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You May Not Be A Successful Interviewer If …

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

You are unacquainted with the case details. Efforts at “winging it” in the interview room or going on a “fishing expedition” very rarely produces positive results.  You should always approach every interview with the “construction of proof” as your objective.  That’s for all interviews – victims, witnesses, suspects, applicants, informants, petitioners, etc.

You approach your subject with an assumption of guilt. No one can be truly objective when they enter the interview room but by assuming guilt, we typically ignore asking the questions or hearing  answers that might challenge and even threaten our pre- conceptions.

You use an “accusatory style” interview. An accusatory style tends to “drive” the interview in only one direction and rarely uncovers new or additional information. It also seldom generates cooperation from victims or witnesses and compliance from subjects.  An accusatory approach is also notorious for generating contaminated statements.

You frequently interrupt your subject. Any interview as well as an interrogation is far from being successful without active, participatory listening by the interviewer. Frequent interruption cuts off the flow of conversation and ultimately information.

You are repetitive in your questioning or labor over the same line of questioning. Persistent questioning from a single narrow perspective tends to frustrate even the cooperative subject – it tends to lock their reasoning and thinking process into one line of thought.  Varying your approach, method of framing a question, and using a more narrative-based approach results in content rich statements and cooperative subjects.

Note: Once the interview starts out bad, it rarely ever improves.

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