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What makes a GREAT Compliance Officer?

Compliance Officer London Great Recruitment

What makes a GREAT Compliance Officer?


‘Criminal Finance Bill’, ‘IR35’, ‘GDPR’ – these three words have become the nightmare of the recruitment sector in the past few months. With fines of up to £20 million or 4% of a company’s global revenue for breaches to the GDPR, non-compliance can be disastrous for a recruitment company. Therefore, in order to be successful and law abiding, every recruitment business needs an efficient compliance process.

To achieve efficiency in this regard, recruitment companies need great Compliance Officers. As the Contracts and Compliance Recruitment Consultant, I have been speaking to industry leading compliance professionals to find out what makes a ‘great’ Compliance Officer.

Deal blockers or enablers?

Ding ding ding!’ After several late nights in the office, a Recruitment Consultant has finally made that deal! What can possibly go wrong? Oh, the candidates compliance checks are not complete.

“We are often seen as the ‘business prevention unit. says Stuart Schuitmaker, Head of Contracts and Compliance, nGAGE Specialist Recruitment


“Sales people almost always see the compliance person as a “deal blocker” because of the compliance requirements.” Anonymous, Contracts and Compliance Manager, International Technology Recruitment Business.

Just like a linesman calls offside for a goal defying the laws of football, it is important that the compliance function is made up of Compliance Officers who make sure there are no breaches to regulations. For this, a great Compliance Officer has several attributes and a certain attitude to work.

Don’t wait to react

Compliance leaders have come to the consensus that the dual ammunition of commerciality and proactiveness from a Compliance Officer will be very valuable from a business protection perspective.

It is “fundamental to keep in mind the commercial implications of policies for clients and your organisation” Jon Clarke, Commercial Compliance Director, 6 Cats International.

“Understanding that compliance and commercial decisions can go hand in hand” is what makes a great compliance officer according to Stuart, nGAGE.

A great Compliance Officer will not just wait for things to happen and then react to them, but they will think ahead and measure consequences early on. If you have a compliance team made up of Officers who keep commerciality in mind and are proactive, then you have got yourself a winning compliance function!

“It’s being able to foresee the consequences of not adhering to legislation and treat your business as your child, ensuring you’re protecting it the best possible way.” Renata Batariere, Contracts and Compliance Manager, Penta Consulting.

As a great compliance officer, you should “have a vision of the risk associated with not following the compliance processes.” Renata, Penta Consulting.

In order to safeguard best practice, there are constant updates to existing regulations as well as an introduction of new ones. A great Compliance Officer needs to be knowledgeable and be the source of information for all current compliance requirements.

A great Compliance Officer will understand the consequences for not following procedures specifically designed to safeguard the business.

“Difficulties are in finding individuals that care about best practice and working to the business strategy.” Nicola Holt, Compliance and Payments Manager, Square One Resources.

Nicola went on to advise companies to hire “individuals who will help to create a strategy if one does not exist and live the values of the organisation.” 


So, a great Compliance Officer will be proactive in protecting the business needs and subsequently supporting the growth of business. But, what about the bridge between the compliance function and the sales team?

When it comes to answering this question, ‘approachable’ seems to be the most common adjective used to describe a great Compliance Officer.

“Even experienced recruiters shouldn’t be expected to know every single thing about a customer contract or legislation, so they should feel able to approach their compliance team for advice and support”. Claire Beasley, Compliance Manager, Guidant Group.

“It’s extremely important for people to feel comfortable enough to come and speak to us.” Stuart, nGAGE.

“You need to be willing to help, a Compliance Officer is basically support for the consultants and the business, do what you can to support them… consultants will appreciate your willingness to help.” Emily Tang, Contracts and Compliance Manager, Marlin Green.

Never say never

And, finally, of course, what differentiates a great Compliance Officer to a good one is that they appreciate the reasons behind why they are doing what they do. This is because such Compliance Officers are more prone to being solution-orientated.



A great Compliance Officer will “understand why compliance is important rather than treating it like a tick-box task”. They will “understand and know the rationale behind the requirements. If this is done, then it is easier to find solutions.” Jacqueline Knowles, Group Compliance, Healthcare Recruitment.

Once a Compliance Officer appreciates the motivation behind their role, they are more likely to “always try to make a scenario work before saying no.” Stuart, nGAGE.

It is key for a Compliance Officer to be able to “find a solution which works for everyone” rather than going for the easiest option. Stuart, nGAGE.

In order to achieve this, however, “A great Compliance Officer remains calm, regardless of the situation.  Is level headed and able to solve any problem, ethically and efficiently.” Nicola, Square One Resources.


It is safe to say that with the right attitude to work and a commercial mindset, it is possible to become a great Compliance Officer. Knowing how to communicate with people, keeping up to date with regulations, and being proactive are the core features of what makes someone stand out in this profession.


So, if you are looking for a GREAT Compliance Officer who is going to be an enabler within your business, or if you are a Compliance professional looking for your dream job, then contact me on OR 0203 805 5221.


To have a look at our latest jobs in Compliance, click here!