Interviewing Techniques Instructor: Michael Ferjak Senior Criminal Investigator Iowa Department of Justice Online: Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) National Certified Investigator/Inspector Training (NCIT)
Importance of Interviews it-1-1 Interviews are the chief source of information in any investigation involving people as primary characters Done correctly, interviews can produce a large amount of information that will aid in the direction and pace of the investigation Done poorly, interviews can be a major problem to focus and success of the case.
Interviewer Attributes it-1-2-A/E Honesty, Integrity and Objectivity Able to establish and maintain Rapport Able to establish and maintain Rapport Able to effectively, intently listen Able to effectively, intently listen Able to maintain self control in all cases Able to maintain self control in all cases Able to get the information out
Human Relations Skills it-1-3-A/G Unbiased Conduct Calm and Reasonable Approachable Show Respect Demonstrate Care and Interest Self-Confident Enhance Your Agency’s Reputation
Speech it-2-4-A/C Second to appearance, speech will be your signature Speech and demeanor sets the tone for an interview Do not use speech as a way to impress
Body Language it-3-5-A/C Words- intended to convey desired message Non-verbal behavior- not as easily controlled and may signal need for closer examination Posture changes Excessive or unusual gesturing Eye and Body Movement Facial expressions and change in color/tone Breathing Be alert for conflict between the Verbal Message and the Non-Verbal behavior in a response- pay attention to the question that triggered the response
Body Language it-4-5-D/G Personal Space- a demonstration Eye Contact Physical Positioning Telephone-not always a bad thing because the subject can’t assess your non-verbal communication
Interpersonal Skills it-5-6-A/B If possible, use the subject’s name When appropriate, try to make the subject feel important and that they are held in some esteem.
Appearance, Bearing and Personal Habits it-5-7-A/B Appearance Office and Vehicle Dress to enhance confidence and authority Be courteous Do not consider yourself above the law Bearing Walk Posture Mannerisms Voice Language Grammar
Appearance, Bearing and Personal Habits it-6-7-C Personal Habits Gum chewing Smoking Nicknames Put your feet up on the desk Bite your fingernails Placing your hand over your mouth
Definitions it-6-8-A/B Interview- the questioning of an individual believed to possess information or knowledge of interest to the investigator Interrogation- Interrogation- the questioning of an individual believed to possess information or knowledge of interest to the investigator who is reluctant to make a full disclosure of information the questioning of an individual believed to possess information or knowledge of interest to the investigator who is reluctant to make a full disclosure of information
Before Conducting an Interview it-7-9-A Initial Considerations: When planning an interview/interrogation use what works for you and discard what does not work for you Background Information Time and Location Are You the Right Person to do the Interview? Dynamics of the Interview Separate Interview Subjects
Preparing for the Interview People edit information when telling a story because they have already decided what is important to the interviewer. Discuss the importance of including everything and make the person aware of the natural tendency to edit. Periodically check & remind the person and encourage a complete disclosure. Initial Considerations BEFORE the interview: when to do the interview, privacy, environment, room setting, who is going to do the interview, preparation of the interviewer
When Should I Conduct the Interview? Sooner is better in most cases however certain issues can have an effect: Availability of the Subject & Interviewer Legal Maneuvering Information Collecting Efforts Preparation of the Interviewer Securing the proper place for the interview
Where Should I Conduct the Interview? The place for the interview should be evaluated on the following criteria: MAJOR issues- privacy confidentiality / safety levels of human and mechanical noise comfortable investigator safety
Where Should I Conduct the Interview? Try to Minimize Distractions: Avoid pictures, posters, plaques, ornaments walls and ceiling should be painted in a neutral color with no distinctive pattern or design no pencils, clips, papers etc within reach of subject If possible do not allow access to purses, back packs during the interview. no pagers or telephones in the room no access to room by anyone during the interview
Where Should I conduct the Interview? Select an area with proper lighting: Room light should illuminate the subject’s face well but not be glaring. The interviewer must be able to see the subject’s face at all times. The interviewer’s face should be clearly visible to the subject at all times.
Where Should I conduct the Interview? Chair Placement: The interviewer and subject should be 4-5 feet apart, facing each other, without anything directly between them. Chairs should be standard office type with straight backs, without rocking or swivel mechanisms and no wheels. Chair heights should be identical. If an interpreter is used they should be next to the interviewer and at an angle to the subject.
Are you the right person to do the Interview? Just because it is your case does not always mean you should do the interview: avoid ownership and turf issues The right person has: a solid understanding of interview dynamics and human nature patience (lots of it) experience and is well trained in doing interviews expertise in the legal parameters for their agency
Are you legally, mentally & emotionally prepared for the Interview? Do you have authority to conduct this interview? Is any kind of legal or constitutional warning to the subject required by policy or law? Is there a particular right or privilege to which the subject is entitled by way of labor or employment agreements? Have you reviewed the file and do you know it in detail? Are you prepared to deal with any unpleasant or offensive conduct or information in the interview?
Establishment of Rapport it-8-9-C CRITICAL SKILL!! Set the mood or tone for the interview Establish friendly communications and relationship To assist in establishing rapport- create a calm and harmonious relationship
The Dynamics of the Interview Avoid creating the impression of seeking an admission. Don’t make a “production” out of note taking. Consider how you are attired- less formal attire is sometimes useful in reducing barriers. Avoid “charging” words like illegal, violation, steal, lie etc. Be aware of the subject’s personal space. Stay seated, don’t pace.
The Dynamics of the Interview No smoking, chewing or drinking Treat the subject with decency ALWAYS If you catch the subject in a lie don’t make a big point of it but note it for later use. NO WEAPONS Consider how you would respond in the environment you’ve created for the subject. Find a good point about your subject and use it.
Notes and Tape Recordings it-9-9-F Take accurate notes sufficient enough to aid your memory at a future point in time Are your notes discoverable? Ask legal counsel. List in notes others present during the interview Note date, time, location, beginning and ending time of interview Use of Tape Recorder- 1 or 2 party state, can be inhibiting and interfere with interview- be capable of doing an interview without a “net” notes or recordings
Separate Witnesses Separate interview subjects immediately and always try to do interviews separately. Full disclosure very seldom occurs in the public arena. Also, private interviews: reduce confusion protect the integrity of an eyewitness account the possibility of a rehearsed statement or joint alibis
Introduction and Identification it- 8-9-B Identify yourself and reason for interview, begin to establish rapport by presenting your credentials or ID Identify subject Obtain relevant personal information, i.e., Full name and nickname, Address, Date of birth, Social security number, Employment, Occupation, Telephone numbers (resident and business) Make it clear that you only seek the truth
Establish Rapport Try to create a calm, harmonious, empathetic relationship You will set the mood of the contact during the first few minutes of the interview. If it isn’t possible to seem “friendly” then at least appear considerate and professional. Shake hands?- be aware, this simple act can go very wrong- very fast. If it doesn’t seem appropriate or your “6 th sense” is saying no DON’T DO IT. Establish normal, friendly communications Attempt to calm the subject- take the time and make a real effort. It will pay off in the end.
General Questioning Technique it-8-9-D Interrogatory / Free Narrative “letting them tell their story” Followed by: Direct Examination (General to Specific) asking clarifying questions seeking detail and additional information
Questioning Tips it-9-9-E Key suggestions: Yes / No Questions: avoid them- they are leading and interrupt the flow of the exchange Use simple clear questions Ask questions one at a time and allow the subject to answer LISTEN TO ALL RESPONSES USE SILENCE!
Questioning Tips it-9-9-E Use simple non-leading questions to prompt the subject to continue their statement: What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen? How did it happen? Who was involved? NOT Did it happen at 3:00PM? Was Bill involved? These questions are suggestive and not appropriate for the free/narrative portion of the interview AVOID COMPOUND EXTENDED QUESTIONS "Why" and "Why not" are good questions that cause an answer to be justified. Listen carefully for vague, misleading, and inconsistent answers
Questioning Tips it-9-9-E Follow free/ narrative with direct examination to obtain new information or to fill in omitted details Begin with questions not likely to cause the subject to become hostile. Try to re-establish rapport any time this happens Ask questions that will develop the facts in the order of occurrence Give the subject ample time to answer. The more difficult the question, the longer you should wait
Questioning Tips it-9-9-E During the Direct Examination portion of the interview it is permissible to ask narrow, specific questions to eliminate hearsay, inferences, and lies – rephrase responses for feedback Ask how the subject actually came to know something? Sensory based: Did you hear it? Did you see it?, Did you smell it? Source based: Did you actually see it or did someone tell you about it? -good method to get subject to commit to what is personal knowledge vs. “collective” knowledge Evaluate the reliability of the witness: reputation for truthfulness, recall, personal interests, mental status, etc.
Interview Psychology 101- Subject Interviews Often the stressors cause the subject to engage in behaviors meant to disassociate themselves with the violation Example: Not coming to work or avoiding certain locations or people in order to “wait it out”.
Interview Psychology 101- Subject Interviews On an internal level the subject knows when they are in some manner responsible for the violation- this causes stress and verbal & non-verbal indicators become apparent Remember that many of the same stressors found during the in-person interview are also present during the telephone interview
Interview Psychology 101- Subject Interviews The subject knows there will be an investigation and they will likely be sought out at some point During this time the subject will experience greater levels of anticipation Unexpected noises or disruptions, unscheduled visits etc. become alarming and the subject may demonstrate levels of hyper- sensitivity The subject may begin to exhibit defensive reactions to non-threatening or neutral situations
Interview Psychology 101- Subject Interviews When interviewing a “person of interest” unexpected telephone interviews can be very effective It precludes the subject from preparing a response The stressors will be fresh and cause the desired reactions; a truthful statement or obvious errors that show the falseness of the subject’s response
Interview Psychology 101- Subject Interviews Telling the truth requires no preparation, context or planning -a false statement requires all of these components Consequently lying is not often done well on the spur of the moment as in an unexpected telephone call or contact
Interview Psychology 101- Subject Interviews Some investigators avoid telephone interviews- they want the advantage of seeing the subject’s non-verbal behavior By delaying the interview until it can be done in person the subject will have time to develop a level of confidence because there has been no action This may reduce the effect of the stressors making it less likely they will admit to anything or demonstrate verbal or physical indicators of stress when they are finally questioned
Techniques From a procedural aspect, telephone interviews differ only slightly from in-person settings Preparation is still the single most important piece of the process Structure is basically identical; establish rapport, move from general to specific, use short, simple open-ended questions, ask one at a time and follow up
Techniques Depending on circumstances, investigation characteristics and interviewer skill many of the methods used for in-person interviews can be employed effectively with telephone interviews
Techniques Demeanor of the interviewer is critical- professionals understand patience, persistence and compassion are needed in any interview situation The techniques you use in face-to-face settings will work for the phone as well but you must do it all verbally Theme development, monologue, “Columbo” techniques will all work on the telephone
Techniques When conducting interviews with people considered as witnesses only, straightforward interrogatories are usually selected Often this model is used as more of a process of elimination as opposed to a serious effort to collect information This model involves asking the subject a series of planned questions to determine knowledge of a particular event The danger is getting tunnel vision and failing to catch the nuance that may signal the subject is more that just a witness
Techniques When interviewing a “person of interest”, someone you have reason to believe is involved or committed the act, expect and plan for resistance. The use of monologue, probing and theme building techniques are some of the ways to handle resistance
“Game Face” of the Interviewer Display non-judgmental acceptance Build and maintain rapport Show empathy and respect Use active listening Be patient Use positive eye contact Control personal anger and values Constantly evaluate and assess subject Use imagination
Pre-contact Preparation Study the file, and develop a flexible interview structure. Determine a clear understanding of the interview objective. Consider the subject’s personality regarding habits and interests based upon available information to assess approach methods.
Pre-contact Preparation Establish a clear understanding of the violation or infraction. Review any evidence that is available to focus the interview. Consider motivation: what would be the “benefit” to the individual to commit the violation or infraction?: Divert attention, jealousy, substance abuse issues, resentment, sympathy-seeking etc. Check for any recent emotional triggering events i.e., disciplinary action, passed for promotion, divorce, death, birth.
Contact Actions Greeting: the first few minutes set tone of entire session. Demonstrate human warmth with tone of voice, gestures and mannerisms (“para-linguistics” – communication associated with the spoken word). Seating: pre-determine where the subject will sit; Demonstrates interviewer control and does not allow subject to place barriers between themselves and the interviewer.
Contact Actions Begin behavioral analysis baseline development of the subject. Be aware that the subject also begins evaluating the situation and assessing intent, competence and motive of the interviewer (known as the IEP- interaction evaluation process) this continues throughout the interview.
BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS Assists in questioning during an interview. If non-verbal does not agree with verbal communication, you should ask yourself “why?”
Behavioral Analysis Behavior Analysis is helpful during an interview because it allows the interviewer to know when rapport is established, deception occurs or an admission is forthcoming. it helps analyze the subject’s response to questions about case facts
Behavioral Analysis It is imperative that we do not make decisions about a subject’s truthfulness when we are the cause of the behavior Be aware of cultural differences Develop rapport with the individual at every interview.
Base Line Development Begin on initial contact with subject Continue to develop and refine assessments to “normal” circumstances Pay attention to verbal responses; rate of speaking, tone and pitch of voice, flow of speech, response times, “stutter-starts”, over- defining or excessive explanation of word choice or disclaimer statements on responses Pay attention to non-verbal behaviors; posture, hand movement, eye contact, grooming actions, gross body movement or position changes Use as a guide to assess change when correlated with a specific question
Truthful vs. Deceptive Gross Body Movements: Truthful- hand movements opening and away from the body “open gesturing” Deceptive- hand movements towards the body during “hot" questioning, move away, move chair, need to leave the room, exaggerated movements
Truthful vs. Deceptive Grooming Gestures: Truthful- nothing unduly noticeable Deceptive- brushing hair, picking lint from clothes, covering mouth or eyes with hand, checking fingernails, adjusting clothes, checking watch, retying shoes etc.
Truthful vs. Deceptive Eye Contact: Truthful- 30% to 60%+ after rapport is established. Deceptive- minimal contact, difficulty in making contact, eyes break away on “hot” questions, 1000 yard stare
EYE CONTACT: What does it REALLY mean?
Eye Contact A subject who is lying will usually have trouble sustaining normal eye contact. Watch for eye movement to the ceiling and walls- it can indicate stress associated with the question the interviewer just asked. Eye movement towards the floor with a slumping posture may indicate resignation or giving up. Do not stare at the subject or engage in a contest with them. It is a tactic used by subjects to relieve stress or buy time. No dark glasses for the subject or interviewer if possible.
SELF-INITIATED VERBAL BEHAVIORS Principle: People who are lying tend to provide more self-induced verbal signs (i.e., answering before the complete question is asked) than people who are telling the truth. Therefore, the fewer spontaneous responses, the more likely it is that the person is not stressed on that particular point.
SELF-INITIATED VERBAL BEHAVIORS Speech Patterns for Deceptive People: Stress induces changes in rate, volume etc. Tone may change and vary between overt angry or “growling” answers to whispers Establish baseline in rapport building
SELF-INITIATED VERBAL BEHAVIORS Other indicators of verbal deception: Over-friendly or excessive respect Flirting How the word No is used: Inappropriately Sing-Song or repetitive Finger pointing
SELF-INITIATED VERBAL RESPONSES Additional indicators of verbal deception: Classic Non-Responses include: Evasive Repeating the question Asking you a question Environmental Complaints are: Room temperature Headache, upset stomach Chair is too hard
SELF-INITIATED VERBAL RESPONSES Other verbal deception indicators: Use the “con” phrases: Why would I do that? “They” said something happened, I don’t know. Why would anyone do that? It’s probably an error. 90% of the time a con phrase will precede a false statement
BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS QUESTIONING Principle of this process: This is not a Polygraph- findings individually mean nothing Assess the baseline changes in response to questions Identify areas for further examination Must be taken in context and repeated to be valid indicators
Behavioral Analysis Questioning Used to analyze a subject’s emotional and or physical response to opinion or attitude questions Opinion and attitude questions are sensitive because they involve the subject who is being questioned “What do you think should happen to the person who did this?” They trigger certain physiological responses more so than simple fact questions To get an accurate assessment the interviewer should use behavioral questions
Contact Information: Interviewing Techniques Michael Ferjak Iowa Department of Justice Hoover State Office Building, 2 nd Floor Des Moines, Iowa CLEAR 403 Marquis Avenue Suite 200 Lexington, KY Phone: (859)