Interview and Interrogation Training: Using the Participatory Approach

WZ / IAI Interviewing Tip of the Week

interview and interrogation training

This week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Dave Thompson, CFI, discussing how to use the participatory approach during the interview.

The participatory approach is specifically used when there’s circumstantial evidence or that there’s a possibility that your subject might have an excuse, an explanation, so some type of alibi that may or may not be true.

Find out where the real threat to your company lies by reading this FREE Special Report, Employee Theft: Statistics, Interviewing Techniques and Tips to Optimize your Employee Theft Policy.

The way the participatory approach is engineered is to conceal the topic of your conversation, or at least the target of the conversation. For example, if you wanted to figure out if an employee understood the discount policy because they violated it, you can’t walk in the room and ask them directly about it. They have an incentive to lie to you.

Instead, we conceal what we want to know, and we start the conversation talking about other, related topics. Maybe what they do on any given day, for instance. Then we might talk about things they do on the cash register, and the conversation eventually gets led down a path where they’re going to talk about the discount policy.

One of the great benefits about using the participatory approach is that it’s really a fact-finding approach that allows the subject to contribute to the conversation; which means at the end of it you might realize that there is no intent and it turns into a training issue. Or you might realize there is some intent and they provide incriminating evidence that allows you to transition into an interrogation.

The participatory approach is great for all different types of cases, from audit, compliance, human resources, theft, and even cases in the public sector.

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.

To learn more, visit or .

This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated May 2, 2018.


Leave a Reply

Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.


Send this to a friend