I have dedicated the past 16+ years to building skills and knowledge to share with people who have a passion for developing their ability to conduct better interviews. This extends to security based interviews such as investigations and vetting, recruitment interviews, law enforcement, workplace enquiries, management issues and business interviews across many industries.
My interest in interviewing kicked off when I was a Police Constable and I observed such a variation in styles and the degree of success that each method resulted in. After moving into the corporate world I recognised that many people were tasked with the responsibility to conduct interviews but they had been given little or no training in how to do it well.
Developing and teaching programs that help people to build skills in conducting better interviews has been very rewarding. To see someone, after a few days training, feel more confident to build a better connection, know how to encourage more truth, ask better questions and identify signs of deception stress, gives me a buzz. I pour everything I can into each course and I learn something new from participants as well.
I’ve been spending more time learning, developing and teaching methods to attract and encourage more truth in interviews and communication. My thinking is that although everyone would like to be wizards at spotting signs of deception, doesn’t it make more sense to do everything in your power to increase the likelihood that people are going to give you the truth before you focus on spotting the lies?
I say to people:
“Become a truth-attractor before a lie spotter and you will have less lies to spot”
The 3 shady characters in the attached image represent the mindsets of 3 people you might interview. I call them: Truthy, Fency and Deceptive. Now I know that any person can jump into either place at any time, so this is not about pigeonholing them and believing if they are at one point Truthy, that is how they will stay.
TRUTHY’s mindset is honest and cooperative and the intent is to answer questions or provide information in a helpful or accurate manner.
FENCY’s mindset, as the name suggests, is ‘sitting on the fence’. This means, although the intent to lie is not in concrete, they will decide along the way how honest they are. There are many factors that contribute to decisions to jump fence into either truthy or deceptive sides of the fence. There are ways to increase the chance that they will jump in the preferred direction.
DECEPTIVE’s mindset has already decided they will not be truthful with you about something. Can you change this? Not always, but I can certainly show you ways to improve your chances of getting truth, even from these people.
3 Ways to help to encourage more truth in the interviews you conduct:
1. Consider the likely MINDSET of the person you are interviewing.
- Think about why they might lie and what the motivation is. Being equipped with an understanding of their mindset can help you to develop a strategy to influence their mindset from the start.
2. Create a KNOWLEDGE BELIEF
- This means building into your conversation, introduction or preamble something that signals to them that you already know something (or a lot) about them, or that you are likely or capable of discovering it. Like all influencing tools there’s a right and wrong way to go about this.
3. Ask for HONESTY
- Not as crazy as it sounds, knowing how to build in a commitment to honesty can make all the difference to how the interview unfolds. Some people are initially uncomfortable with this, but when you know how, you will never conduct another interview without doing it!
[These are covered more in my book 52 Truth Tools®, which equips you with concrete methods to help encourage and decipher the truth in any situation.]
So how does this make lying more difficult?
1. With a better insight to a persons MOTIVATION to hold back truth in your interviews you can look for leverage. What is the motivator for lying and what for telling the truth. You can weave elements into the initial stage of the interview so they almost feel that you are a mind reader.
2. Planting a seed that you KNOW MORE than they thought you did or you can, or will, find it out can cause someone to chance their decision to tell a lie. It often happens sub consciously where a little voice in their head thinks ‘well, he is going to find out anyway, so I may as well just say it’. Be careful not to bluff or pretend, because you could come unstuck doing that. There are ways to do this that achieve the goal you are after.
3. When someone has given you their word that they will be HONEST in their responses or through the process, it makes it more difficult for them to lie. Not only do they have to tell the lie, but they also go against their word. A double whammy. And, once you know what to look for and how to spot subtle signs of behavioural stress, then you have just increased your chances of getting more truth and spotting deception when it occurs.
Of course, with any technique, there’s more to it, but trust me, these things can work. I can tell you over 35 ways to encourage more truth in the interviews you conduct. More truth from the start seems like a better plan than just relying on spotting the deception along the way, right?
If you are in a role where conducting interviews of any shape or size falls into something you have responsibility for, then consider getting in touch and I can talk to you about the programs we run. We have group sessions, in-house courses and coaching programs, all designed to make you a better, more effective interviewer.
I would love to hear about your challenges conducting interviews and any favourite tips you have to fast track your success and get the information you require.