37 compliance interview questions (plus example answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Compliance is critical to the success of many organisations as it helps maintain company and legal standards. When interviewing candidates for positions in compliance, those hiring are likely to ask a mix of questions. Preparing answers to some of the most common questions can help you stand out in the interview process. In this article, we list common compliance interview questions and provide sample answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Related: A guide to compliance officer skills for CVs (with duties)

General compliance interview questions

General questions can give interviewers insight into a candidate's personality, which can help them determine whether or not the candidate is going to be a good fit for their company. Some general questions an interviewer may ask you include:

  • What made you apply for this position?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • What motivates you?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client or colleague.

  • How do you handle stress in the workplace?

  • What would you do if you saw a colleague violating company policy?

  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond your duties?

  • What do you think is the most important personal attribute for working in compliance?

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Related: How to get a job in compliance (with roles and skills)

Questions about experience and background

Asking questions about experience and background is a way for interviewers to get a better sense of how well a candidate's experience relates to the job on offer. Some questions an interviewer may ask about your experience and background are:

  • Can you give an overview of your journey into compliance?

  • How has your degree helped you in your compliance career?

  • Do you have any relevant professional qualifications?

  • What experience do you have in writing policies?

  • In what area of compliance has the majority of your experience been?

  • Do you have any experience liaising with Government Agencies? If so, which ones?

  • How do you keep up to date with relevant regulations?

  • Do you have any experience in training staff on compliance issues?

  • What has been the most valuable thing you've learned regarding compliance?

  • What has been the most challenging issue you've faced in the field to date?

Related: 8 important compliance certifications for various industries

In-depth questions

Specific compliance questions are designed to test a candidate's knowledge of specific areas of compliance. Some in-depth questions an interviewer may ask you include:

  • What are some of the common compliance risks organisations face?

  • How has the introduction of GDPR affected compliance?

  • What are some of the common pitfalls when implementing compliance policies?

  • What advice would you give a company about introducing a new compliance policy?

  • How can organisations reduce the risk of non-compliance amongst employees?

  • What would you advise if you saw a staff member repeatedly violating a policy?

  • How would you go about investigating a serious breach in compliance?

  • What would you do if a company director asked you to overlook a minor infraction?

  • What are some of the compliance risks associated with employees working from home?

  • What is your experience with [specific software]?

Related: What is a compliance audit and when is one needed?

Interview questions with sample answers

Here are some questions to help you prepare for your compliance interview, along with sample answers:

1. What are the most common compliance issues you've faced?

Interviewers may ask this to get a sense of the type of compliance issues you're most familiar with. In your answer, you can name a handful of issues you dealt with in previous roles. It's a good idea to look at the responsibilities for the role you're applying for and align your answer with those.

Answer: 'Much of my work involved investigating potential breaches of company policy. I frequently dealt with data protection issues and complex privacy requests involving personal data. Since the introduction of GDPR, I've been involved in creating new policies to ensure our company's compliance with the new regulations.'

Related: How to beat interview anxiety (a guide for before and during)

2. What steps can organisations take to ensure compliance within their business?

A question like this aims to test your knowledge of compliance best practices. In your answer, you can list some key steps businesses can take to mitigate compliance risks. You may want to briefly state why each step is important, but it's not usually necessary to explain each step in great detail.

Answer: 'Some key things businesses can do to ensure compliance within their organisation are keeping up-to-date with changing laws and regulations, providing regular training to employees on compliance-related issues, having regular internal compliance audits and implementing comprehensive policies and procedures regarding software and use of data.'

Related: What is compliance management? A helpful career guide

3. How would you advise a large company to communicate a new compliance requirement?

A question like this aims to test your ability to think about compliance at a strategic level. Large organisations have more complex organisational structures. It's important to highlight the importance of communication to ensure that the message is understood by employees at all levels.

Answer: 'In my experience, communication is vital for successfully introducing any new requirement. I would advise large companies to ensure their managers and leaders are fully briefed on the change so that they can distribute the information to employees clearly and concisely through a combination of channels. I would also advise holding training sessions when introducing requirements that have significant implications for employees' work.'

Related: 7 compliance careers (with salaries and primary duties)

4. How would you assess a company's compliance policies and practices?

Assessing compliance policies and practices is a key responsibility of many compliance roles. By asking this, the interviewer wants to gauge your ability to conduct such an assessment. Be sure to include the specific steps you would take in your answer.

Answer: 'I always plan assessments so that I can be sure to cover all the relevant areas. I then usually start by reviewing the organisation's policies and procedures to get an understanding of its compliance framework. I would also interview employees to get their views on compliance within the organisation. Next, I analyse my findings whilst looking for gaps between the company's compliance policies and its actual practices. After this, I create a plan to improve the company's compliance and report my findings to management.'

Related: What is traceability in business? (With types and benefits)

5. How do you manage a diverse and demanding workload?

Many compliance roles require managing a large and varied workload. In this question, the interviewer looks for evidence of your ability to manage and prioritise your work. When answering, highlight the skills you have that enable you to do this and provide examples where necessary.

Answer: 'I'm highly organised and have excellent time management skills. I start my day by assessing my workload and prioritising tasks. I'm good at estimating how long tasks take me and I keep a close eye on deadlines. I also make sure that I know what resources are available to me and to whom I can delegate tasks if necessary.'

Related: A guide on how to ace an interview (with tips and examples)

6. What advice would you give to an employee who knows about wrongdoing but is afraid of whistleblowing?

This question tests your knowledge of both compliance and employment law. A strong answer would demonstrate your understanding of the relevant legal protections for whistleblowers and how you'd advise an employee in this situation. You can talk about procedures for reporting wrongdoing and measures for protecting the employee's identity.

Answer: 'I would reassure the employee that there are legal protections in place for whistleblowers and that their identity is going to be kept confidential. I would advise them to follow the company's procedures for reporting wrongdoing and to make sure they have evidence to support their allegations.'

Related: Q&A: How long after an interview is a job offer made?

7. Why should we hire you?

This question often comes at the end of an interview and provides a final opportunity to sell yourself. To give yourself the best chance of answering this successfully, pay close attention to the job description and research the company. Emphasise the skills and experience that you have that match the key skills and qualities that they're looking for.

Answer: 'From what I've learned about your company and this role, I think my skills and experience are a great match. I have extensive experience in this area of compliance and the work I've done in previous roles shows the positive impact I can have. I'm confident I could make a valuable contribution to this company.'

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