5 Things Not To Do While Traveling

Good afternoon, friends  and colleagues…I am in my virtual office again at 42,000 feet above the earth and heading due west at a speed of 460 MPH. Wait, hold on…these 900 aircraft models can get up to 530 MPH! Captain, I have a meeting; please put the pedal to the metal!

We are closing in on the end of another year. Folks in the Midwest and northern states have already experienced snow a few times. Of course, the citizens of Buffalo are still attempting to dig out their rooftops. As we southern boys head to golf courses on balmy 78o weekends, we wonder, “Who cares about snow, really?” But with Christmas only a few days away, we are all wondering what has happened to yet another year.

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5 Characteristics of a Professional Interviewer

What do you do for a living? A question we have all received, but probably all answer differently.  In some way, shape or form, we attempt to tell people that we are professional interviewers in some capacity.  After answering this question several times myself, I thought I would highlight 5 characteristics that make an individual stand out truly as someone elite in this profession.

If you consider yourself a professional interviewer, especially if you’ve been doing this for a long time, take a step back and evaluate what actually sets you apart.   The amount of interviews you’ve completed, or how long you’ve been in your position doesn’t necessarily make you a professional.
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More Than Just the Words…

Written statements may appear to be clear, detailed admissions, but are you missing valuable insight embedded in recorded statements?

A recorded statement, either audio or video, can bring additional “richness” to a statement. Let’s look at the additional information one could extract from a recorded statement if it contains the elements of proper written statement.

First, audio/video statements contain subtleties that written statements are unable to capture, such as tone of voice and delivery style of the subject. An interviewer can hear and/or see the person’s attitude, sincerity, and level of cooperation more fully than a written statement can convey. This can also be a powerful persuader of the voluntary nature of the admission at a later time.
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Decisions We Make in the Blink of an Eye – Top 10 Tinder Types to Swipe Left

We take several seconds to make impressions about someone. Right or wrong, we judge people in the blink of an eye.  Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Blink,” discusses these decisions.  He references a study that found students consistently rated a teacher’s effectiveness the same regardless of whether they saw a 10 second, 5 second or 2 second video clip (without audio) of the teacher.   These snap judgments were compared to evaluations after a full semester of classes and the evaluations were the same.

These two second decisions made me think of the app, Tinder. I learned of this app from my 23 year old cousins, so like many of their activities, I assumed I was too old for this. After recently visiting a friend that is my age in Portland, I got to see this app in action.

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Written Statement Key to Positive Verdict

For this national retailer, they were in the middle of the worst case scenario for every loss prevention professional and executive out there. Lawyers and a former associate claiming false confession and false imprisonment.

The unfortunate situation had already been played out in the media.  The retailer was portrayed as the unfair giant coercing a low-level beloved associate into confessing to a minimal loss by using horrific tactics such as lying, coercion, and threatening imprisonment.  As with any legal situation, the company was unable to comment on the facts of the case or more importantly the background of proven thievery of this supposed “innocent” associate.

Regardless of a retailer’s footprint across the country, a lawsuit is the number one fear in the complex industry of discovering truth.

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WZ Europe Continues to Grow

Over the last several years Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (WZ) has taken its “Non-Confrontational Interview” concept and theories outside of North America to all corners of the world.  In fact, in the last year I personally have provided training on five different continents!  My travels and training courses have taken me to some exotic locations including Lagos, Dominican, El Salvador, Johannesburg, Washington DC, Manila, Dubai, Kabul, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Chicago, Amsterdam, Dublin, and a recent trip to Macau, China.  The demand for non-confrontational interview techniques is growing exponentially!

Since 2010 my travels and training have brought me to UK and Europe on a regular basis, and I’ve had the pleasure of delivering several courses for WZ EU within the UK with the help of Cardinal Security.  During that timeframe WZ EU has provided training to more than 800 delegates representing more than 100 different organizations.  This growing trend has created the need for a greater WZ presence in Europe.  So I’ve decided to give up the NFL and American Football for The Premiership and ‘proper football’ and settle just north of London for the next year.  I now call England my home.

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The Bearer of Many Hats…The Not So Secret Life of Professional HR/ER

Think being in Human Resources or Employee Relations isn’t funny?  Think again.

Check out Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates’ speaker Brett Ward, CFI as he gives us his take on the numerous hats HR/ER professionals wear on a daily basis.

“Greetings from 42,000 feet friends and colleagues…..

Gliding through my home away from home (the clouds) towards to the next assignment which this week happens to be a contract for a group consisting of Human Resources, Employee Relations, Ethics Officers and General Counsel for one of our Department of Defense contractors.

Typically, when I’m sitting in my hotel room working late into the evening feeling sorry for myself because of an overflowing platter, all it takes is to spend three days with a team of Human Resources professionals to remember the grass is hardly (never) ever greener on the other side.    We at Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (WZ) are certainly the bearer of many hats:  Investigator, Consultant, Sales Person, Author,  Antagonizer (ok this one’s just me), Travel Coordinator, Referee, Psychologist (for each other) and the occasional Professional Speaker in our “spare time.”  But just a handful of hours with this group and I feel guilty about the half dozen or so knives I’m juggling at any one time.  I have significant moments of clarity occasionally when around certain industries that make me thank the good Lord my professional window of opportunity came in the form of a consultant.  You know, where I can do my thing and sneak off stage-left knowing what was left in my wake will be dealt with tomorrow morning by someone other than yours truly (“You’re welcome.” Ok, now that was not a nice gesture, very unlike you and non-”HRish”).  I started thinking of just how many hats folks in the professional HR/ER world deal with on a daily basis and it quickly became a high figure.  Know that there are other professionals out there that do recognize the mountains faced by your genre, understand the challenges of it, and are grateful for those that have the internal fortitude to take it on.

Thought we’d discuss a few…..

Generational Expert

When first “asked” (cough, cough – threatened) if I would be willing to blog for WZ, my response was, “Can you please use that word in a complete sentence, and are there any other pronunciations out there for it?”

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WZ President/CEO Shane Sturman, CFI, CPP Takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Of course, Shane took the ice bucket challenge but also donated to a worthy cause!  #StampOutALS

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Skilled Interviewers Only: “The Walk & Talk” Method

This article discusses a theory and approach to a modified form of general loss interviews.  Before making any practical use of this theory please partner with your respective supervisor and decision- makers at your company to ensure it complies with their guidelines.  This is an approach that takes a skilled, experienced interviewer to maneuver through the conversations appropriately.

We have so many resources nowadays to help us identify internal theft or dishonesty.  Now we see IP cameras, remote monitoring, exception reporting, biometrics and other technology that provides us with alerts and reports pointing us to who the bad guys are in our company.  However, regardless of what technology is out there; sometimes the best resources to identify issues are the employees themselves.  They are a wealth of information; anything from knowing who is dating whom or which employee just got a DWI and is in some serious financial trouble.  Our employees can provide us with invaluable information initiating an otherwise vague investigation.

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7 Danger Signs of a False Confession

Protect the Innocent

Protect the Innocent

A false confession is an admission of guilt in which the confessor is not responsible for the crime.  The Innocence Project states that “in about 25% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made incriminating statements, delivered outright confessions or pled guilty.”  They further state, “these cases show that confessions are not always prompted by internal knowledge or actual guilt, but are sometimes motivated by external influences.”


There are three categories of false confessions:

  • Voluntary false confessions are given freely.  Sometimes they do so to cover for the person responsible, or to gain attention.
  • Compliant false confessions are given to avoid stressful situations, avoid punishment, or gain an implied or promised reward.  Sometimes people confess to escape what feels like a helpless situation.
  • Internalized false confessions are those in which the person actually believes they committed the act.

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