In this week’s WZ / IAI interview and interrogation training tip, Dave Thompson, CFI, talks about the issue of confirmation bias.
Often, as investigators, we think we’re doing the right thing in searching for the truth, but we sometimes fall victim to having confirmation bias. Sometimes, due to someone giving us an anonymous tip or piece of evidence, or even due to behavior we witnessed during an interview, we as investigators make up in our minds that the subject is guilty. That’s not the right way to do an investigation. We need to let the facts speak for themselves.
What happens when you have confirmation bias is that you make up your mind what the end result should be, and ultimately conduct an investigation to prove your theory versus to prove the truth.
Think about that during your next investigation. Reflect back on some other interviews that you’ve done. What really came first? Did the facts and evidence really prove that the subject was guilty, or did you just decide that they were?
Challenge yourself to make sure that you go into every investigation without a bias and with a clear intention to look for the truth. Look for reliable information, no matter which way it leads.
Every loss prevention investigator should 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.
This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated August 20, 2018.