance policies?

  7. Have you ever needed to terminate an employee?

  8. What education do you have in compliance?

  9. Have you dealt with whistleblowers in previous positions?

  10. How do you handle conflicts within compliance teams?

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

In-depth questions

Interviewers may also ask in-depth questions to learn how you might respond to specific tasks and showcase your knowledge. Here are some detailed questions you might expect:

  1. Could you describe the steps you would take to ensure our organization was compliant?

  2. How would you implement a new control system?

  3. How would you handle firing someone or recommending a firing to a manager?

  4. Could you describe what makes an effective compliance system?

  5. What would your whistleblower protections look like?

  6. How would you communicate a new compliance requirement?

  7. What is your research process like when learning about industry standards?

  8. Can you tell me about a time when you had to manage risk?

  9. What is an acceptable response to a first violation?

  10. How might you conduct an audit to ensure compliance?

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Compliance interview questions with sample answers

Here are some interview questions and sample answers that can help you when preparing for your compliance interview:

1. What would your compliance program look like in our organization?

Interviewers might want to know the specific ways in which you can implement and oversee a compliance program. Consider including references for how a compliance program looked at your previous organization, why it was effective and why it's important.

Example: "Our compliance program will focus on the current laws and regulations that we need to follow, so a thorough review of that will show where we need to focus. In my previous role, we implemented system controls to ensure we had automated compliance flags and four rounds of random compliance checks a year. We will also survey employees to ensure compliance measures don't affect job performance."

2. How have you handled a compliance conflict in the past?

Interviewers may ask how you handled specific conflicts in previous roles to see how you might handle them with their organization. To answer this question effectively, describe a specific conflict, how you handled it and what the result was.

Example: "At my previous organization, we had a very strict compliance policy. One violation was a warning, and two meant firing. I found one employee violating our customer data policy during an audit and provided them with a warning. During the next audit, we found they were still non-compliant, so I advised their manager to fire them. It isn't always easy, but it's important to enforce compliance for legal and ethical reasons."

3. What certifications or training have you received in compliance?

Some jobs may require specific training or certifications in different areas, like financial or legal compliance. An interviewer may ask this question to learn about the details of any relevant certifications you hold or training you've completed.

Example: "Yes. Last year, I earned the Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) certification. This taught me a lot about the legal and ethical requirements corporate organizations need to follow and why they're important. Though not a certification, I attended a six-week training about medical compliance at my last job to ensure I knew our organization's processes and policies."

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Related: Steps To Becoming a Compliance Officer

4. What would be your first steps for a new compliance assignment?

Different from more general questions about your compliance knowledge and experience, this question can show interviewers the actual actions you might take when entering a compliance role. In your answer, describe what steps you might take and why they're important.

Example: "I would first perform a thorough review of our existing compliance practices and legal needs. This can help us understand if there are any immediate gaps we might need to fix or if any laws have changed that might determine our policies. I would then brainstorm possible solutions like system controls or manual checks that we can implement to ensure compliance."

5. What is a common compliance issue companies like ours face?

Interviewers asking this question hope to learn about your industry knowledge that you might bring to their company. Reference a common problem you might have experienced in a previous role and how you think companies can address it.

Example: "In health care, I think data breaches and ransomware are two extremely important issues. By investing in technology that can better protect patient data, many health care facilities might save money in lawsuits and ensure our information is safe and compliant."

6. What makes you a good compliance officer?

Interviews asking this question want to know both about your personal qualities and the qualities you think make a good compliance officer. To answer effectively, share specific skills you have and how they contribute to your success in the role.

Example: "I think I'm a good compliance officer because I review every detail thoroughly before determining compliance rules or issuing warnings. It's important that I understand these minor details and the larger compliance goals of a company, so I can learn more about why each rule is important. I also understand the reality of the business, analyze risks and understand how we can apply laws to our unique processes."

7. How would you handle a company leader who violates compliance orders?

Interviewers might ask how you can handle specific, high-profile compliance issues. In your answer, explain how compliance rules apply to everyone and discuss your method for ensuring that everyone is held accountable.

Example: "It's important that every member of the organization, especially senior leadership, understands the importance of compliance. Otherwise, it's difficult to manage. Holding senior management accountable can be a challenging task, but I would communicate their violation and provide them with the disciplinary actions that we should take as a result. At my previous job, I had a situation like this where I involved other executive leaders to help ensure the one out of compliance understood the effects of their action."

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