What do I do if someone will not give me a straight answer during a workplace investigation?
First of all, we need to check our bias. Some languages are not as straightforward as English and not as straightforward as American English. And so, particularly if we have someone where English or the US culture is not their native culture, we need to check that they are not simply nervously communicating. Investigations are nerve-wracking for people. So nervously communicating in a way that's consistent with their native communication styles. That being said, we do ultimately need answers during a workplace investigation. And so sometimes, the way you ask a question can help people realize why you keep asking the same question. And so obviously, if it's just a matter of nerves or they don't understand you or know what you're getting at, try asking your question differently.
But we can also say, "Hey, I asked you if you stole the car. I wrote that down in my notes, and I cannot get an answer from you yet. What should I write in my notes about whether or not you stole the car?" Sometimes that trick about, I've written down the question. I can't figure out what to write as the answer. Sometimes that little trick in an interview can be perfect and helpful.