Investigation Interview Techniques

Investigation interview techniques seek to separate deception from truth.

Investigation interview techniques seek to separate deception from truth.

An interview is a conversation that occurs to uncover knowledge and information about a specific inquiry. A hiring manager may interview a job seeker to get information about qualifications and abilities to make a hiring decision. An auditor may interview an accounting manager and staff to get information about accounting inconsistencies. A police detective may interview a criminal suspect to try to determine the truth about what happened and who committed a crime. Investigation interviews may have non-threatening or accusatory tones, depending on the nature of the inquiry: casual, serious, or criminal.

Establishing Rapport

Establishing rapport with the interview subject is a basic investigation interview technique, whether it is a job interview, a business audit interview, or a criminal investigation interview. Rapport can take different tones, depending on the purpose of the interview. An employer interviewing a job candidate may want to present the company in the best light and put the candidate at ease with a friendly, professional rapport. An independent accounting auditor brought in by the owner of the company to investigate accounting discrepancies may need to establish a limited rapport to keep the nature of the inquiry as secret as possible while examining records

Morgan Interview Theme Technique

The creator of the Morgan Interview Theme Technique, or MITT, was Raymond Morgan, a law enforcement investigative and training professional. The MITT uses a series of 42 sketches with interviewees, showing them a sketch, asking them to tell a story about each sketch, and observing their physical and verbal reactions. Sketches depict random scenes, nonviolent crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, apprehension scenes and scenes of people expressing guilt and remorse. Interviewees commonly project indicators of truthfulness or deception when shown MITT sketches, allowing the interviewer to better focus the interview on areas where it seems the interviewee is lying or has anxiety. MITT is commonly used in criminal investigations.

Forensic Assessment Interview Technique

The forensic assessment interview technique, or FAINT, uses verbal and nonverbal cues to evaluate the interviewee’s deception or truthfulness. People who are trying to deceive the interviewer use evasive statements and lack of detail. Body language plays an important role in this technique, with signs of openness, such as hands on the table and legs uncrossed with both feet on the floor as indicators of truthfulness, and negative body language like crossed arms, hands in pockets or leaning or turning away from the interviewer as signs of deception.

Forensic Statement Analysis

An interviewer may ask for a written statement from the person being interviewed instead of or in addition to verbal questions. The statement is then reviewed for accuracy. Forensic statement analysis uses 19 criteria to evaluate an interviewee’s written statement to differentiate truth from fabrication. The criteria include logical structure, quantity of details, use of superfluous details and admitting lack of memory. One of the developers of statement analysis, Avinoam Sapir, found through his research that subjects who are deceptive usually express themselves briefly to avoid the central issue; truthful subjects give more detailed and lengthy statements.

 

References

  • Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques, Third Edition; Nathan J. Gordon and William L. Fleisher
  • Criminal Interrogation and Confessions; Fred E. Inbau et al.

About the Author

Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.

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