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Compliance Recruitment: 4 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make


Compliance officers play a vital role in managing your company’s risk and reputation, so hiring the wrong individual can have serious consequences.

Unfortunately, even experienced hiring managers may not know what specific skills they’re seeking in a candidate or how to identify the strongest talent within this profession. They may lack confidence because these positions don’t become open very often or the hiring manager has never been tasked with filling them before.

That includes hiring a Chief Compliance Officer, which may be a first for the company.

Regardless of the reasoning, here are four compliance recruitment mistakes hiring managers won’t want to make.

1. Neglecting to Ask for Executive Level Input

The Chief Compliance Officer typically directs the search for other compliance professionals and should work closely with recruiting managers to identify qualified individuals.

If your company is just beginning to establish a compliance program, the Chief Compliance Officer ultimately chosen to lead this initiative will set the tone for the entire organization. If this individual does not meet the expectations of the C-suite, he or she isn’t likely to be a successful fit for the company. Before beginning the search for a CCO, work directly with the board and CEO to establish compliance and ethical standards and assess the organization’s risk tolerance.

These standards should provide a framework for establishing the role and responsibilities of the CCO.

The input of high-level executives should provide the primary guidelines for potential candidates. These executives should also be involved in the hiring process as much as possible.

2. Assuming All Compliance Officers Are the Same

Compliance officers, despite looking similar on paper, are not always laterally moveable professionals. Every industry has its own set of rules, regulations and guidelines, which means a compliance officer in healthcare isn’t going to have the same experiences as a compliance officer in the financial industry. Another major mistake hiring managers make is assuming otherwise.

If you’re a hiring manager interviewing compliance candidates, take the time to drill down to specific competencies and experience. What exactly was the candidate’s involvement in certain projects? How large was the company, and what was the full extent of the programs he or she led? Understanding the full scope of a candidate’s previous responsibilities and the specific role he or she played allows you to assess that candidate more effectively.

3. Depending Too Heavily on Social Media

Although social media outlets like LinkedIn can be useful research tools, hiring managers shouldn’t rely on them as a solo recruiting strategy.

These tools have limitations, particularly when it comes to recruiting compliance professionals. The candidates most likely to respond to job postings tend to be those who are actively seeking new opportunities. Many of the best candidates are passive candidates who are currently employed and do not have a resume written. They may be open to discussing the right opportunity, but they are not replying to job postings. They may not even be active on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites.

Finding these candidates requires a new approach. Consider attending networking events, nurturing professional connections or enlisting the help of a firm that specializes in compliance recruitment.

4. Under-Compensating Candidates

Talented compliance officers and Chief Compliance Officers are in high demand, so they’re commanding top dollar.

The inability to set appropriate compensation can deter qualified candidates from ultimately accepting the job and it leaves the door wide open for counteroffers. Benchmarking surveys can give you a starting point, but the numbers can vary widely depending on your industry, company size and the level of experience of the candidate you seek. Consulting with an objective third party, such as a recruiting firm, can give you a better grasp of what salary range is reasonable for your specific role.

Hiring the best compliance officer for your company starts with asking the right questions. If you’re not sure where to start, here are five interview questions you should ask every compliance officer.

5 Traits of the CCO Your Company Needs Now

Topics: Recruiting   |   Compliance


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