Five Things to Look for When Hiring GRC Professionals

August 2015 Industry news

Choosing the right person to hire is incredibly difficult, regardless of what industry you are in. In the world of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), the consequences of a hiring manager making poor decisions are huge and can have a detrimental effect not only on the immediate team but the broader organization. Corporate boards, C-Suites, regulators, and investors alike continue laser-focus on managing risk within their organizations. The identification and retention of world-class talent up and down the chain of command should be top priority in the minds of all GRC executives.

Choosing the right person to hire is incredibly difficult, regardless of what industry you are in. In the world of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), the consequences of a hiring manager making poor decisions are huge and can have a detrimental effect not only on the immediate team but the broader organization. Corporate boards, C-Suites, regulators, and investors alike continue laser-focus on managing risk within their organizations. The identification and retention of world-class talent up and down the chain of command should be top priority in the minds of all GRC executives.

In order to increase the likelihood of hiring success, here are five key things to look for when evaluating GRC candidates:

  1. Subject Matter Expertise. Many employers rely on only a résumé and a verbal interview to get a read on a candidate’s knowledge/skills – which is just bad. Dedicate a substantial amount of time to testing the strength of their domain knowledge for the role (e.g. knowledge of statistical analysis, risk methodologies, regulations, audit practices, etc) and leverage other subject matter experts in your team throughout the interview process. Tools like case studies, candidate presentations, and real-world simulations can go a long way.
  2. Business Understanding. Does a candidate truly understand your business model? Often employers will hire people who have the technical expertise for their specific role, but really have no idea what the company does or how it makes money. This understanding is critical to the success a GRC professional – if you don’t know what your company does how can you possibly protect it and manage risk in a good way?
  3. Communication Skills. Verbal communication is often overlooked or compromised when it comes to hiring GRC talent due to the domain requirements of the role. The ability to consistently synthesize information and communicate technical concepts to non-technical audiences is paramount.
  4. Executive Presence. The projecting gravitas – confidence, poise, and decisiveness under pressure – is a pre-requisite in a world where things always go bump in the night and firefighting is the norm. Companies look to their GRC teams for advice and support during crises…period.
  5. Values. Hire only those whose values and ethics match those of your firm and actively screen for those qualities during the hiring process. Always check references and run comprehensive background checks for hard data points that may indicate values issues. Further, look for ‘smoke signals’ such as lying/misleading behavior, over-indexing on compensation, and general shadiness. GRC professionals should be held to the highest of standards as they are who are relied upon to keep the company safe and out of the headlines.


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