October 1, 2019 | Barb Carr

4 Incident Investigation Interviewing Mistakes that are Haunting Investigators

This time of year, it’s all fun and games until someone gets spooked by investigation interviewing mistakes! I used to think investigation interviews were unnerving too – especially when the interviewee sat across from me staring blankly, offering very little information. However, with a little pre-planning, interviews feel much more manageable. Following are four tips that are easy to incorporate into your process.

4 Incident Investigation Interviewing Mistakes

  1. Being unprepared. Coming across as disorganized sets a negative tone for the entire interview. Construct a timeline of events that led to the incident and read the witness statement beforehand so you know how to guide the interview.
  2. Not structuring the Interview. Structure the interview so that you first offer a friendly greeting and build rapport, then explain the interview process, and then questions. Don’t jump straight into questions.
  3. Firing questions. Asking a list of questions is a sure way to shut the interview down. Instead, the first question should be, “Tell me from start to finish what you observed the day of the incident. Take your time.” Then, sit back and let them tell the story. Follow-up with questions after.
  4. Not listening. An interview is more about listening and taking notes than asking questions. Focus on what the witness is saying so you don’t miss important information.

Learn more about investigation interviewing in my upcoming webinar, October 23, 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm.

Register for Investigative Interviewing Webinar

Interviewing & Evidence Collection
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