chapter  3
32 Pages

Initial Interview and Case Evaluation

Communication skills, especially during interviews with a prospective or existing client, witness, suspect, or other party, are a core competency for the investigator. How to ask questions and gain information should not be assumed to be an easy skill to master. In fact, it is safe to say that the art of investigation and questioning takes years to perfect. Interviews are but one of those stages where the questions mean a great deal. An interview can encompass many purposes, including an initial visitation with a prospective client, an ongoing dialogue with a long-term client, an observational review and analysis of a witness or suspect statement, an interrogation of a suspected wrongdoer, a character assessment by a suspect’s neighbor, or a background information check. In any of these scenarios, the private investigator must gauge his or her time and energy wisely. Knowing the difference between idle chitchat and productive discussion is essential.