Etiquette for Investigators when Interviewing References?

Hi all, I’m currently going through a background investigation and an investigator is contacting my personal references. I’ve had a prior investigation so I am familiar with how the process works.

My reference was contacted by my investigator and asked to meet today (10/18) because it is the only day he is available to meet with her. My reference told him that she can meet with him on her lunch hour, but it’s a gray area of whenever she gets a break from her orientation. She just started a new job as a physician so she does not have a set schedule yet. The investigator told her he can meet from 11 am - 12 pm and asked if she can travel to Brooklyn to meet him. For context, my friend works in the Bronx. She said she would not be able to but if he can meet her at the hospital she works at, she can run downstairs for a few minutes. He proceeded to tell her if she can’t meet him in Brooklyn, he will just ask me to give him a new reference.

I am wondering if this is normal. The previous investigators who have contacted my references have always been accommodating to my references, asking them where would be a good place to meet and what time works for them. I also don’t believe there is a major deadline as my personal BI said the report has to be submitted by November 30th so we (me and my investigator) can meet within the next couple of weeks.

It is still a few hours before they are set to meet when I am posting this, but I will update to see how he responds if she is not able to meet with him today.

UPDATE: She was supposed to meet him at 11. She told the investigator she can run down from her class quickly. However, he said there was traffic and would not be able to arrive until 11:20. She said that would not work so the investigator asked if she could meet tomorrow at 11 AM. Tomorrow is a Saturday and my reference explained she had prior plans. He asked if she can meet on Monday and that would be his absolute final day he will meet her. She said it’s not possible due to her orientation schedule. The investigator ended up calling me and asked for another person to interview because my reference “clearly does not have time” to talk. I ended up giving him another personal reference (but this one is out of his geographic scope) so he will not be interviewing him.

Also, sorry if this is too much information, or possibly standard, but the same investigator interviewed another reference yesterday. He asked if I did any drugs which is understandable. My reference took a guess and said probably birth control and the investigator asked “which kind is she taking and through what method?” To me that sounded a little personal, even for a high Tier investigation.

Any insight on how this investigator has been proceeding?

I’d go ahead and say the investigator is definitely being a bit unprofessional. Clearly your reference is willing to be interviewed and the investigator is just trying to make things work for HIS schedule. I remember when I first applied to this job, I agreed that I would be willing to meet with people outside of normal business hours, including weekends if needed. I always tell references that I’m willing to meet them whenever and wherever they are comfortable with and so far I have never had a problem. If there is already one reference WILLING to meet, then there is no reason to not try everything possible to meet with them and conduct the interview before trying to move onto another person.

As for the whole birth control thing, we only ask about illegal use of drugs. Last I checked birth control wasn’t an illegal drug and I definitely think the investigator overstepped by asking for more details about it


Thank you for your reply! I told my reference that NBIB sends a survey a few weeks after asking how their experience was and he can complete it as he sees fit.

Per the second part of your comment, would the investigator explicitly ask about illegal drugs or just drugs in general? I am just wondering because I don’t think my reference would have even stated birth control if the word illegal had come into question.

Yes, the investigator should explicitly ask about any knowledge of involvement with illegal drugs or the misuse of prescription medication. I definitely think the question about how your birth control is taken is highly inappropriate and has no relevance to the investigation.

Not once would I even think to ask that. I can’t think of a single reason how someone being on birth control would ever factor in to any sort of suitability criteria.


They’re required to ask about illegal drug use and misuse/abuse of prescription drugs. But conceivably there could be a situation where a reference could mention what they/others might construe as misuse or abuse of an OTC drug/medication that would require clarification by an investigator. E.g. “Nah, Bill’s totally clean, no alcohol or drug issues… haha… other than using Nyquil as a nightcap on an occasion.” :face_with_monocle:

But alas, the bureaucratization of the delineation of the parameters of what is required to be asked and reported is the reason the BI process will be extinct in the near future.

I wonder if the investigator thinks women get high on birth control?! That is the oddest question! I would’ve never asked for details on that. I agree with what others said. I try to make it work with my schedule, but make every effort to accommodate someone else’s schedule. I’ve met with people in evenings and on weekends when they couldn’t meet me during business hours. Ask for investigator’s badge number and which company he works for (if he is a contractor or Fed). His business card should have the company info. You can always make a complaint after your investigation is completed.


Tell her to request the interview via phone

I already gave the investigator a new contact but I don’t believe those are allowed? I could be completely wrong but all of my references have always been interviewed in person.

Under certain circumstances, phone interviews are allowed (for references). If one is requested, the investigator will clarify if they can do it or not.

Any source who says to an investigator “I want to do it over the phone,” 90% of the time they will do it via phone. There are certain situations where it is to be done in person but for the most part it can be done

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Phone interviews are allowed under certain circumstances, especially if requested by your reference. Birth control should have never been discussed and it was inappropriate for the investigator to ask any follow-up question unless it was suggested that you were taking birth control illegally.

FYI, I’ve seen both sides of this coin. I have always tried to be flexible, but I have also had sources string me along and end up wasting my time before. It isn’t practical on most days for investigators to drop everything and meet someone on a whim. That being said, if your investigator gave her a time of 11 am and was running 20 minutes late, then they need to swallow that loss as that is not your reference’s fault.