Part One: HR Interview Tips from a Fraud Examiners Perspective

HR professionals conduct interviews with many people for a variety of reasons, whether hiring employees and vendors, conducting exit interviews or following up on an internal complaint.  It is important for them to be aware of common deceptive behaviors and how to identify them in their fellow employees.

By asking some non-sensitive questions, you can observe a person’s verbal and nonverbal behavior and use it as a gauge to help determine if further investigation may be needed.  If these behaviors change during the course of your interview, then there may be a cause for concern.

Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) use these verbal clues to identify possible deception within a company they are investigating.  These same hints can help an HR person hire the right person and take a pass on the potential problem employees:

  • Speech Pattern Changes. Change in speed of speech or voice pitch, coughing or clearing throat.
  • Repeat Questions. Asking the same question over and over again in the interview, or always asking for clarification.
  • Interview Environment Questions. Comments regarding the physical environment of the interview or frequent questions about length of interview.
  • Selective Memory. Claim to be unable to remember important or significant events or information.
  • Excuses. Making excuses about things that make them look bad.
  • Certain Words Emphasized.  Emphasizing certain words to make them appear more credible.

If there are signs of deception during an interview, what should you do next? At what stage is a fraud professional needed in the investigation and how would you go about hiring one? It may be earlier than you think.

In the next article in our series on the topic of how HR professionals and CFEs can work together, we will offer suggestions for how to investigate possible fraud without alerting the suspected employee in order to gather information in a timely and effective manner.


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