WZ Video: Focus on the Person, Not the Act, by Showing Understanding

Today we’re going to be talking about the importance of focusing on the person sitting across from us, not the actual situation or act that brought them to the interview room. WZ’s method really focuses on establishing credibility while also showing understanding, but it’s the showing understanding piece that a lot of times people can have difficulty with, especially when we get into the rationalizations.

Oftentimes, people may think that when we use these rationalizations, it has to be very specific to the person sitting across from us, so the story is going to reflect a similar act that the person was involved in. Maybe sometimes even a similar gender of the person in the story and the rationalization matches the person sitting across from us in the interview room.

Quite honestly, it’s not necessary. It’s not the purpose of the rationalization. The whole purpose of the rationalization is just to make this person sitting across from us feel a little bit more comfortable in talking to us about something that they may be embarrassed about or may feel shameful about. So we kind of want to help them get over that hurdle and feeling comfortable talking to us.

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The easiest way to do that is of course to focus on the person themselves, not the situation. So during our rationalizations, during the showing understanding portion of WZ method, we should really be focusing on the person, and how we can understand that different people can perceive things differently. Everyone’s perspective is their own reality, which means although it may be difficult for us as the interviewers, as the investigators, to understand why the person sitting across from us may have done something wrong, we also need to recognize that everyone experiences different pressures differently.

So while we may be both financially struggling, that pressure can have a different impact on the person sitting across from us. And that may not be the only thing that they’re experiencing either. They may be embarrassed that they’re having a hard time providing for their family, or they may be getting pressure from their family to do better in providing for themselves.

So there’s a lot of different things that could be going on, but if we focus more on how people can experience different types of pressures, and that those pressures can cause people to do things that they never would have considered doing before, as opposed to focusing on the actual action of the theft, of the harassment, of whatever it is that we’ve investigated, now we may have someone sitting across from us who feels a little bit more comfortable talking to us because we do show that we understand that people can experience pressures, and they can experience them, and most importantly react to them differently.

So the next time you are preparing for your interview, I hope you really take a step back and think about how can we refocus during the conversation on the individual again, and the situation that they’re experiencing at the time of the wrongful act as opposed to the act itself.

This is the WZ Interviewing Tip presented by the International Association of Interviewers.

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