We've all been there - the sweaty palms, the racing heart, and the nagging question at the back of our minds: "Am I prepared enough?" Whether you're a seasoned professional or fresh out of university, job interviews can be daunting.
As an Internal Auditor, your role is to help businesses swim rather than sink in the ever-evolving sea of financial regulations and risk management. The average salary for this vital role? In the UK, it stands at around £45,000 per year, while in the US, you're looking at approximately $70,000 per year.
Now, how can you ensure you bag this rewarding job? This article will guide you through the process, with tips, strategies, and some vital don'ts for your internal auditor interview.
Job-Specific Interview Tips for Internal Auditor Candidates
To stand out from other candidates, you'll need more than just knowledge and qualifications. These tips can help you outshine the competition:
- Understand the role: Know what's expected from an Internal Auditor. Get a handle on the specific skills and competencies required, and be prepared to showcase them.
- Do your homework: Research the company and the industry it operates in. Understand their challenges and how internal auditing can help overcome these.
- Use professional language: The language you use should reflect your understanding of the industry. Be prepared to discuss industry standards, regulations, and best practices.
- Provide real-life examples: The more concrete examples you can provide from your past experience, the better. These stories can highlight your problem-solving skills and your ability to make sound decisions under pressure.
How Best To Structure Internal Auditor Interview Answers
For your interview responses to make an impact, consider using the BSTAR (Belief, Situation, Task, Action, Result) method:
- Belief: Start by expressing your personal belief or viewpoint related to the question.
- Situation: Set the context by briefly explaining the situation or challenge.
- Task: Explain your role or responsibility in that situation.
- Action: Detail the actions you took and why.
- Result: Describe the outcome, ideally quantifying the impact or benefit if possible.
The Don'ts of Internal Auditor Interviews
Avoid these common pitfalls to increase your chances of success:
- Don't be vague: Use specific examples and provide clear, concise answers.
- Don't neglect soft skills: Communication, leadership, and teamwork are all crucial for internal auditors.
- Don't forget to listen: Pay attention to the interviewer's questions and make sure you're addressing them fully.
- Don't overlook your achievements: Highlight your successes and what you've learned from past experiences.
Featured Guide: Interview Success: How to Answer Internal Auditor Questions
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As we dive deeper, we'll now get into the nitty-gritty of common internal auditor interview questions and how best to answer them...
Internal Auditor Interview Questions & Answers
"How do you maintain your knowledge in relation to changes in accounting standards and regulations?"
When asked "How do you maintain your knowledge in relation to changes in accounting standards and regulations?" describe the strategies you use to stay updated on industry changes. Mention resources such as professional memberships, seminars, or publications that help you keep abreast of changes that might affect your auditing work.
Maintaining up-to-date knowledge in relation to changes in accounting standards and regulations is crucial in the audit profession. The landscape of accounting and auditing standards is constantly evolving, and these changes can have a significant impact on our audit work. Therefore, I employ a multi-faceted approach to ensure I stay on top of these changes.
Firstly, I maintain an active membership with several professional organizations like the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). These organizations provide a wealth of resources and updates about changes in the auditing and accounting field. They also organize seminars and webinars that discuss new standards and regulations in-depth, allowing for interactive learning.
Secondly, I subscribe to several accounting and auditing publications and newsletters like the Journal of Accountancy and the Accounting Review. These resources are valuable for their timely updates and detailed articles on changes in the field.
Thirdly, I make it a habit to check the websites of standard-setting bodies like the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) regularly. Any new standards or amendments are directly posted on these sites, allowing me to stay updated.
Additionally, I attend continuing professional education (CPE) courses that focus on updates to accounting standards and regulations. These courses are useful for gaining a deep understanding of the changes and their practical implications.
Finally, I believe in the power of networking. Engaging in discussions with fellow professionals often provides insights into how others are interpreting and implementing new standards and regulations.
In conclusion, staying updated on changes in accounting standards and regulations is a continuous process that requires a strategic approach. I strive to leverage various resources to ensure that my knowledge is always current, enabling me to perform my auditing responsibilities effectively.
Responding to "What is your approach to communicating and presenting your findings to management?" requires an outline of your communication strategies. Describe how you present complex financial information in a clear, concise manner, and your experience in making recommendations for improvement to management.
Communication is a crucial part of my role as an internal auditor, particularly when it comes to presenting findings to management. I believe that to convey information effectively, it must be clear, concise, and catered to the audience's knowledge level and needs.
My approach is structured and tailored to suit the management team's preferences, but typically involves three key steps: preparation, presentation, and follow-up.
In the preparation phase, my focus is on ensuring that the findings are accurate, comprehensive, and that they tell a cohesive story. I strive to anticipate any potential questions or concerns that management might have and prepare responses in advance. To enhance the readability of my reports, I make use of graphs, charts, and other visual aids, as they often help in simplifying complex financial data.
The presentation phase involves sharing the findings and providing context. Here, I typically start with an overview of the audit process, followed by the key findings, and finally, the recommended actions. My aim is to make sure that management understands not just the 'what' but also the 'why' behind each finding. This usually involves explaining the potential impact of the findings on the organization's financial and operational performance.
Finally, in the follow-up phase, I ensure that management has understood the report and the proposed action plan. I am open to feedback and willing to make adjustments to the recommendations as per their suggestions. My ultimate aim is to collaborate with management and work towards a shared goal of organizational improvement.
Throughout my career, I have often had to present findings that were not well-received initially. However, by ensuring that my reports are evidence-based, and by maintaining a respectful, collaborative approach, I have been able to navigate these situations effectively. For instance, in my previous role at XYZ Corporation, my audit identified a significant control weakness in one of our core processes. Initially, the management team was defensive, but I had prepared for this. I was able to explain the situation clearly and discuss the potential risks associated with the issue. Eventually, they were open to my suggestions for improvement, and we were able to strengthen the control environment significantly.
In summary, effective communication of audit findings requires clarity, transparency, and collaboration. It's not just about identifying issues but also guiding the organization towards solutions.
"Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult colleague or client. How did you handle the situation?"
When asked "Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult colleague or client. How did you handle the situation?" present a situation that showcases your interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. This should demonstrate your ability to maintain professionalism and ensure productive outcomes in challenging circumstances.
During my tenure at a mid-sized manufacturing company, I encountered a situation that tested my conflict resolution and interpersonal skills. A department head, let's call him Bob, was quite resistant to the internal audit process. He viewed it as a critique of his team's performance rather than a mechanism for improvement.
Bob was uncooperative from the start of the audit, missing scheduled meetings and not providing necessary documentation in a timely manner. This posed a significant challenge as it hindered the progression of the audit.
Recognizing that it was a situation that needed to be addressed immediately, I requested a one-on-one meeting with Bob. Instead of getting confrontational, I used this meeting as an opportunity to understand his perspective. I listened to his concerns and reservations about the audit process.
He expressed that he felt that his department was being singled out and criticized. I took the time to explain that the aim of the audit was not to find faults but to identify opportunities for process improvement, risk mitigation, and efficiency. I reassured him that it was a standard procedure applied uniformly across all departments and not a reflection of his team's competence. I also emphasized the importance of his department's cooperation for the successful and timely completion of the audit.
To further foster a collaborative relationship, I offered to involve him more closely in the audit process, allowing him to see firsthand how findings were determined and how recommendations were developed.
Over time, Bob became more open and cooperative, which facilitated a smoother and more effective audit process. This experience taught me the importance of effective communication and empathy in dealing with difficult situations. It also reinforced my belief that audits are as much about people and relationships as they are about numbers and processes.