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TUCoPS :: Wetware Hacking :: Others :: intrvw.txt

Techniques used by job interviewers and other hostile interrogators

                      SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEWING

     Interviewing is one form of communication used extensively
by law enforcement.  Whether used to screen applicants, to elicit
information from a witness to a crime, or to obtain a confession,
a good interview can have a significant impact on the
organization.  However, if conducted improperly, the interview
may be rendered worthless or can result in serious negative
consequences for all involved.

     There are certain guidelines to follow when conducting an
interview.  By adhering to the following basic rules, the
interviewer can reduce many of the problems that might arise
because of a faulty interview.

     *  Develop a plan of action.  The interviewer should review
        pertinent data and develop questions that will elicit
        the information required to complete the task at hand.
        For example, for applicant interviews, questions should
        be tailored to gather information that accurately
        evaluates the potential employee.  On the other hand,
        questions posed to witnesses of a crime should be
        designed to obtain facts to complete an accurate report.
        For the most part, interviewers should prepare areas of
        inquiry in a general way to keep the interview flowing.
        Previously prepared questions tend to "drive" the
        interview in a particular direction, which limits the
        type and amount of information gathered.

     *  Conduct the interview privately.  While this basic rule
        is oftentimes difficult to follow, depending on the
        circumstances, every effort should be made to minimize
        distractions during the interview.

     *  Put the interviewee at ease.  Emotions and stress play a
        big part in any type of interview, and the interviewer
        will have a difficult time evaluating a nervous person.
        Starting the interview casually with nonthreatening
        conversation can have a calming effect.  By defusing
        negative feelings and reinforcing positive ones, the
        interviewer can deal with the emotions exhibited by the

     *  Let the person being interviewed do the talking.  One of
        the biggest mistakes the interviewer can make is to talk
        too much.  Accurate evaluations of applicants or
        gathering crucial information regarding a crime depends
        on letting the interviewee talk under controlled
        conditions.  The interviewer should control the
        interview, not dominate it.

     *  Perfect questioning techniques.  Knowing how to ask
        questions is just as important as knowing what questions
        to ask.  Also, making questions easy to understand is
        critical.  This allows the person being interviewed to
        concentrate on answering the questions, not on trying to
        decipher what they mean.

     *  Select questions carefully.  Use closed-ended questions
        (yes/no answers) sparingly because they only require a
        short answer and usually only confirm factual data.
        Open-ended questions force the interviewee to talk and
        elaborate on the matter at hand.  For example, when
        interviewing witnesses to a crime, the interviewer
        should ask the witnesses to relate in their own words
        what they saw.  This allows the interviewer to better
        assess the reliability of the information obtained.
        Interviewers should refrain from asking hypothetical
        questions of potential employees.  Such questions tend
        to evaluate the applicant's ability to guess what answer
        the interviewer wants to hear.  The best guesser then
        gets the job.  Questions posed to potential employees
        should center on what the person has already done that
        relates to the position applied for by the applicant.
        Leading questions, which contain the answer, and loaded
        questions, which ask the person interviewed to choose
        the lesser of two evils, should always be avoided.

     *  Be a good listener.  A good interviewer is a good
        listener.  Interviewers must discipline themselves to
        focus on what is being said and how it is being said.
        They should not look ahead to subsequent questions or
        begin to analyze an answer before the person finishes.
        Nor should they anticipate what the answer will be.

     *  Don't challenge answers given.  Interviewers must keep
        emotional reactions private and should not let personal
        feelings interfere with the interview.  There is time to
        document problems after the interview.

     *  Stay in control.  During an interview, some people try
        to digress from questions asked.  Proper preparation is
        the key to maintain control of the interview and to
        ensure that it does not get off course.

     *  Take brief notes.  Notes allow the interviewer to recall
        important details revealed during the interview.
        However, while making notes, the interviewer should not
        lose eye contact with the person.  Excessive note-taking
        causes the person being questioned to slow down
        responses in order to accommodate the interviewer.

     *  Conclude the interview properly.  It is the
        responsibility of the interviewer to signal the end of
        the interview.  This can be done by simply closing a
        notebook, standing up, or announcing that the interview
        is over.

     *  Write a summary immediately following the interview.
        This helps the interviewer to recall important
        information should questions arise later.

     *  Learn from experience.  Critiquing helps to identify
        areas that need improvement and to develop interviewing

     These basic rules are merely guidelines to follow when
conducting  an interview.  While they will not alleviate all the
problems that can arise during an interview, they will assist in
developing the skills required of a successful interviewer.


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