Hiring for Internal Audit – Everyday Challenge

I recently read an interesting post by Norman Marks on risk management where he posed a question to a Big 4 consultant and didnt get a answer. The question was about managing risk when hiring someone. You can read the full post here (http://normanmarks.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/a-risk-management-challenge-for-you/).

This got me thinking about hiring for Internal Audit. Given the importance of the function and the absolute need to have skilled staff, how do audit functions ensure they get the right people.

Having hired for a number of years now in India, I can tell you its a challenge to get right people. One needs to assess if the person understands risk and controls, can the person write up and issue can he/she negotiate the issue with senior management, will the person be a self starter who can really dig into a process to find issues or will he just do the minimum to complete the documentation, is she a quick learner?

So how do you ensure you get the super star auditor every time? Well you rely on the resume, ask questions maybe get a case study completed, check reference. All good practices.

But do we have controls in place to take care of the human factor? Which forces us to make compromises when there are multiple forces pulling the hiring manager. I am sure a lot of you reading this will be thinking that in your company you have the right controls, and it maybe so.

However, that is not the case everywhere. A lot of times junior auditors are hired based on call taken by only one person in the team or a the candidates for the head of audit position is interviewed by peers and CEO for shortlisting.

So do we need more independence in the hiring process and how should it be brought in?

A few options are to either train HR to interview internal auditor on functional aspects so that they question the audit team if a good candidate is not selected or you take outside help.

Do you agree?

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