Ed. Note-this week we are running a series of Guest Posts by Milou Lammers. She is new to the compliance field and new to the legal profession, having just passed the bar. (A Big Congrats!) She has written an ongoing series about who journey to secure a job in the compliance profession. Today, she explores some of the questions you should ask your interviewers during the interview process.

If you search online what to ask in an interview you might actually get some good advice. The Google hits will tell you to ask what the day-to-day responsibilities of the job look like, what the company’s values are, and what the best part of the job is. These are all strong questions that you should be asking. However, if you are interviewing for compliance specific roles I would urge you to ask these additional three questions:

  1. How important is culture to this organization and how does your work fit into building and supporting that culture?

Compliance professionals should be knowledgeable about creating a culture of compliance and understanding the importance of building a brand within the organization that is compliant and encourages everyone to do the right thing. I have had some interesting conversations after posing this question in interviews and would encourage you to try it and see what the answer is. If building a culture of compliance is important to you, ask your interviewer about the organization’s culture and how it has changed in recent years and how they are working to maintain and improve the culture within the organization.

  1. How does the rest of the organization view your compliance department?

I find optics important in that I hope to work for a team that is seen as approachable and helpful in the compliance field and is not considered the “police” of the organization. Most companies have tried to move away from that negative connotation of always saying no to becoming a more “yes” friendly department. If you get the chance, ask your interviewer about how their team is viewed in the rest of the organization. Further, you can ask how often their helplines are used or if employees feel comfortable reaching out to the compliance department directly. These questions should give you some solid inside information about the compliance team and will show the interviewers that you understand how compliance has changed in recent years.

  1. How do you see your compliance work evolving in the next few years?

Finally, I would urge you to ask your interviewer how they think the compliance space or their specific group will evolve in the coming years. I believe that asking forward thinking questions show that you are interested in the future of the company and want to be a part of that goal and understand how that goal may evolve and change over time.

I hope that these tips have been helpful. I am starting out in my career so I am learning from my experience but I am currently living through this experience and have chosen to share it publically in order to help others in the future. I have found that few people know how to answer the question “how do I get a job in compliance?” and I would like to help you answer that by sharing my experience and help you best prepare when you do get the chance to interview for that job. If you are currently applying or gearing up to apply to a new position I would also like to wish you the best of luck – rely on your background and expertise and you will be great.

Tomorrow, looking back on it all.

Please feel free to comment or reach out to me directly at miloulammers@mac.com to further this discussion.

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