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Interview and Interrogation Training: Have You Evolved—Rationalization

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, discussing the first tip in a series, “Challenging You: Have You Evolved?”

The thing that’s important in any profession is always being open to new information and updates or improvements in what we “think” we might be experts in. Today I want to talk about the importance in updating or changing how we rationalize.

Something that we see from experienced interviewers and people who have been using interview and interrogation methods for a long time is not evolving the way they provide or give a rationalization to the subject. Using words like “mistake” or “accident” with the subject in a rationalization is something that we see happen often with experienced interviewers, but those can be dangerous terms to use. Using those words may remove intent. Using those words may allow a guilty subject to feel that there’s no consequence. It also might give an innocent subject the idea that there’s no consequence, giving them an incentive to confess to something they didn’t do.

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Also in regards to rationalizing: if you’ve been doing interviews for a really long time, are you telling the same stories that you’ve told forever? Are you just providing a rationalization because it’s the same one that’s worked for you for twenty years? I’ll challenge you as well: have you evolved your rationalizations?

Do your rationalizations actually resonate with and reflect the subject you’re talking to? Are they based off the facts of the case and the current information you have? Or is it just another story that you pulled out of your pocket?

Rationalizing and allowing a subject to save face is a very powerful tool. We want to make sure we’re doing it the right way. My challenge to you is: have you evolved in the way you deliver and understand the risks and importance of rationalizing with your subjects?

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.

LP Solutions

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 or for additional information.

This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated May 14, 2018. 

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