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Interviewing and Interrogation: The Trap of Too Many Choices | Tip # 21 of 101 Tips

Interviewing and Interrogation

The “trap” of giving too many choices.

Without a doubt, there is no such thing as a perfect interviewing and interrogation session. Smart interviewers however, will learn from their mistakes and should be doing extensive reading and research to human behaviors, reaction and response behaviors and most importantly how to use ethical and effective persuasion tactics. One pitfall that can be avoided is overwhelming a subject with too many choices to make during any interviewing and interrogation event.

Okay, I’ll admit that one of my favorite desserts is cheesecake.  I love cheesecake! Unfortunately, my problem is I’ve probably never met a cheesecake recipe that I didn’t like.  Therein lies the problem!  As you can imagine, a trip to the “Cheesecake Factory” can be a nightmare for me.  So many choices, so little time, and the futility of guarding my waistline. The problem (albeit a good one!) is that the Cheese Cake Factory has so many good cheese cake variations and I can’t decide.  Eventually when I do decide, there is always that nagging question in my mind “Wonder if that “other one” was really good?”

The same problem exists during an interviewing and interrogation session.  As the interviewer, there is often the urge to “overwhelm” the subject with every piece of evidence and information we have at our disposal.  The end goal being that the subject will feel it is futile to even resist saying “No” to our overtures for cooperation or an admission or even confession.  The is invariably true during “guilt assumptive” or “accusatory” styles of interviewing and interrogation.  The end result is often non-productive.

When a subject is overloaded during interviewing and interrogation, three things will happen:

  1. Your subject will be frustrated because they are being face with too many choices at one time.
  2. Because the subject is faced with too many choices, the decision making time frame is exponentially extended.  This often triggers the interviewer to push that much harder.
  3. When a person overwhelmed with choices and feels they are being pushed to a decision their first instinctive reaction is to survive and reject all the choices.

During any interviewing and interrogation scenario, only offer your subject one issue at a time to consider.  Resolve the issue and only put it aside if absolutely necessary before you bring up a new issue.  Your overall results will be faster and more positive.

Watch Tip # 21 of 101 Tips for Interviewers and Interrogators and learn more!

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