10 – Assuming tenure equals intelligence
Thinking that tenure equals intelligence is an unfortunate misconception. Thousands of students and professionals from the private or public sectors have taught us that tenure can often times lead to complacency. The “been there, done that” mentality can be an expensive one. We must understand that exposure to many types of cases is a blessing to learn from, not a stamp of approval to believe we are the “all-knowing.” In a field that is more art than science, “expert” is a dangerous title to declare. We must remember someone is working harder than us, always. They are professionals willing to explore other methodologies, discover more tools, and become more flexible at times when flexibility is necessary.
9 – Not knowing our opponent
Techniques allow a professional to build a framework. That being said, without a little homework up front to know our opponent leaves the tank half-empty when it comes to “guesstimating” ideas of guilt transference mechanisms. It’s our job is convince our opponent that we are prepared, thorough, and creating an atmosphere of, “This cat has done his homework.” We live in a social networking society at this point. Do some homework and learn who you’re getting ready to chat with. You may get an idea of why they are in the position they are in to begin with.
8 – Approaching the interview with a “script”
This simply means it’s good to learn from the positive things you’ve done in prior investigations but that doesn’t mean we should rely on our success as gospel. The fact is, just because we are successful once it doesn’t mean that exact scenario is going to relate to the next interviewee.
7 – Listening to those touting a 100% confession rate
Please don’t be this guy. If you’re giving your “confession rate” too much credibility, consider the complexity of the cases you’ve worked as well as the overall reason we’re in this profession. Is it for a 100% confession rate or is it to find the truth?
6 – Underestimating the power of “empathy”
It appears that all reputable and professional techniques on the market now are built off the art of rationalization. Being able to provide empathy to someone who has made less than desirable life choices is truly an art form and one not to be taken lightly.
5 – Judging the interviewee for their actions
It’s always valuable to remember that the person you’re sitting across from could be anyone in your family, your children, or maybe even you someday. Let’s lose the labels we have decided to place on individuals who find themselves on the wrong end of a business conversation. From a psychological perspective, we want these conversations to be adult to adult. Not parent to adult, and certainly not parent to child. Make sure you are taking a moment or two to see the world through their eyes.
4 – Letting our instincts and intuition play a role
We all know that interviewing is an art built from a scientific formula that works. When we start thinking our instincts and intuition is smarter than the tried and true science we’ve learned, we need to step back and evaluate where we’ve gone wrong.
3 – Playing the “quickest confession wins” game
Too many interviewers put pressure on themselves to close the deal as quickly as possible so they can relax knowing they “won.” We have to remember that the normal person doesn’t go from “rejection” to “submission,” but passes through a phase of “evaluation” to consider their options during this difficult conversation. Sometimes pulling the trigger too quickly simply allows the opponent to toss a minor offense in the ring to see if the little doggie will run out and grab it, and prance off satisfied. If your senses turn off after hearing, “Ok, I did it,” you might be selling yourself short. That’s when we should be ensuring we have exhausted all opportunities to obtain the elements: intent, substantiate the confession, get a proper document and potentially turn this person into an informant. Catch your breath when you get there. Let whatever technique you’re employing that day work to its truest benefit.
2 – Speaking on our psychological playing field
Back off on the acronyms, street lingo and professional jargon. Speak at an educational level you’re comfortable with and more importantly, one the subject can understand. Take it slow to ensure you’re not confusing yourself or the subject.
1 – Stop learning and practicing
This is a no-brainer. We’ve got to continue challenging ourselves, building on what we currently know and do and ensuring that our techniques and application still fits current customs, cultures, laws and demographics. We’ve got to think, “What if everything changed and I could no longer say __________.” We need to get back on track about prepping ourselves for the ever-present curveball thrown at us during interviews. We need to get better at “guesstimating” motive, hurdle and potential objections so we sound prepared and confident during these conversations. Then, we must remember more of the failures than the successes so we don’t become complacent and stale…or worse: dangerous.