Interview and Interrogation Training: Investigative Prep Question Structure (Part 4 of 4)

In this week’s Wicklander-Zulawski / International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip, Brett Ward, CFI, divisional vice president for client relations and business development for WZ, concludes a four-part series on the investigative prep process. This week’s tip is about question structure.

Check out Part 1 on anticipating denials, Part 2 on rationalizations, and Part 3 on the selective interview.

Prior to walking in and having the conversation, many people, especially those who have certifications, can define the differences between a fact-finding question and a behavioral question, questions for a selective interview, enticement questions, choice questions, or assumptive questions—yet still sometimes in the interview, misplace them.

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Part of investigatory prep is making sure that our initial questions (at least) are in a proper structure. For example, when you get to the finish line and test for submission by going into the first person, and you decide this person is ready for an assumptive question—if that person has been there for twenty years, you don’t want to start that question with “Let me ask you something, Brett. When was the first time that you did X?” There’s a really good chance this person is going to minimize and say, “Within the last couple of weeks.” Then our opportunity for development is gone.

Make sure the assumptive question fits the tenure of the individual as well as their mental capacity.


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.

To learn more about interview and interrogation training and how you can further develop your professional skill sets, visit or

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