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Communication Tips for Successful Investigation Interviews

Communication Tips for Successful Investigation Interviews

Improving your investigation interview communication skills ensures you get all the information you need from your subjects.

Conducting an investigation interview can be stressful for all parties involved. You may be dealing with a hostile, reluctant, or frightened interviewee. Or you may be frustrated or challenged when trying to get your questions answered and the information you need.

How you communicate can make a real difference between a successful workplace investigation interview and one that leaves you needing more information and feeling frustrated or stressed.

Don't let poor investigation interview communication skills bring down your whole case.

Download our free eBook to learn interview techniques that will help you gather more and better information from your subjects.

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You probably feel you are an experienced communicator, but there is always room for improvement. Good investigation interview communication skills can lead to better results.

Here are some suggestions that can help to improve your communications for a stress-free investigation interview.

Set the Stage

  • Begin strong. Effective communication begins with clear and accurate content. Establish why the subject is there and what your goals are for the interview.
  • Prove you are trustworthy. Show a genuine interest in the person, empathize with their roadblocks or dilemmas, and follow through on the ways you say you will help.
  • Communicate face-to-face whenever possible. Face-to-face communication helps to avoid misunderstandings. Gestures, smiles, eye contact, nodding, open body posture and other non-verbal cues help the other person to understand the meaning of the words being spoken. They also help the interviewee to feel comfortable and to understand your intentions.

Build Rapport

  • Be clear in your intentions. Take time to articulate your meaning and never speak in haste. Explain why you are talking with the interviewee and why you need the information.
  • Have good listening skills. This is crucial to a successful investigation. Conflict often arises from poor listening. Paraphrasing what was said shows that you are listening and is an excellent tool to verify accuracy.
  • Question. Asking questions is one of the most important investigation interview communication skills. It sends the message that you are listening and conveys that you are understanding what is being said.

RELATED: How to Build Rapport in Investigation Interviews

Mind Your Words

  • Keep on-track. Limit the discussion to the facts.
  • Stay positive. Providing positive feedback encourages open communication. Having a positive attitude will help the interviewee feel comfortable when giving their responses to your questions.
  • Speak in a moderate tone of voice. This comforts people and helps them to open up. It also may keep them from going on the defensive.
  • Avoid assumptions. Always be open to subtle signals and clarify what they are saying. Never assume you have the information right without verifying it.

RELATED: Dealing with and Diffusing Anger During a Workplace Investigation Interview

Healthy communication is the best foundation for a successful investigation interview.

Timothy Dimoff

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues.
He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University.