Audit Interviews

When you audit a process, you can look for evidence by observing the process, reviewing its documents, and examining its records. However, an important source of evidence is the information gained through interviews. A quick overview of the interview process is shown below:

Interview reasons

  • Supplements the documented process
  • Determines the actual defined process
  • Principal way of obtaining information
  • Allows auditee to explain work practices
  • Ascertains understanding; commitment

Interview steps

  • Interview persons at their workplace
  • Conduct interviews during normal hours
  • Put person at ease (lower anxiety level)
  • Explain your purpose (what you want)
  • Ask about their job (question; observe)
  • Verify responses (confirm understanding)
  • Check the facts (use other sources)
  • Record evidence (notes on checklist)
  • Make tentative conclusion (no secrets)
  • Give opportunity to discuss other topics
  • Thank for their time and cooperation

Remember, it is an interview, not an interrogation!

Closed questions:

  • Yes or no answers
  • Use sparingly to establish specific facts
  • “Do you keep a record of this operation?”

Open questions:

  • What, why, where, when, who, and how
  • Encourages a more complete answer
  • “What records are kept for this operation?”

Show me questions:

  • Ask to see documents and records
  • You need to see the proof of conformity
  • Avoid the possible image of distrust
  • “May I see the records for that operation?”

Investigate a claim; accept an admission.

Questioning Techniques

  • Ask question and then actively listen
  • Rely primarily on open-ended questions
  • Avoid closed question (except to confirm)
  • Ask for explanations and examples
  • Rephrase your question for clarification
  • Restate answer for your understanding
  • Keep neutral; don’t disagree or interrupt
  • Ask “suppose” or “what if” questions
  • Find basic flaws with simple questions
  • Ask the blunt question about quality
  • Nod in agreement to maintain dialog
  • Use silence for expanded responses
  • Observe unguarded facial expressions
  • Learn from remarks of nearby people

Interview Notes

  • Take brief notes (what seen and heard)
  • Explain why you are taking the notes
  • Jot down the facts (specific references)
  • Identify names and job titles (in notes)
  • Record key statements as evidence
  • Spot different answers for follow-up
  • Determine activities for further review

Interview Tips

  • Talk first to manager of area (courtesy)
  • Seek permission to interview employees
  • Include temporary and part-time people
  • Confirm understanding to avoid errors
  • Don’t get sidetracked on minor concerns
  • Don’t wait for data; continue the audit
  • Be polite and considerate at all times

Evidence Sources

  • Documents (policies, plans, procedures, instructions, contracts)
  • Statements (interviews, informed comments)
  • Observations (work environment, activities, visual findings)
  • Records (tests, reports, minutes, forms, performance data)