In the Quality Auditing qualification you’ll learn about variety of techniques you can adopt throughout your audit. Auditors typically pick the one or a combination of a few techniques they are comfortable with and are confident will assist them in the type of audit they are conducting. We will explore a few techniques to consider here.
Interviewing during the audit is often made far more formal than it needs to be. The auditor tries to find faults and destroys the auditee’s well-versed excuses. This is not effective at all.
The best interview is an informal session intended for the auditee to gather some information to understand the processes and parameters of the system and review any relevant documentation. This technique is usually used by the auditor to metaphorically draw a picture of the system in their mind and confirm issues from their document review in order for them to decide where to go or what to look at throughout the audit.
It is generally considered that it pays to listen twice as much as we talk. It is important that we know the process from start to finish. If we ask too many questions of input our perspective we might affect the way the auditor actually describes it. It is better to let the auditee use their own words to begin with and then use questioning to clarify areas later.
Making notes as the auditee is walking you through the system or demonstrating a particular item is a useful way of ensuring an accurate impression is obtained. In order to make the audit thorough note taking will be vital to the auditor for ensuring that all areas are covered and all queries are eventually answered.
It is unlikely that everything you have read and established from a desktop review will flow smoothly from the auditee and it is certain that questions will be required. These can act as a prompt to jog memories or to direct the conversation to a particular aspect of the system not mentioned or unclear.
Certain types of questions can be used effectively in different situations:
- Closed Questions
- Open Questions
- Directed Questions
Open questions can be general in nature and invite the auditee to explain whatever they can:
Would you explain how you test this product?
How could a problem occur in raw material receipt?
Closed questions invite confirmation of a fact:
What you are saying is that the Purchasing Manager reviews all the requisitions?
Tape would only be bought from 3M?
Directed questions would relate to a particular topic and might be used to further guide the auditee to the answer you might expect to hear based on the desktop review or earlier audits:
Could you show me how the department is structured?
Where will this aspect be controlled in the system?
Remember the auditee should be given every opportunity to demonstrate an awareness of the aspect you are looking for, even if this results in ‘Do you know that ISO 9001 requires a record of this check?’ perhaps followed by, ‘Can you show me where this requirement is controlled within the system?’
Learn More: The Different Types of Audits
Published by: LMIT