Interview Steps in an Audit

An audit is a systematic, independent, and documented process to obtain objective evidence and determine the extent to which the audit criteria have been met.  You obtain this evidence by talking to people, reviewing documents, examining records, and observing operations. This article will focus on interviewing people to gather information and evidence.

You begin an interview by putting the person at ease. Don’t jump right in with your first question. The person may be nervous about being interviewed. Lower the anxiety level with some brief and friendly opening remarks. Then explain the purpose of your visit.

Before moving into the detailed questions on your checklist, ask about the person’s job. Bring in your questions as the person describes the activities and responsibilities. Review any documents that may be referenced. Watch the person perform the work, if possible. Examine the records to evaluate process conformity. Analyze any measurements to see if objectives are being met. Determine if the process is effective.

Confirm your understanding of the process. Remember, you investigate a claim and accept an admission. If you identify a nonconformity, it isn’t kept a secret. You make a tentative conclusion. Gain the person’s acknowledgment of the facts. Take good notes for writing the nonconformity report, but do not write it during the interview. Stopping to complete a form may interfere with the flow of information.

Since you investigate a claim, you should ask for evidence. You may also need to check responses against other sources. Carefully record the information in your notes. After you finish your questions, give the person an opportunity to discuss other subjects. Don’t limit what you learn from the interview. Ask for their view on the quality of the process. There may be remaining issues if you ask about them.

Provide an informal summary of the results at the end of the interview. Give the person some positive feedback before reviewing any nonconformities. Be sure to thank everyone for their time and cooperation.