One of the many talents of a private investigator is interviewing witnesses and suspects to gather facts and information for a case. A skilled private investigator knows the right questions to ask to find the information necessary to find a lead or solve a case. During the course of their work, private investigators may interview witnesses such as plaintiffs and defendants, bystanders, subject matter experts, family members, law enforcement officers, medical examiners, and many others.
Learn How to Interview Witnesses
If you’re new to the private investigation business or a related field, or if you need to develop witness interviewing skills, there are a wide variety of books to help you learn the techniques.
While becoming an expert takes time and practice, the books we’ve selected can help you learn the fundamentals of the interviewing process. Understand who to talk to in various situations. Learn the techniques used by the pros to understand what a person’s behavior means and if they are lying or being deceptive. Also, learn how to ask the right questions to extract the information you need. Plus, understand how to differentiate between useful and unreliable information.
List of Books
Following is a list of books we recommend on the subject. All of the books are available to purchase on Amazon.com.
Everything Private Investigation Book
A good place for private investigators to start is the Everything Private Investigation Book. It teaches the reader how to master the techniques of professional investigators to examine the evidence, trace down people, and discover the truth. In addition, the book explains basic research techniques, how to dig up background information, how to use the internet, and other secrets from the pros. Learn how to use newspapers, military records, motor vehicle records, and more to do background checks, check out tenants, and find missing persons.
Practical Aspects of Interview and Interrogation
Another great book to help you learn about witness interviewing is the Practical Aspects of Interview and Interrogation, Second Edition (Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations). This book focuses on why false confessions exist and how to avoid them. It includes chapters on a variety of topics that are helpful to private investigators, such as:
- Telephone interviewing, asking questions over the phone
- False Confessions
- Field Interviewing witnesses in person
- Sexual Harassment Interviewing
- Confronting the alleged criminal
- Pre-employment Interviewing
- Legal aspects and considerations about the process
- Frequently Asked Questions
Principles of Kinesic Interview and Interrogation
The Principles of Kinesic Interview and Interrogation book explores both basic and advanced interview and interrogation techniques. It focuses on understanding a person’s behavior based on their body language and their writing. Some people believe that being successful as an interviewer is an innate ability. Either you have it or you don’t. But the author of this book proves that the techniques are definitely a learnable skill. Using the techniques in this book you can do more than extract information, you can learn what their behavior actually means. Good stuff for private detectives who need to develop skills in this area.
Investigative Interviewing: Psychology, Method and Practice
Written by an author with over 30 years of investigative interviewing experience, this book outlines a structured process that takes a non-accusatory approach, which is in contrast to most law enforcement-style interrogations. It avoids intimidation and coercion and false confessions. Learn the fundamentals of interviewing, how to overcome objections, understand legal issues, and more. It focuses on getting results that are legally admissible in court.
Questions and Comments
If you have any questions or comments about interviewing witnesses, please post a comment below. Also, check out our other Private Investigator Books.