I have my first CoSec interview coming up. Help!

by Mark Chambers on 13 December 2018
I have my first CoSec interview coming up. Help!

So, have you got a Company Secretarial interview coming up? Nervous? Not sure how to prepare? Read on. I’ve set out below a range of questions to prepare for, which are especially key for junior CoSec interviews.

What is your understanding of the role of a Company Secretary?

Top tip: Come up with a succinct, structured and well thought-through response. Don’t try and make it up on the spot. I advise breaking this down into digestible chunks so that you can comment on the Company Secretary’s role in relation to:

-the board

-the company

-the shareholders

BUT, I would also make the point that the role varies greatly depending on what level you’re at and what sector you’re in. You don’t want them to think that on day one, you’ll expect to be in Board meetings, advising the Chairman!

So, I see you’ve taken a law degree, aren’t you looking to qualify as a solicitor?

Do say: I took a law degree as I felt it would give me a good range of transferable, technical skills and during the course, I became aware of the role of a Company Secretary. The more I researched it, the more I became interested and so now this is the route I’m really committed to pursuing.  

Don’t say: Yes, qualifying as a lawyer is not out of the question; it is also a great career path, so I’m keeping my options open, really.

Why? Well, they’ll think on the first sniff of a training contract, you’ll be off and are not committed to working as a Company Secretary. (I’m not suggesting this is fair, by the way.)

Why do you want to be a Company Secretary?

Top tip: Say this answer back to yourself and make sure it sounds genuine and convincing. Everyone will have a different reason. Use it as an opportunity to show that you have done your research on the role, the sector and the industry, in general. Have a think about how your previous skills or experience may complement this career path also.  

How do you intend to qualify?

Top tip: do your research, be very clear and show that you have thought this through. What modules are you going to take first, how are you going to study etc? Visit the ICSA website and get in touch with them! For example, ‘I was speaking to a representative at ICSA recently actually and it was confirmed that I would be entitled to two exemptions in light of my previous studies’ Nice.

How do you feel about taking on admin-based work?

Top tip: Embrace it! Don’t request or expect high level work from day one because if you do, they’ll assume you’ll get bored quickly. This is especially important if you have extensive academic qualifications.

Know what’s going on in the market

-have a good scan through the ICSA website;

-talk to people who are currently working as Company Secretaries;

-have a look through social media to get a feel for what is happening in the industry; and

-read the Governance and Compliance magazine – found at www.icsa.org.uk

AND try to include some/all of this in the conversation to show you’ve done your research.  

Also, take a look at my other article on more generic interview advice:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4ps-interviewing-mark-chambers-acis-/

Hope this is helpful – let’s hear of your own experiences, What did you get asked? How did you get on? What could you have done better?

Good luck!

About the author

Mark is an ACIS qualified Chartered Secretary and places Company Secretaries into professional services and in-house roles. Mark is a member of the ICSA and previously worked in-house as a Company Secretary in FTSE 100/250 listed companies.