Phone interviews are back!

Yes. It’s in the latest update to the IST.

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I was just asked to do about 40 P’s by phone which came from DCSA. No company names mentioned, but according to guidance if a source says they “prefer” phone then you can use phone without reporting a big excuse like earthquake, flood, fire, near death experience. I found this guidance in coverage, and yes it changed but apparently nobody wants to say it out loud in an announcement.

DCSA is not directing how many P to get by phone

The guidance appears to be “it is permissible to suggest approved electronic interview methods to Subject’s and sources if no significant issues exist on the case”

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My team is currently arguing over the interpretation of the guidance because it’s so vague.

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DCSA is likely being purposefully vague in this guidance to not have everyone think they are doing this only because they want to reduce a backlog. It’s bad optics and reduces DCSA’s credibility to come out and say they are changing their interview policies AGAIN like they did in 2019 for TESI’s by telephone only for the mere fact of reducing a backlog to create better timeliness metrics so they are loosening up on the in person interview requirements but not coming out and saying that exactly to anyone.

To this day, I still don’t understand the in person vs. telephone guidance from Peraton. It’s vague and spotty. So I keep conducting interviews in person until I see an official policy memo or official guidance from DCSA.

This is where the line for ethics comes into play. If the Source prefers a phone interview or if the Subject prefers a video interview… but they are supposed to say that ‘they prefer’ it. 99% are going to answer ‘I don’t care, whatever is easier…’ so Contract Vendors are telling their Investigators too basically choose it for them to get more cases done… I don’t think this is right or honest.

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The guidance I read didn’t say anything about the source or subject having to state that they “prefer” anything. If they refuse to do it remotely, then it has to be done in person. If they say that they don’t care or that they prefer, then it can be done remotely as long as there are no serious issues, and an in person interview is not feasible. Significant local travel time has been added as one of the possible reasons for an in person interview not being feasible. I would have phrased it all differently if I had been tasked with writing up this guidance. But it’s still pretty obvious to me what is and what is not allowed.

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“Obvious” is certainly not the word I would use to describe any of it. 6 months from now when some obsessive compulsive IA investigator is re-interviewing sources and subjects and asking if they were initially offered an in person interview how will this be handled when Subjects and Sources say no? IA often has a different interpretation altogether about “significant” It’s going to take a long time for the “electronic is appropriate” mindset to override the “in person is most appropriate” to trickle down to everyone and by the time it does, the mindset will reverse.

Ask yourself what the objective of this policy change is. Is it to trick a bunch of investigators into doing remote interviews that they are not actually authorized to do so they can be fired, thereby increasing the backlog of cases? Or is it to eliminate travel time for remote cases by allowing more telephone and VTC interviews, thereby reducing the backlog of cases? I’m going with the latter.

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I think the purpose will change as time goes by and depending on whose interpreting it, hence the vague wording and wishy washy stance. Most rules regulations laws and procedures are enforced by those with discretion to use as needed. (The cop who pulls you over and uses his discretion to only give you a warning and not a speeding ticket) I think we all need to play it safe and not get too crazy with these new allowances, despite management pushing this hard for profitability reasons, it could backfire on all if we aren’t careful.

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Exactly, they are basically giving us the green light to do remote interviews. I wouldn’t overthink it.

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Electronic interview away!!! Just CYA in the process :slight_smile:

The reason I hate telephone interviews is because I can’t flash my badge with delusions of grandeur while playing bad a** Investigator and pretending I’m working a criminal investigation to boost my egotistical self-esteem and satisfy my narcissistic supply. I also refuse to look up or accept guidance on telephone interviews because I do things my way according to my needs which is not closing cases it’s satisfying my insatiable need for importance, which by the way, is a big fizzle by phone.

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I’m sure I don’t speak for everyone but getting out of the house and away from a computer screen 1-2 days a week for some in person human interaction does wonders for attitude and the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome in our hands :slight_smile: There are certainly “badge bullies” in this field who think we are investigating crimes and not just backgrounds in this job.

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I also like going on the road for interviews for the expense check

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Was just told in Feb. that phone interviews were allowed and even encouraged.

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Does the new Peraton guidance just seem like a yo yo of back and forth yes you can do phones all the time…oh wait no you can’t just some of the time when the moon is full and the stars are aligned. Is DCSA being run by indecisive children or what??? Someone at DCSA needs to have some guts and make some decisions about real guidance and give it to the contractors in a clear concise and committed manner without all this see saw yo yoing.

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Look a Peraton Source Interviews in DCSA Coverage and Reporting Guide Pg. 26 of 379. It’s basically full throttle, green light on telephone interviews. This is from DCSA because vendors wouldn’t sniffle or blink without permission from DCSA.

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I really don’t think they will try screw you over if you do too many phone interviews. I’m taking full advantage of doing stuff via phone.