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INTERVIEWING AS A ‘FORENSIC-TYPE’ PROCEDURE - page 8 / 19

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phone book. Steve, who was also a close personal friend of the owner, had approved the payments. A search of the local business registrations revealed that both vendors in question had indeed been created by Steve. After a substantial amount of preliminary investigative work, Joe decided to confront Steve with this information and solicit explanations. What follows is a condensed, paraphrased interview1 that Joe had with Steve with periodic analyses of the interview in italics.

Joe: “Hi, my name is Joe. (Joe shakes hands with Steve and each sits down.) The owner has asked me to review some of our business practices looking for ways to improve the profitability of the company. Do you have a few minutes to answer some questions?” Steve: “Yes.” Joe: “I appreciate your willingness to take time to speak with me. Tell me about your duties and responsibilities with the company.” Steve: “I’m a project manager. I oversee construction projects, estimate construction costs and assemble bids from successful bidders.” Joe: “How long have you been with the company?” Steve: “About 12 years.” Joe: “Are you satisfied with the work environment and the compensation you receive?” Steve: “Yeah, I like working here and I feel I have been compensated fairly.” Analysis: Steve has agreed to answer some questions relevant to improving the profitability of the company. Joe does not immediately confront Steve with the incriminating information but instead tries to put him at ease by asking a series of non-sensitive questions. The purpose of these non- sensitive questions is to “calibrate” the subject; that is, to establish a baseline for the subject’s verbal and nonverbal cues when we know s/he is responding truthfully to non-sensitive questions. Later in the interview--when the questions move toward more sensitive, possibly incriminating issues--we will compare the subject’s verbal and nonverbal cues to those observed during the early part of the interview. This process, called calibration, can be very effective in determining whether subjects are being truthful or not.

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The actual admission-seeking interview lasted four hours.

Interviewing as a ‘Forensic-Type’ Procedure

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