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  • Writer's pictureJoel Scoby

Top 10 Best Practices for Conducting Remote Investigative Interviews

The events of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating to say the least. But for many businesses and organizations, life must continue on. For those within HR departments, lawyers and other workplace investigators, remote investigative interviews are now the new norm. With that being said, here are the top 10 best practices for conducting remote investigative interviews.

  1. Conduct interviews in a private and closed space within the home.

It’s important that the setting in which investigative interviews are normally conducted doesn’t change regardless of the fact that it’s likely taking place within the individual’s home. However, it’s still possible to conduct these interviews by ensuring the interview takes place in a private and closed space. This is somewhere that’s going to ensure the conversation isn’t overheard by anyone and there isn’t any chance that the interview will be interrupted at any time.

(Image Credit: Employment Solutions)

However, in these exceptional circumstances, it can be easier said than done. Even though this may prove difficult for some, it’s important to stress the importance of this space being set up beforehand.

  1. Be vocal in saying that you do not give consent for them to record the interview.

When you’re in the presence of the interviewee, the necessary checks can be made to ensure they’re not concealing any listening device that could compromise the investigation on your part. Therefore, it’s important that when doing a remote investigative interview, you clearly state that your consent is not given in recording the interview, should that person attempt to do so in order to use it against you.

  1. Ensure all sensitive information and applications are closed on screens.

As you’ll be conducting the interview over a screen, it’s critical to both parties that all sensitive information that might currently be open or applications for example, are closed. This is to protect both yourself and the interviewee from having any of their data exposed or potentially accessed. With remote access, it’s not 100% secure as it would be within the typical environment of an investigative interview.

  1. Be sure to keep any hard copies of investigative documents in a secure location.

When working remotely from home, there’s not the same level of security or protection of often confidential and sensitive files. With that being said, any documents that are hard copies, and need to be filed, should go somewhere in the home that’s secure. A locked file cabinet or drawer is likely to be the most ideal solution. It’s not completely secure but in the scenario we’re in, it will have to do.

(Image Credit: SOS Office Supplies)

  1. Organize a secure disposal for any investigative documents.

Investigative documents aren’t like any usual letters or documents you’d receive in the mail or have lying around the home. They can’t simply be disposed of in your household trash or even within the recycling. A lot of this information will be confidential and sensitive and should it get into the wrong hands, then you could be faced with legal action against you.

Instead of doing this, make sure you’re organizing a secure disposal service that is specifically designed for getting rid of sensitive and confidential documents in the right manner. This is the best way to ensure the documents are destroyed properly.

  1. Don’t use personal devices for sending, receiving or storing information.

This is often a big no-no when it comes to anything work-related and that’s using your own personal device in order to send, receive or store information. Your own personal device is likely going to have the same security in place or should it be stolen or lost by your own doing, then this could make it more complicated in being able to retrieve the information or to wipe it from the device.

  1. Avoid conducting investigative interviews in public.

As much as it might seem convenient to head over to your local park to conduct an interview, this can prove to be very dangerous. You never really know who might be listening or watching and therefore, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to having that information shared or having your belongings stolen by someone who might find value in the data that’s on your devices.

  1. Don’t use public WIFI to conduct interviews or any other tasks relating to the investigation.

WIFI is known for being notoriously bad for using when accessing confidential information. Public WIFI can often be compromised and so anyone linking up to the WIFI itself could be putting their data at risk. Try not to use it for your work devices or whenever you’re sending information linked to part of the investigation.

(Image Credit: Karma)

9. When videoconferences concern attorney-client matters that are privileged, the counsel should state that this is the case and remind participants not to engage in separate electronic conversations in regards to the meeting.

This one is important in making sure that everyone is abiding by the rules that have been set out in regards to these scenarios. Being vocal can ensure everyone is on the same page from the beginning.

10. Always study the technology you’re about to use, before the interview takes place.

When you’re using remote technology, it can often be a bit of minefield for some to use for the first time. With that being said, it’s always best to take a look at the technology or software you’ll be using and offering any guidance necessary to the interviewee too. That way, you can make sure that everything goes ahead smoothly and as planned.

Umbrella Security Services offers all types of security, safety and investigative solutions to help businesses and those needing assistance. It’s worth getting in touch with us, if you need help in conducting interviews safely from a remote environment.

Want to know more about how to conduct remote investigative interviews? Click here.

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