Selecting a Registrar

Select several registrars and if possible interview the auditor that will be assigned to your company. Generally registrars will set up a three year contract with you for the registration audits and surveillance audits.

While selecting a registrar, check with the registering body in your country to make sure that registrar is approved and can provide a recognized registration/certification to the standard. In the US, check ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation BoardANAB ( for current status of your registrar.

The following are example questions you may wish to ask you registrar. Use these to make up a list of questions important to you.

Opening Questions for the Registrar Representative

  1. What accreditations do you have?
  2. In which countries are you licensed?
  3. Do you use the same lead auditor/auditors each time?
  4. Where would the auditors of this project come from?
  5. How many auditors would you use on this project?
  6. Can we meet the auditors who would work on this project?
  7. If we have questions and call in, can we talk to our auditor or do we talk to a different representative?
  8. What relevant industry experience do you have?
  9. How many and which similar companies have you registered?
  10. How many auditors do you have in our SIC code?

Technical Questions for the Registrar Representative

  1. How do you interpret the standard?
  2. Do we have access to your interpretation? (Many registrars will provide their guidance documents to you on request.)
  3. How do you handle pre-assessment audits? Do you recommend them?
  4. Are pre-assessment audits mandatory?
  5. Do you have a checklist we can use to assess our own system?
  6. Can you describe how you perform a full system audit?
  7. What is the frequency of surveillance audits?
  8. What is covered at each surveillance audit?
  9. Is there advance notice of surveillance?
  10. Do you do a full system audit every three years?
  11. How do you determine how much time to spend on a full system/surveillance audit?
  12. Describe how you determine major and minor nonconformances.
  13. In what area of the standard do you find the most nonconformances?
  14. How do you handle a major nonconformance?
  15. How long do we have to respond?
  16. Will you return to audit that section? If so, will you look at any other areas?
  17. How do you handle a minor nonconformance? How long do we have to respond?
  18. What experience does each of the auditors assigned to us have?
  19. Review bios of lead and other auditors, i.e. education, experience, companies audited, references.
  20. What method do you follow when there is a need to change auditors?
  21. How do we contact the auditors?
  22. May we meet or talk to our auditor before the audit


Questions for the auditor


  1. How do you make yourself available to plant personnel who have questions during the audit?
  2. What do you do when someone is too nervous to answer your questions?
  3. How do you set boundaries so everyone’s time is used effectively?


  1. Describe a situation where you had to convey a point to a hostile or unreceptive audience.
  2. How do you make difficult decisions?
  3. How do you handle the unexpected?

Conflict Management

  1. Describe a conflict you handled well, and one you didn’t handle well.
  2. Describe a time when you had to deliver bad news, and the receiver didn’t take it well.

Decision Quality

  1. How do you know when to stop analyzing/collecting data and make the decision?
  2. Lead us through your decision making process on a nonconformance.


  1. How flexible do you consider your audit plan?
  2. Do you have a typical sampling size for evaluation of conformity?
  3. Are you typically able to complete your audit on time as schedules?
  4. Can you describe the longest you have exceeded a timeline for an audit and what was the circumstance?

Managing Diversity

  1. How do countries and their cultures differ in their approach to the ISO registration/certification process?
  2. Have you ever been addressed by someone who felt you/your colleague’s jokes or remarks were inappropriate?

Ethics and Values

  1. Have you ever had to represent a position you didn’t completely agree with?

Integrity and Trust

  1. Have you ever had to give feedback that was more negative than the requester was expecting?
  2. What did you do?
  3. How do you handle confidential information a requester knows you have, but you can’t or won’t disclose?


  1. How do you end a conversation with people?


  1. Have you worked with union and non-union facilities?
  2. What are the differences?
  3. How many major projects have you managed at the same time?
  4. How have you managed projects with team members from other offices/locations/practices?
  5. How do you keep organized during an assessment/audit?

Written Communications

  1. Please provide with written examples of observations and nonconformances.