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Interview Techniques

Avoiding Critical Issue Overload

by Stan B. Walters, CSP
“The Lie Guy®”

You finally have your subject in the interview room. You’ve built a substantial case against your subject and you’re sure there’s no way he or she can deny the overwhelming information you compiled against them. When the time is right you “unload” on the subject. You give them “both barrels” and then you stand back waiting for your subject to crumble under the sheer wait of the proof of your case. After a short pause your subject simply tells you you’re wrong and says “No.” So what happened? You had a great interrogation dialogue all set up. Simple. It was a case of “critical issue overload.” You pushed too much information on your subject all at once and forced your subject to reject the entire argument of proof thereby disabling your interview.

First, your subject was heavily under stress to begin with. Now you have forced your subject into making a single critical decision with what appears to them to be of totally overwhelming proportions. To him or her it is the most expedient way to escape from the pressure that the reality they’ve just been forced to confront.

Second, you set yourself up to have your interview argument to be shut down with a single simple answer – No. Your subject saw that you gave them a simple “out” and they took it leaving your argument hanging and unresolved.

Avoid “critical issue overload” techniques in the interview room. Spread out your case information by addressing smaller more manageable arguments. This keeps your subject from feeling mentally and emotionally overwhelmed with the reality of the facts they may be facing. String out your case arguments addressing only one issue at a time. Now your subject is forced to deal with each issue one at a time creating a training effect. Even though they have just dealt with one issue, there’s the next coming right behind the first. You are also more likely to get a toehold on your subject’s resistance by getting acceptance on a few issues. Once you win one or two points, it much easier to argue subsequent proof and avoid one mass rejection of your entire case.

Which Interview Technique Works Best?

by Stan B. Walters, CSP
“The Lie Guy®”

One question I’m frequently asked is which interview and interrogation technique works the best. The best answer I can give is whichever technique you used when the subject confessed. Although that answer may sound vague the reality is that the response is very accurate. There is no uniform method or technique that will be successful in every interview situation. As we discussed in the June issue, the successful interviewer is the one who learns how to adapt to the unique personality and behavior characteristics of the subject that happen to be interviewing.

To be a little more specific, we can refer to several scientific studies that have observed, documented and analyzed several hundred investigative interviews. The findings of these observational studies are quite interesting in that they report that there are interview and interrogation tactics that appear to regularly be most successful. In fact four approaches seem to consistently productive:

1. Appealing to the subject’s conscience.
2. Identifying contradictions in the subject’s story.
3. Use of praise or flattery.
4. Offering moral justification and / or psychological excuses.

It is very interesting to note that these four approaches appear to coincide very well with the four dominant personality type interviews that we use in Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®.

The next time you are preparing for an interview or interrogation, mentally create four separate dialogues you can have with your subject using each of these four approaches. Once in the interview room, make an assessment of the most likely personality type of the subject you are interviewing and use one of the four dialogues most appropriate. You should find you’ll get positive results must faster and have a higher admission and even confession rate.