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Blog > What to Look for When Recruiting Compliance Leadership?

What to Look for When Recruiting Compliance Leadership?

Devi Narayanan
February 13, 2023
3 minutes

When it comes to hiring for a compliance leadership role, it’s important to look for certain qualities and skills to ensure the success of your organization. A strong compliance leader should have a deep understanding of relevant regulations, strong ethical standards, and the ability to communicate effectively and lead a team.

The need for hiring a compliance officer is critical. However, the process of hiring a compliance officer slightly differs from hiring any other type of P, despite some similarities in the process. 

An ideal candidate should have a track record of successfully managing compliance and implementing effective compliance processes.

This article will explore the key factors to keep in mind when hiring for a compliance leadership position.

Experience and expertise to look for

Industry knowledge

The compliance landscape is a complex one, and its readily evolving. So an ideal compliance leader must have enough industry knowledge and be a step ahead to learn what’s new in their operations industry. Remember, how much industry knowledge your compliance leader has and how eager they are to keep themselves up to date can have a crucial role in your business.

Detail oriented

Your ideal compliance leadership should be ready to dive deep into the nitty-gritty of the regulation and compliance laws. The person must be able to pay attention to details so that they are better poised to detect any compliance issues that can be intervened promptly early. For example, some specific requirements in the jurisdiction and screening tools may have different parameters. A detail-oriented compliance leader can easily identify such issues.

Problem solver

Your next compliance leader needs to be a problem solver who can proactively predict and solve issues. As the dynamics of the business environment are changing and new regulations popping up every day, the compliance leader must be adept at interpreting new regulations, should be able to assess the situation, and advise on the most appropriate action for the company. The person should also be skilled in finding an alternative solution whenever and wherever possible.

Networking with people

Networking is an essential trait for a compliance leader. Since this role requires the person to work closely with different teams, especially under pressure and crisis, building a strong rapport with people can help in a smooth workflow. Communicating effectively, fostering active listening skills, and empathizing with team members can help develop a positive relationship.

Organizational skills

The compliance leader must collaborate and work with multiple departments to ensure the overall organizational compliance program is upheld. Strong organizational skills can come in handy when dealing with different audits, reports, and timetables. So look for a person with strong organizational skills that can help establish a strong and efficient workflow in the system.

Effective communication skills

No matter how knowledgeable your leadership is, your compliance program won’t run as smoothly as you expect if they cannot communicate clearly and concisely. For example, the person has to be comfortable addressing the employees from time to time and explain complex regulatory and reporting obligations to the investors and higher management. So, look for a leader who has strong communication skills. Additionally, the person should practice active listening skills to understand many critical aspects and communicate them effectively.

Leadership skills

How your compliance function performs depends largely on who is at the helm. Your compliance leader should have strong leadership skills, which means the person must be knowledgeable and have strong industry insights, vision, and objectives for the modus operandi. The person should be able to communicate from the top down in a balanced way.

Ethical behavioral trait

Strong ethics and integrity might be the most compelling traits of a compliance leader. So look out for this trait in your next hire. You can ask probing questions like “what integrity means to you” or “have you ever faced the consequences for doing the right thing” and see how the person responds. This can help you gauge the ethical side of the candidate.

Look for regulatory and compliance issues managed in previous organizations.

Finally, don’t miss to ask for regulatory and compliance issues that the person has managed in their previous organization. Go in-depth to understand the issue, how they managed and mitigated it, and most importantly, if any penalties were paid.

Five must-ask interview questions while hiring for compliance leadership

  1. Tell us about a time when your integrity was tested. Asking this question can help you gauge the integrity of the compliance leader. A compliance leader should demonstrate strong integrity at work, and asking such questions can help you understand the leader’s true nature.
  2. How do you prioritize? A compliance leader has to work on multiple issues/projects simultaneously and often need to prioritize. Understanding the rationale behind how they prioritize tasks can help you understand how the person operates and if it fits with your organization’s culture.
  3. What was the most challenging issue you have faced in compliance, and how have you dealt with it? You can get many perspectives about the candidate by asking this question. For example, when you ask them to describe the most challenging issue, you will get a glimpse of their experience. Have they already faced a very critical issue? Is the issue not so difficult, and could it easily be mitigated? How did the person tackle the issue? Do they have enough industry knowledge? Can your organization face a similar issue in the future? If so, are you hiring the right person who can mitigate it effectively?
  4. Could you describe some measures you will take to ensure our organization is completely compliant? Or how will you implement an internal control system?Such questions need an in-depth answer which will help you understand the person’s knowledge, their working style, and how detail-oriented they are.
  5. What makes you a good compliance leader? Closely observe the points the candidate is highlighting. This will help you identify their leadership quality, strength, and, most importantly, if they are the right fit for your organization’s compliance leader.

Compliance leadership is critical in any organization; you must make an informed decision to ensure the compliance program is in the right hands. The above-discussed points will help you guide to look for the most important traits in your next compliance leader and ask the right interview questions.

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