Interviewing witnesses and suspects is a critical part of any fraud investigation. There are tons of resources out there to help fraud investigators learn how to be effective interviews. There are books, videos, courses, and certifications. I’m going to quickly cover some of the high points of interviewing here.
Fraud investigators are continually in question-and-answer mode when trying to understand a company, its operations, the players, and the suspected fraud. Much of this is done informally, with an information exchange between employees and investigators.
A big part of interviewing involves having the right demeanor and body language. People who are uninvolved in the fraud and are giving you information want to feel comfortable doing so, and they want to know that the investigator is listening. That has to be accomplished while directing the discussions so that time is not wasted on much unnecessary commentary. There must be a focus on the items that will help solve the case.
The best interviewers are able to connect with those being interviewed in a way that makes them want to help and provide information. They have a way of guiding the discussion while listening to the person giving information. They do not interrupt a lot, and even when they need to focus the interviewee, they do it in a way that does not seem like an interruption. Excellent interviewers have the ability to put the interviewee at ease. They are professional in their demeanor, yet relaxed enough that the interviewee feels comfortable sharing information.