How to interview someone (with pictures)

How to interview someone (with pictures)
How to interview someone (with pictures)

Obtaining information from an uncooperative individual can be a complicated exercise. Whether you are conducting an internal business investigation or trying to determine if your teen is lying to you when he says he does not smoke, the techniques in this article will be helpful. However, each situation is different and you will need to know how to adapt your approach.


Part 1 of 4: playing the role

Interrogate Someone Step 1

Step 1. Be friendly and relaxed

Empirical studies have shown that the best way to get someone's confidences is to make that person feel comfortable. She must trust you. Behaving like a Hollywood movie Nazi or a Bruce Willis cop is not going to get anywhere. Act like an open person and just trying to do their job, and the person you're interviewing will find you a lot nicer. The first step is to gain his trust.

Interrogate Someone Step 2

Step 2. Have a grip

That doesn't mean you have to ride hard. You just need to present yourself as a professional, organized, confident person. The interviewee will then see you as the one with the power to bail him out … or get him into more trouble if he's not on your side.

Interrogate Someone Step 3

Step 3. Stay Calm

Letting your anger or stress show through will let the interviewee understand that it affects your emotions. Avoid this at all costs and do your best to be calm and rested in your interactions with the subject.

Interrogate Someone Step 4

Step 4. Forget the “good cop - bad cop” technique

This technique is very commonly presented in the media and the interviewee will quickly understand your merry-go-round. He will be suspicious, which will not benefit you. Stick to “good cop - good cop” and you will go much further.

Part 2 of 4: Developing a Relationship

Interrogate Someone Step 5

Step 1. Be nice

Did you hear the story of the terrorist confessing certain information only because his interrogator brought him special cookies (he was diabetic and could not eat normal cookies)? This is not an isolated case. Be polite, kind and give the impression that you care about the well-being and comfort of the interviewee. This will make them more inclined to open up to you.

Interrogate Someone Step 6

Step 2. Talk to him about something else

Talk to your interviewee about things that have nothing to do with the survey. This will give you the opportunity to bond with this person and to understand each other better. The suspect will then speak more readily and you will be able to better understand his values ​​and his way of thinking.

Ask him for example where he grew up, then tell him that you always wanted to visit this place. Ask him how the area is, what he recommends you visit, etc

Interrogate Someone Step 7

Step 3. Get to know the interviewee

Ask the person you are interviewing about themselves and talk about what they like, what they think and what matters to them. The person will open up little by little and you will better understand their reasoning.

Interrogate Someone Step 8

Step 4. Offer to help the interviewee on a topic unrelated to the survey

Identify a need for this person that has nothing to do with your investigation and that you could address in exchange for information. His children may need medical help and you could help the respondent get a better health insurance. His little brother may be having difficulty academically while your son is a genius and could help him with his homework. By identifying an issue that is more important to this person than the information you seek to obtain, you will only gain the trust of that individual.

Interrogate Someone Step 9

Step 5. Ask for his opinion

Getting someone to talk about a topic related to the investigation or the investigation itself might help you understand their position, but could also cause the person to betray themselves and blurt out more. information that she did not want to reveal. Ask her who she thinks is responsible for the problem or what she would do for you. Ask her what she thinks about the theft or the subject of the investigation. If you can read between the lines, you could learn a lot.

Interrogate Someone Step 10

Step 6. Defend the interviewee

The interviewee should see you as the person who will protect them and do what is right for them, if only they will give you what you need. Because, after all, you have to do your job well! And once you have the information you are looking for, your manager will be satisfied and you can help that person make the right choices to get out of this situation. You should then present the interviewee with the threat of the worst possible outcome and dangle a more desirable one. Threats and other attempts to use your position against the interviewee will immediately sabotage this effective technique.

Part 3 of 4: Knowing how to ask questions correctly

Interrogate Someone Step 11

Step 1. Ask closed questions

Closed questions are those that can only be answered with yes, no or a specific answer. If someone is trying to avoid answering you, use these types of questions and insist on a direct answer. Closed questions are those like:

“Who did…”, “Why this…”, “When did…”, “Did you…”, “Can you…”, etc

Interrogate Someone Step 12

Step 2. Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions are those that cannot be answered with "yes" or "no". These kinds of questions will be useful for you to get people to say more, potentially betray themselves, and to gain more detail or a fuller understanding of the situation. The open questions are those of the type:

"Explain to me how …", "Why did …", "What happened …", "How did …", etc

Interrogate Someone Step 13

Step 3. Ask “funnel” questions

Funnel-shaped questions seem broad and harmless, then slowly tighten around the information you seek. You can usually start by asking questions to which you already know the answers. This will help the person get used to answering your questions and betray themselves more easily.

For example, “Did you hear about the theft last night? "," Who was there last night? "," What time did these people leave? "," What time did you leave? "

Interrogate Someone Step 14

Step 4. Ask descriptive questions

When asking certain questions, for example when trying to get details about a situation or to determine if someone is lying, use descriptive language. Use terms like “say”, “describe” or “show” to get the person to tell you a story and give you specific details. While presenting details of the situation, there is a high risk that information will leak out.

Interrogate Someone Step 15

Step 5. Ask analytical questions

Asking the interviewee what they think about a deeper issue relating to your situation may allow you to discover new information, but also to understand how that person thinks and to determine the methods to use to extract information from them. Ask questions like, "Why would anyone steal these files?" And study his reaction.

Interrogate Someone Step 16

Step 6. Don't ask leading questions

These questions will betray your assumptions about the situation and the interviewee may be tempted to give you wrong answers to satisfy you or to get out of the situation. These types of questions may seem useful during an investigation, but they will not be the best way to get the truth. If you question or argue with someone who is genuinely innocent, then you would be harming your own investigation and prolonging the problem.

For example: “You can't really trust Laure, don't you think? "

Part 4 of 4: Using other tools

Interrogate Someone Step 17

Step 1. Use silence

Silence can also be a powerful tool. Stay silent after the person answers your question or if they refuse to answer it and look them in the eye. Make that face your mother used to make when you did something stupid and she knew it. Stare at the person with that expression and wait. Most Westerners are conditioned to feel uncomfortable during silences and will fill them up by saying whatever comes to their mind, at the risk of leaking information.

Interrogate Someone Step 18

Step 2. Use props

This technique is somewhat petty and you might get in trouble if you get caught using it. You could use props like cardboard files filled with papers, photo negatives, plastic bags with samples, flashcards, videos, to trick your suspect into thinking you have evidence you don't have. in fact not. Don't say anything about these props, just highlight them and give the interviewee a chance to confess. He will think that confessing will be in his best interest.

Interrogate Someone Step 19

Step 3. Pretend you know it all

Make the suspect believe that you already know everything. Present him with basic information, in as much detail as possible. Tell him that if you already have all the information you need to complete the investigation, you are required to listen to everyone's version. Ask questions to which you already know the answers, wording them so that they contain the answers: "You were in the office at 9:10 am last Friday, weren't you? "Then come to the information you are looking for and leave space for the person to respond," What I don't understand is why I'm told you moved these files. Can you explain it to me? I think you had a good reason."

Interrogate Someone Step 20

Step 4. Do not use torture or severe intimidation

Avoid at all costs the techniques, so common today, which lead interrogators to use threats, serious intimidation or what can amount to a form of torture, to obtain the information sought. These techniques have been proven to affect you as much as the interviewee. You might as well avoid psychological problems in the long term!


  • Have a reason for each of your actions.
  • Position a camera in the room (fake or real).
  • Do more research and find many more questioning techniques.


  • Realize that you cannot hold someone against their will. As a private citizen, it is illegal for you to lock up someone against their will. You would risk jail time.
  • Never torture your interviewee. The victim will tell you what you want to hear, just to get you to stop. The information obtained will then probably be false.

Popular by topic