“Profiling” an interview subject can seem controversial, but it’s a step that is still commonly taken by investigative interviewing experts. In practice, the term actually refers to an assessment of a subject’s lifestyle, relationships, interests, and choices that can lead to accurate conclusions about their likely behavior and response to an interview or investigation.
David Zulawski, CFI, CFE, and Shane Sturman, CFI, CPP, share some lessons they have learned from many years of investigative interviewing in a column for the September–October 2017 issue of LP Magazine. Appropriate profiling techniques are just the beginning. From the article:
Once the subject has been profiled to determine their likely response to the interview or investigation, the investigator can then anticipate likely problems and prepare a plan for how to handle them. The investigator now goes through a series of what ifs and thinks about the resources and strategies that will be necessary to counter them.
For example, what if the subject decides to get up and walk out of the interview? First, the investigator should consider the evidence available indicating the subject’s guilt and whether it is sufficient to terminate the individual’s employment or perhaps bring criminal charges. Depending on the company’s policy, there may be a requirement that clear evidence of the individual’s guilt is available before an interview can take place. In other organizations, circumstantial evidence or even a location’s high shrinkage may be enough to initiate an investigative interview.
The authors, who are authorities on investigative interviewing, go on to address other common stumbling blocks faced by interviewers and cover additional advice on knowing what must be proved to establish a case. Check out the full article, “Random Lessons from the Room: Part Two” to learn more.