Interview Preparation

Chapter 1: Investigation Interviews: A Best Practices Guide

Posted by Dawn Lomer in on March 3rd, 2015
Chapter 1: Interview Preparation

Interviews are key to any investigation. For that reason, it’s essential that you plan carefully, create a welcoming atmosphere and ask the right questions. In particular, it is important to review the initial complaint and create a list of case-that investigation interviews run smoothly and generate useful information. Before getting down to business and interviewing complainants, subjects and witnesses, consider the following factors:

Interview Location

Choose a location where the interviewee will feel comfortable to speak frankly and honestly. An off-site conference room would be ideal; conversely, a cubicle next to the interviewee’s supervisor obviously would not be a good location. The environment in which the interviewee will feel comfortable can play a significant role in shaping the outcome of the interview. The right location can help to put the interviewee at his or her ease, thereby increasing the opportunity interviews take place within the workplace, as other employees may recognize cases it may be necessary to choose a different location for each interview in order to ensure the comfort of your interviewees.

Get the Facts

Before you begin planning the interview itself, you should take some time to assemble all available case-related information. Some of this information will come from the initial complaint. You should also be well-versed in all relevant laws, workplace policies and procedures. Familiarity with company policies can make it easier for investigators to explain the need for the investigation to both the complainant and the subject.

Prepare Questions

Once the facts have been collected and reviewed, plan ahead by drafting a series of general questions related to the case at hand. Although every investigation interview is unique, each interview typically includes a number of standard questions. To save time, develop a template that includes these commonly asked questions. You can then refer to the template during each interview. Thinking about your questions prior to the interview will help to ensure that information is collected the first time, thus eliminating the need for follow-up discussions. Of course, as the interview progresses you will most likely think of additional questions. Hence it is generally unrealistic – if not impossible – to prepare all of your questions prior to the interview.

Documenting the Interview

Once the facts have been collected and reviewed, plan ahead by drafting a series of general questions related to the case at hand. Although every investigation interview is unique, each interview typically includes a number of standard questions. To save time, develop a template that includes these commonly asked questions. You can then refer to the template during each interview.

Chapter 2: Cover Basics Before You Begin

Chapter 3: Complainant Interviews

Chapter 4: Subject Interviews

Chapter 5: Witness Interviews

Chapter 6: Determining Credibility

 


Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Managing Editor

Dawn Lomer is the managing editor at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.