Consumers participate in interviews many times a year in various situations involving work interviews, surveys for products, hospital interviews to assess their health, and many others too numerous to mention. The information obtained during the interview is often personal details about the individual’s life, health, and work experience. It is all stored online in a database or in the cloud.
This post discusses in more detail what interview consent forms are, why they are needed, and reviews the essential elements contained in the form. Before you consent to participate in an interview or survey, several questions should be addressed. We cover these as well to ensure your privacy rights are taken into consideration.
What Is an Interview Consent Form?
An interview consent form is a form that describes the event the person will participate in and requests the participant to review the document, sign and date the form. By signing the interview consent form, the individual agrees to participate in the interview, and all information provided may or may not be shared with other groups or individuals.
There are many situations where an interview consent form is used. For example:
- Job Interviews – many companies use a standard interview form to collect all of the information they need to help them organize and assess job applicants. They use templates that are created for their situation and include all of the required details they need to assess the candidate. Resumes are often attached; however, the consent form may be the first document reviewed by the HR manager. The applicant is asked to sign, date the form, and indicate all details are factual and correct.
- General Surveys and Studies – many different types of surveys are conducted concerning a consumer’s experience with a product or service they have received. These surveys may involve filling in an online form or participating in an audio or visually recorded survey. The consent form should indicate why the research information is required, how it will be used and whether it is treated confidentially.
- Health Questionnaires – many patients are requested to fill in a detailed questionnaire about their health before meeting with a specialist. The information assists the health care specialist in providing the best treatment for their patient while saving time during the medical visit. Nevertheless, this is private, confidential information that should be treated appropriately. Before asking patients to fill in the questionnaire, they are routinely asked for their consent to the collection of the data, and it should be stated how the information will be used and how it will be kept private.
- NDA or Non-Disclosure Agreements – are used before many companies will share information about their products or services in a competitive environment. One company may be interviewing another company or an individual about how they can assist with various competitive private work projects. Before any sharing of information can proceed, an NDA or interview consent form is signed, restricting the entity from sharing the information with others.
Why is There a Need for an Interview Consent Form?
The need for an interview consent form varies a great deal depending on the situation and environment companies and consumers participate in. In general, the form is a communications device that explains what is expected of the participants and how the data collected will be used. The consent form also acknowledges the rights and dignity of the participant. It serves as a basis for future discussions with the survey or research team. The interview consent form should be customized to the situation, project, or research activity the participant is asked to take part.
Typical subjects that may be covered by an interview consent form include:
- Time – how long will the interview take in hours or days
- Participation – once the interview has begun, can the participant withdraw at any time
- Data Capture – notify the participant that the information collected will be retained
- Privacy – the data is taken anonymously or will not be shared
- Risks – are identified and understood by the participant
- Benefits – are identified and understood by the participant. The benefits may accrue to the participant or more general and apply to a larger population
- Contact Details – project and evaluator details are provided
- Clarification – questions can or cannot be asked during the interview
- Recording – audio or audio-visual recordings are made and retained
- NDA – includes nondisclosure agreements indicating what the interviewee can share or not share with others
- Copies of the consent form should be provided to the participant and the interviewee for record-keeping purposes
Essential Elements of an Interview Consent Form
Every situation will be different depending on the survey, research, or project; however, there are essential elements that should be included in every interview consent form. These include:
- Contact Details – name, address, email, and phone numbers for the participant and the interviewee
- Description – of the interview, survey, and clinical investigation in a health setting
- Risks – including discomforts that may be involved during the process
- Benefits – to the participant or general public
- Alternatives – to filling out the interview consent form
- Confidentiality – of the information collected
- Compensation – if any, for inadvertent sharing of information
- Voluntary – an indication that the participant is participating in a voluntarily
- Signature – signature, printed name, and date of signature
Benefits of Preparing an Interview Consent Form Template
Templates are a great way to save time and also ensure consistency across your organizations and projects. There may be a standard template prepared for your company that matches your branding and includes all of the standard boilerplate legal statements that protect your company from lawsuits. Specific templates can then be created for each project or survey that incorporate all of the questions and information about the specific survey or project.
Templates are also useful for evaluators. Participants must answer the same questions, and although each answer will be different, they can be compared to formulate a conclusion about each question and the survey in general. The data can also be retained in a standard database designed around the template for perusal later or to be assessed by experts interested in how their products are being utilized.
Standard interview consent forms are used in a variety of situations to collect data, to inform participants about the interview or survey they are participating in, and to collect their consent to use their private data for company purposes. Disclaimers can be provided, as well as assurances that the data will be kept private or disassociated from the person filling out the information.
The consent form, when signed by the participant, acknowledges any risk, use of data, the time required, protection of privacy, and other issues which are specific to the project. Nondisclosure agreements or NDAs are often included requesting that the person or person signing the consent also agree to keep all information received during the interview private and confidential. The information will not be shared.
Using templates for interview consent forms can save time and ensure consistency in the results. Templates also provide an opportunity for companies to ensure standard corporate branding is included along with any legal boilerplate that may be needed in every interview consent form.