We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then,
is not an act but a habit.”
2021 is Cruising Along!
What an incredibly strange year we have just gone through. Think about all the things that have changed, at work, at home, with your activities, and your life. I never could have imagined this past year. It has really changed everything.
In my sphere of in-person interview training it essentially curtailed all work and jobs. Consequently, I have moved to web-based training and interactions, much like many of us have. No more in-person contact. Anyone who knows me or have attended any of our training has an idea of how much I rail about the importance of in-person, face to face interactions and interviews. Wow did that fly out the window.
So how has COVID affected auditing, investigations, and interviewing? Well, it has done the same thing I was forced to do which is moving to the computer, Zoom, and other technological solutions. We had to do what we had to do. But now what? What do we do now, continue the new paradigm with its consequences, or strategically assess what is best to fulfill our mission and mandates?
As we come out the other side of this pandemic will we return to how we did it, or establish a new “normal”? From what I know and my interactions with other professionals in the field, it appears a new “normal” will be established. The cost and time savings of Zoom and telephone interviews is remarkably attractive to management and organizations. It is a perfect “do more with less!” All the essential metrics that can be completed in less time. There is no consideration of the consequences from a quality of results position or mission mandate. Many are too short-sighted and mission blinded.
Many investigators, auditors, and others do not have a problem with the new norm. They like it because they can stay in the safety of their domain and not venture out for face-to-face contact. We have a generation that like our devices. They, too, do not consider the quality of the results obtained, nor what they were hired to do.
If this is our lot as investigators and auditors, we are selling our profession and responsibilities far short of what is required. Have we examined our mission, statutory responsibilities, and ethical imperatives in making that decision? Look at what we are mandated to do. Can we do that in this new era and under these current constraints?
There certainly are some areas where the new paradigm works, but the reality is that you will not have success in getting an interviewee to tell you the truth on the telephone or on Zoom. The clear psychology of interviewing requires that in-person interaction with the establishment of rapport, the creation of commonality, the observation of verbal and non-verbal behaviors, and so many other essential areas that do not translate on a technology platform. I mean, personally, think about how it is much easier to lie on the telephone.
The question is, are there enough leaders in the field that recognize the factual information surrounding this and will step up and identify it, metrics or not? Are there enough who understand their missions and what they require in the arena of auditing and investigations? I hear so often that audit and investigation are not revenue generating resources in organizations but done right they absolutely make entities more fiscally sound, profitable, and healthy. It is like saying an ethical company cannot be profitable, when in reality an unethical one will absolutely fail given time.
What do we do moving forward?
Well, we strategically plan for our future based on our mission and what must be realized. Although some well-devised changes may be in order, the concept of minimizing in-person interviews where obtaining the truth is essential is foolhardy. We need to get back out there interviewing face-to-face. And given the past year, we need to get over some bad habits we have developed during our excessive chronic texting and via Zoom “dumbation.” These have not contributed to good communication skills or do they translate into good interviewing.
Get some training that will equip you to get to the bottom of the issue. Even before this pandemic, research clearly indicated a scarcity of quality and consistent interview and soft skills training. The research established the need and yet the minimal response of managers and leaders to fulfilling the need.
We are in a new era where our work will be examined and dissected over and over. We must have the ability to complete our missions with integrity and an ethical position beyond reproach. Let us make sure we are equipped as best as possible to fulfill that mandate. This requirement transcends the questioning workforce from onboarding to those with years completing interviews. Research has clearly established numerous areas that benefit from refresher interview training, beyond just providing a greater confidence in what we do.
Anderson Investigative Associates is positioned to custom tailor training to your specific needs. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the above or any training need, please reach out to me. Additional issues pertaining to interviewing and investigations can be found in other blogs that I have written and are contained in most blocks of instruction that our company presents.
If you have additional questions, comments, or have an interviewing topic you would like me to address, give me a shout. In the meantime, be well and stay safe out there.
Mark A. Anderson
Director of Training and Development
Anderson Investigative Associates, llc.
114 Loucks Avenue
Scottdale, PA 15683