How to Conduct Investigative Interviews: A Step-by-Step Guide for HR Professionals

Conducting investigative interviews is essential for maintaining a fair and respectful workplace. This guide answers common questions and provides step-by-step advice on managing these interviews effectively.

When Is It Appropriate to Provide the Complainant’s Name?

Balancing fairness and protection is key. You need to ensure the accused has enough detail to respond to allegations, including naming the complainant. However, protecting the complainant’s identity can sometimes be more beneficial to the investigation. Use your discretion based on the specifics of each case.

Can an Organisation Dismiss Parts of a Complaint?

Yes, organizations can determine if parts of a complaint are “reasonable management action” and choose not to investigate those aspects. However, it’s important to consider the risks of not thoroughly investigating a complaint. A complete investigation can prevent future complaints and aid in resolving current issues effectively.

How to Handle Uncooperative Respondents

You cannot force someone to attend an interview or answer questions. However, their silence can impact the decision-making process. Decisions are based on available evidence, and if a respondent chooses not to provide an explanation, the evidence at hand will guide the outcome. Respondents should understand the implications of not participating.

Legalities of Recording Interviews

Recording interviews is legal if you inform the participants. It’s courteous to ask for their permission. If they decline, find alternative methods like handwritten notes or having a second interviewer. Accurate documentation is essential, regardless of the method used.

Restricting Support Persons in Interviews

Support persons should not be minors or witnesses in the same matter. Beyond these restrictions, limiting who can be a support person may cause more issues than it resolves. Allowing a preferred support person can provide comfort and fairness to the interviewee.

Providing Information to the Complainant Post-Investigation

Typically, a summary of the investigation process and findings should be shared with the complainant. Details about penalties for the accused are usually not disclosed to protect privacy. However, informing the complainant that some action has been taken is important for transparency.parency.parency.

Need some support or want to know more