Many interviews are doomed before the subject and interviewer meet together. Learn how to prepare and avoid the common pitfalls.
Paul thought he'd sail through his interview with Betty, a suspected embezzler. With the accumulated evidence, he expected a confession in the first 10 minutes. Surprise! Not only did he not get a confession but he divulged secret information, inadvertently offended the subject, and saw her walk further away from prosecution. What did Paul do wrong? He didn't prepare. Don't let it happen to you.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Before embarking on an interview, review the case file to ensure it doesn't contain important information that others have overlooked and information the subject already knows. Study the hypothesis to make sure it reflects the obtained documents.
Consider the type of information that each of the potential witnesses can supply. Generally, interview the most vulnerable subjects after the most reluctant subjects. This will provide you a broader base of information that you can use to formulate later questions. However, the timing of interviews is at the discretion of the examination team.
Characteristics of a Good Interview
Good interviews share common characteristics. The interview should be sufficiently long and deep to uncover relevant facts. Most interviewers tend to get too little, rather than too much, information.
From the outset, determine the relevant information, and seek it. Extraneous or useless facts tend to complicate the gathering and analysis of the information.
Conduct the interview as quickly as you can after the event in questions. With the passage of time, memories of potential witnesses and subjects fade, and you can lose critical details. Aim at gathering information in a fair, objective, and impartial manner.