Be Your Own Detective - Basic Interviewing

Sexy Woman suspect interviewed The basics of interviewing – what do you really need to know?

Well, first you may need to know what you want to find out. What is the purpose of your interview? Is it a witness or suspect you are interviewing? Is it a pre employment interview? What facts are you looking for? - Those are all things you should consider when conducting an interview.

I often get asked – how can I tell if they are telling a lie? The real life answer is – you can’t. What you can look for are indicators of deception, but these indicators are not universal across all cultures. So I will give you a brief, and very incomplete quick lesson on looking for indicators of deception. I say deception, because sometimes the stress of the answer is not because the person is lying, but simply that they are under stress of the question, or fear that you will not believe them. People often display exactly the same behavior when they fear they will not be believed as when they know they are lying.

First, start the interview with some basic open ended questions. Ask the person to tell you about themselves, or even speak about a past incident that is non threatening. Observe the person’s behavior as they speak.

When you start to get to the nitty-gritty part of the interview, be sure and ask some non-threatening questions. Do this off an on throughout the interview as a chance to pause and for you to observe more “normal” behavior.

Sexy woman licking lips

Here are some common indicators: Licking lips,

touching nose (ever wonder where the growing nose idea came from in Pinocchio?), Look Down and Rightblinking, eyes darting, looking down and to their right

are all common indicators of deception. If a person looks up and left, it is usually just an indication of thinking about an answer - not necessarily a sign of deception. The eyes are a window to the soul, but you need to learn to read them.Buckwheat Look There are also indicators like the three whites of the eyes (the "Buckwheat" look, or deer caught in the headlights).

Now some people do these things normally and just because their nose itches it doesn’t mean they are lying. Look for these behaviors as a change from normal behavior when they are speaking.

If a person over emphasizes and answer – like “no, no, no, no!!” or saying “I swear on my mother’s grave!” or anything similar – chances are they are lying. Once again, look for these answers outside of a normal answer.

What about voice stress analyzers? Apparently, voice stress analyzers are the poorest tool used to determine deceptiveness. In blind studies they are less than 50% effective.

What about lie detectors? The polygraph can be more better described as an art form than any kind of science. While polygraph examiners will argue that they are quite effective, the National Academy of Science studied the process and determined that they are pretty much totally ineffective. They are a useful tool to get suspect to confess, but that doesn’t mean they work.

I will make an entire post or more about lie detectors later -

Stay Safe!


  1. Very interesting I would love to interview that girl in black pictured but I really would not care if she where lying or not :)

  2. The techniques top private eyes use in conducting a surveillance so they don't get caught. Learn how to conduct a fixed surveillance or how to tail someone on foot or by car. Important! Privacy laws vary from state to state; this section should be required reading for anyone who might be considering conducting a surveillance.

  3. GM - well the issue of my post is about techniques, but I definitely get your point.

    Gillberk - please comment about the blog post. If you leave more comments that are just spam ads I will delete them.

  4. Hey! This post has simple tips for us ordinary people who sometimes have to bump into strangers. I can see we don;t even have to use the tips to have our own interview, it goes beyond.

    Sometimes, we meet real estate and insurance agents, who are just interested to close the deal but do not care for after sales service. Lies are lies. Arming ourselves with simple interview tips like this one will save us lots of frustration later.

  5. Annie - Thanks for th input, and I think you are correct

  6. Hello! I am glad to found this your site. Great stuff here. I like those interviewing techniques.. Thanks for sharing! :)

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