What Are Corporate Investigations? An Introduction

For safety and security reasons, it is important to conduct formal investigations in many cases. Background checks are a proactive way to check information about a potential employee. According to the wall street journal, 34% applications contain lies about education, experience, and ability to perform the job functions.

It can also be done reactively if you are investigating a possible violation of workplace conduct/workplace abuse. There are two types of situations. The first type is physical violence. According to OSHA, 2 million workplace assaults and threats to violence occur each year. It is crucial to be able to investigate these incidents in order for you and your employees not to repeat the same mistakes. There are also insider threats. Insider threats are people who deliberately try to undermine a company’s reputation by selling secrets or destroying information, colluding for the benefit of other employees, and many more. It is important to know your needs and have the tools you need to conduct accurate investigations.

Background Checks and Reference Checks

Based on the criteria you set, a background check will examine a candidate’s past. Companies often check for previous employment, criminal records, credit history, and education. Background checks are essential in preventing potential employees from committing fraud in order to obtain a job. Here are some reasons background checks are so important:

  • Employers are hit with $600 billion each year by resume fraud (The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners).
  • 53% of job application forms contain incorrect information
  • 34% contain outright lies
  • 11% of applicants misrepresented their reasons for leaving a former employer

Although background checks may seem tedious, they are one of the best ways to screen candidates. You can also outsource these functions to third-party providers for as low as $35-$50 per candidate.

Reference Checks

Referencing checks are another important aspect. It can be difficult to do this right if you don’t know the reference provider. You never know who the person is on the other end of the line. It could be their uncle, mom, or friend pretending to work for an employer. To ensure that the reference is genuine, you need to be more strategic and ask the right questions. These are some suggestions for conducting a successful reference check.

Do research: You can use tools such as linkedin to contact them there and reference the conversation you had over the phone. If they don’t know what you are talking about, then you probably dealt with an imposter. You could also call the company they claim to work for and make contact that way.

You should ask prospects for at least three references. At least two references should be verbal. This will give you a balanced view of the person and their work history.

Ask questions about the job: Plan your questions carefully. Make sure to ask questions that are related to the job. When hiring for programming jobs, you shouldn’t ask vague questions such as “was he/she a great employee?”. Instead, ask “what kind of projects did they work on and in which languages?” or “Can you give me an example when they demonstrated leadership?”.

Avoid asking them questions or trying to clarify what they are saying. Statements such as “What are you saying they can program in Python?” or “We’re looking to hire someone who can work remotely. He/she did well at home.” You don’t need to direct them in any way, but you do want objective feedback about the candidate.

Discuss what they think they could improve upon: This is a great way to ask for a reference and to help identify weaknesses without making it seem like an insult to the employee. Keep in mind, however, that every employee has things they can improve upon. This shouldn’t be taken too seriously unless it is a crucial part of their job. It is also a red flag if an employee is being praised too often throughout the process. Everybody has areas they can improve upon.

Workplace Investigations

Workplace investigations are the second type of investigation. These investigations take place after a security incident occurs in the workplace. This could be an incident involving physical abuse, assault, or violation of workplace conduct. It is often best for companies to outsource the investigation of these incidents to a third-party that is experienced in this type of work. If you are a large company that is likely to deal with such situations frequently, it doesn’t make any sense to hire full-time staff. There are some things you can do to improve the results of your investigations.

Gather Evidence and Document It: This includes both digital and physical evidence to help you identify the incident. This includes video footage, emails, and text messages from corporate phones. To prove that physical evidence has not been altered, it must be stored securely and logged. Digital evidence must be authenticated, recorded, preserved, and stored so that only authorized persons can see it. This is to prove that the evidence has not been altered in any way. It is always best to make duplicates of digital evidence. This will allow you to do any forensic work using the copies to verify that the original remains intact.

Create a chain of custody: A chain of custody is a record of evidence’s collection, movement and storage. It should include evidence collection, custody, control, transfer and storage. The chain should also show the time period from collection to its admission to court. This is essential to show the integrity of evidence.

You should have a way to contact suspects and their background information. To make the investigation easier, you need to have contact information for all suspects. You should also have information about their past, complaints and any other relevant information ready before the investigators arrive.

Record all interviews This is essential because it gives you undisputed evidence of what was said. It allows investigators to concentrate on the interview and not take notes. It can also reduce the risk of aggressive interview techniques by ensuring that investigators are held responsible for what they do on camera.

Avoid using aggressive tactics. In 2006 Joaquin Robles received $7.5 million. However, this was later reduced to $700k because investigators threatened Robles with arrest if he didn’t confess. Any coercion or threats of arrest can render any confessions inadmissible.

Specific report requirements: It is important to record everything that was done during an investigation, including who did it and when. It is crucial to keep a detailed timeline and to document everything if you are ever faced with a lawsuit. These are the key points every report should contain:

  • The people involved
  • Credibility determinations and key facts
  • Guidelines or policies applicable to employers
  • Summary of witness statements
  • Specific conclusions
  • Name of the final decision-maker
  • Problems that can’t be solved
  • Employer action taken


Corporate investigations are vital to the safety, security and effectiveness of any company. Background checks and proactive investigations are essential to ensure you know the background of any person before you hire them. Imagine if someone you hire was convicted of child sex crimes. To ensure your environment is safe and to verify that the person was honest in their application for the job, you need as much information as you can. Reactive investigations are also necessary to ensure that any misconduct is properly investigated and corrective action taken. It could be firing the person, calling the police, or, if they are innocent, just doing nothing. You will only be able make that determination if you conduct the investigation correctly.