This week’s WZ / IAI interview and interrogation training tip is one of the most popular videos in the archive of this series of tips. In this video, Dave Thompson, CFI, who is now vice president of operations for WZ, discusses the importance of word selection during an interview. As much as interviewers focus on non-verbal behavior, there is substantial influence that could be made with the type of words spoken.
Primarily, any words that are associated with harsh consequences or punishment should be avoided, as this would only increase the level of fear that the subject has. If the interviewer uses words such as “police”, “interrogate”, “prosecute”, or “terminate”, it may cause an unwarranted fear in the subject’s mind and therefore increase their resistance.
Another simple word that may derail an interview is an improper use of the word “you.” If the interviewer personalizes the conversation to early, by using the word “you”, it may cause the subject to become defensive and agitated. It’s important that the interview narrate stories in the third person and minimizes the use of harsh words in effort to allow the subject to come to a rational decision without tipping the scales negatively.
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.
This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated April 17, 2018.