Interview and Interrogation Training: Have You Evolved—Change of Perspective

WZ / IAI Interviewing and Interrogation Training Tip of the Week

This week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Dave Thompson, CFI, vice president of operations for WZ, continuing the series, “Challenging You: Have You Evolved?”

One commonality among experienced interviewers is the tendency to change or alter step 8 in the WZ method of change of perspective. Two different things happen often when it comes to change of perspective.

When we first introduce the step, and we explain to the subject that they are now in the decision-maker’s role and should assume that they’ve seen two people “doing something wrong”—we often see both rookie and experienced interviewers make the mistake of defining what “wrong” is.

Let’s say you own a company. You walk in to see two people stealing money from the register. As interviewers, when we reference a specific incident like that, it can either a) tell the subject what we’re there for specifically, which could cause resistance and denial, or b) maybe that’s not what we’re there for and now we’ve misled the subject. Instead, by saying you saw someone “doing something wrong,” it allows an innocent or a guilty subject to sit and internalize: “What could ‘wrong’ be? What do I have the most anxiety about?”

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The second thing that we see happening most often: At the end of changing perspective, we ask the question, “Out of those two people, which one would you feel better about?” However, the question that we hear often and the question that we used to ask is, “Out of those two people, which one would you rather work with?” There’s really an important difference between these two questions.

When you ask somebody which one of these individuals you’d rather work with, you’re saying that one person might keep their job and one might not. It’s almost the same as saying “Which one should get the better deal?” We don’t want to make any kind of suggestion or promise that one person gets a better deal than another.

Simply put, change of perspective is to allow the subject to see the situation from a decision-maker’s point of view. Even though somebody has done something wrong, there are still two different ways to handle that situation: talk about it or continue to lie about that happening. It’s important that we phrase this the right way. If we phrase it the wrong way (or the way we’ve heard a lot of experienced interviewers use), could result in increased denials, increased emotional defensiveness from the subject—which does NOT work with the non-confrontational method—and could give an innocent person the incentive to confess or could present a guilty person with a potential false promise that we can’t keep.

Hopefully this tip will allow you to go back to your WZ method and your use of change of perspective to make sure you’re using it the proper and current way.

Every loss prevention investigator should continuously strive to enhance their investigative interviewing skills as part of an ongoing commitment to best-in-class interviewing performance. This includes holding ourselves to an elite standard of interview and interrogation training that is ethical, moral and legal while demanding excellence in the pursuit of the truth. The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.

By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement, loss prevention, security, asset protection, human resources, auditors or anyone looking to obtain the truth.

Visit www.w-z.com or www.certifiedinterviewer.com for additional information.

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