You have been invited to interview for a new role, whether it be you are actively in the market or intrigued by what is out there and where your career can take you. Either way, you will want to make sure you are prepared, confident and come across knowledgeable with peers in the industry. New Zealand is a tiny team of 5 Million which has its advantages as we have just learnt, but also in the way everybody knows everybody so you need to put your best foot forward at every opportunity – planning out your responses to the questions which you’re likely to be asked can help with this.

Here we will discover some of the questions that might come up in a risk and compliance interview, and how you can prepare your answers. We have compiled a list of common interview questions along with how best to represent yourself and the best job skills to highlight. 

Top skills to highlight during an interview to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Certain job skills can set you apart from other candidates. These include:

  • Interpersonal and communication skills, culture fit is one of the most important traits hiring managers look for at interview, and communicating with key stakeholders and regulators is key in succeeding in this industry. Be sure to make sure to provide concise focused answers.
  • Formal qualifications such as an accounting degree, law degree or MBA
  • Analytical ability
  • Proven understanding of relevant legislations / regulations along with compliance and risk frameworks.
  • The ability to lead others in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment.
  • Leadership and management experience (depending on the seniority of the role).
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Growth mindset, be prepared to see the bigger picture.

What type of questions will I be asked?

No two roles, companies or hiring managers are the same, this means you cannot predict every question you are going to be asked. We can however anticipate the direction of the interview, you are likely to be asked behavioural questions to assess your team fit and then move into some competency based / technical questions deep diving into how you have handled past situations. Research the role thoroughly beforehand and re-read the job description to ensure you can match your experience and skills to best meet the requirements and make you the top candidate they are interviewing. 

A lot of interviewers prefer to have a conversational interview or informal coffee so they can prod your experience and get to understand how you operate better.

Example questions for risk and compliance interviews

  • Tell us about the main challenges that the financial service industry is facing in the risk and compliance space?

This type of question demonstrates your understanding of the industry and if you are up to date with its latest trends, regulations and legislations. Following industry publications and events can be a good way to extend your market knowledge. 

  • What obstacles have you faced in your current role and how have you overcome them?

An interviewer will use similar questions to this to find out how you face events and deal with challenges. We recommend the STAR model is the best way to answer questions in an interview.

 STAR stands for:

  • Situation: Set the scene and context.
  • Task: Define the challenge.
  • Action: Explain what steps were taken to overcome the challenge and why.
  • Result: Highlight the positive outcome and how your personal action made an impact. Mention the lessons learned and skills gained from the experience.

Use the question to your advantage. Demonstrate your professionalism, problem-solving skills and ability to communicate and negotiate. It is a great opportunity to impress your potential new employer at the same time as providing reassurance that you’ll fit easily into their existing team.

  • What level of responsibility do you have in your current role?

This could be asked in order to evaluate your experience in management, leading a team, leading a project, or your ability to establish credibility and confident interactions with key internal and external stakeholders. Employers will focus on the numbers when qualifying your level of responsibility, so have yours ready – from the number of employees you’re responsible for, to the level of the projects you oversee.

  • In conjunction with key stakeholders when have you provided a clear strategy / vision of what “good risk management and optimisation” looks like and what key risk indicators and measures have you developed to monitor the progress as we close the gap between current and desired state?

This is definitely a question worth preparing for, as it would be difficult to make a reasoned evaluation without having brought some clear concise examples to the meeting. Be ready to share some observations about the company’s risk position, and to offer suggestions to improve its health, if this is suitable for the role you are interviewing for. Your suggestions should take into account the industry and the current market, so this question is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and business acumen.


Plan some questions for your interviewers, they will appreciate it if you show an interest in the role. If you want the role, tell them you are interested and why. Make sure you are fresh, alert and watch your body language, be punctual, dress for success, respond clearly and concisely, plan how you’ll close the interview and most importantly be yourself! 

If you would like to talk through your career or a potential new role please contact me on sdoubleday@tylerwren.co.nz or on 09 930 9828. I would also love to hear your tips and tricks, so please do send me any advice you have!