36 internal audit interview questions (with sample 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.

If you're interested in risk management and have good critical thinking and analysis skills, a career as an internal auditor may be rewarding. Internal auditors provide objective evaluations of a company's finances, governance and operational processes. If you're interviewing for an internal auditor role, preparing responses to common interview questions ensures you give confident answers and attract the attention of hiring managers. In this article, we outline some general, experience and education-based and in-depth internal audit interview questions and provide sample answers for you to consider.

General internal audit interview questions

General interview questions are non-specific to the position and help employers learn more about your personality and traits. Hiring managers also use your answers to determine whether you're a good culture fit for the company. Prepare to answer general questions first as employers typically use them to lead to more in-depth questions that require extra detail. Some general internal audit interview questions include:

  1. Why did you apply for this position?

  2. Why might the company hire you?

  3. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  5. Why do you want to work for this company?

  6. What motivates you?

  7. How do you handle stress?

  8. What are your hobbies and interests?

  9. What is your proudest professional achievement?

  10. What are your salary expectations?

Related: What are internal audits? (A complete guide)

Internal audit questions about experience and background

These questions allow hiring managers to determine whether you have the necessary knowledge, experience and education to succeed in the role. Be sure to accentuate different skills and experiences to those outlined in your CV and cover letter where possible. Focus on emphasising knowledge or achievements that relate to the internal auditor position. Some internal auditor interview questions about experience and background include:

  1. Why are internal audits necessary?

  2. What might you do after an internal audit?

  3. Give an example of a suggestion you made that your workplace implemented.

  4. What would you do if you had a conflict with the upper management team?

  5. Tell us about a serious operational issue you encountered in the past. How did you discover it and what solutions did you recommend?

  6. What are the main responsibilities of an internal auditor?

  7. Are you recognised by the Institute of Internal Auditors?

  8. What is your experience of working with auditing software programmes?

  9. What do you imagine a typical day in work for an internal auditor is like?

  10. What do you consider the main auditing risks in a company of this type?

  11. Have you ever detected a case of fraud? What process did you follow?

  12. How has your experience/education prepared you to be an internal auditor?

Related: The 7 types of audits and what they are useful for

In-depth internal auditor questions

In-depth internal auditor interview questions help employers determine your evaluation and business practices. It allows them to determine how you might conduct your job and whether you have the specialist knowledge necessary to explain complex auditing procedures. Some in-depth internal auditor skills include:

  1. Explain the steps to prepare for and perform an internal audit.

  2. Can you describe substantive tests?

  3. What are the purposes of the International Standards of Auditing (ISA) 610 and the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) standards?

  4. What are the differences between regulatory or statutory audits and performance audits?

  5. What procedure do you use to prepare and conduct an internal audit?

  6. What are the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and how are they used?

  7. What are the principal audit risks our company could face in the present and the future?

  8. What is your opinion on cooperating with external auditors?

  9. What do you know about information technology controls?

  10. Where and how do you gather important raw data? How do you analyse them?

Related: How to conduct a financial audit with detailed instructions

Internal audit interview questions with sample answers

Learning how to answer common internal auditor interview questions helps you feel calmer and more prepared before an interview. Where possible, it's recommended you use the STAR method for answering interview questions. STAR stands for situation, task, action and results. This means you start by outlining the situation and detailing the tasks that need accomplishing. You then describe the actions taken to complete these tasks and the outcome of these actions. Using the STAR method ensures you contextualise your answers and give a thorough response. Some internal audit interview questions and sample answers include:

1. Why did you apply for this position?

Hiring managers ask this question to ascertain how much you know about the company and the position for which you're applying. Do some research before the interview to learn about the most important areas of the company and the departments that require internal auditing. Doing so allows you to provide a more detailed and tailored response to the question while showing your genuine interest in the company and its background.

With regards to the position, demonstrate your passion for improving business processes and any relevant experiences you have that helped you uncover this passion. Mention previous successes in other internal auditor roles where applicable to show your passion translates into hard work. For instance, you could explain how you helped a previous employer save money by streamlining business processes.

Example: 'Your business is constantly growing and capitalising on new opportunities. This is exciting as it allows me to use my internal auditing skills to evaluate new avenues and integrate them into existing practices. Your continuous growth also means there's always a need to reconfigure processes to match it, which is a challenge I look forward to handling. I've also contacted a number of employees at your company who speak highly of its friendly atmosphere and great employee benefits.'

Related: Internal auditor qualifications (with duties and skills)

2. What are the main responsibilities of an internal auditor?

This question assesses your familiarity with the roles and responsibilities of an internal auditor. In your reply, demonstrate that you have a good working knowledge of the position and are able to succeed in it. Make your answer brief and to the point, listing the responsibilities most pertinent to the role. Try and mention duties that align with the job description without quoting it word for word.

Example: 'The main responsibility of an internal auditor is to evaluate an organisation's risks and expenditure against a set standard. The role involves keeping track of the company's accounting, financial and internal practices to make objective assessments and evaluations. Other duties include communicating findings through presentations and reports, recommending improvements to strengthen internal controls, representing teams during audit meetings and analysing business data and information systems.'

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

3. Can you describe substantive tests?

This in-depth question tests your working knowledge of internal audit processes. It ensures that you understand why reviewing documents is important as substantive tests examine financial statements and other supporting documentation for discrepancies and errors. Substantive tests help companies ensure financial documents are complete and accurate, thereby reassuring investors and preventing fraudulent activity.

Example: 'Substantive testing is an auditing procedure that involves examining financial statements and other supporting documents for errors and mistakes. During this process, auditors examine the document they receive thoroughly and identify and correct small errors that may seem insignificant to others. Yet, by correcting these errors, the auditor could save the company a lot of money and prevent fraud. Substantive testing, therefore, guarantees the accuracy of all financial documents.'

4. What do you know about information technology controls?

This question assesses your understanding of certain terms related to the position. While this type of question is broad, make sure you're concise in your answer by starting out with a definition. Follow with your general understanding of information technology controls based on previous experience. Grounding your knowledge in practical experience is a good way to demonstrate that you're qualified for the position and have the necessary experience prerequisites.

Example: 'IT controls are policies or procedures that provide assurance that IT systems used by the company operate as intended. This reassures companies that data is reliable and that the company is operating in compliance with existing laws and regulations. During my previous role as an internal auditor, I implemented an IT control to increase security and risk management in the company. This implementation created an audit trail so that I could monitor risk management software and ensure it was well-maintained.'

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