I’m Dave Thompson, CFI and today I want to talk about the importance of challenging your evidence during the investigation before you ever conduct some type of accusatory interview.
If you’re going to sit down and you’re going to accuse somebody of wrongdoing based off of your evidence, it’s your duty and your job to make sure you’ve conducted a thorough investigation before you ever do something in the realm of that. What I mean by challenging the evidence is don’t take for granted that just because something was provided to you by an analyst, some type of data, an email, or video that there’s not an alternative explanation to why that information was presented.
For example, if you are given a printed email of some type of harassing or inappropriate language from one coworker to the other, it’s possible that email was actually fabricated. Maybe somebody created it and just printed it and gave it to you. Maybe it was never sent. Before we conduct that interview, I would partner with my IT department and see if can we validate that this email was actually sent in the way that it’s displayed.
Maybe you have exception reporting software, and you have data that shows a certain employee did some type of exception, some type of anomaly that clearly warrants a conversation. If I’m going to conduct the investigation, I’m going to use all of my tools available to try to determine what was fraudulent, was there intent for wrongdoing, or is it a training issue before I conduct that interview.
Even video surveillance can be misleading, and I think we see that every day when you watch the news or if you’re on social media and you see small clips of different events. It’s very easy to change somebody’s perspective when you don’t see the entire event take place.
Our job as an investigator is to look for the truth and get all the relevant information to help us resolve that case. Next time you’re about to step into an interview, especially if you’re going to try to accuse somebody of doing something wrong, make sure that you’ve done a thorough investigation first, and then also make sure you continue that investigation after the interview takes place.
This interviewing tip is provided by the International Association of Interviewers.