by Peter Hyatt
This question contains dynamite. Proceed with caution.
Analytical Interviewing is a legally sound interview based upon entering the subject's own internal, subjective, personal dictionary.
It is the single most effective way to gain information.
I write this excluding coercive measures which are illegal and immoral, and, I believe, unnecessary.
People have been created to talk. Even those who have been held against their will admitted giving more information out after prolonged periods of isolation, even more so than when tortured.
Analytical Interviewing allows the subject to interpret his own words, and because most of these interviews are conducted after the written statement, the Interviewer knows precisely where to focus the questions.
The sensitive areas have already been highlighted.
"Have you ever been arrested?"
This may be the single most important question an employment interview can contain. Because only convictions show up in background checks, there are lots of dangerous individuals who can cause a variety of trouble for an employer, who have no criminal history.
It is also a question that, in some states, cannot be asked.
As government has grown steadily since The Great Depression, and in earnest under the Obama administration, laws, rules and restrictions have grown in incessant multiples, beyond all reason. The 'amendments to amendments' exponential growth is beyond comprehension.
Nevertheless, employers must find a way to protect their businesses from those who, statistically, will harm them, either directly, indirectly, or through the harm of fellow employees.
Liars, ie, those who fabricate reality, will cost you.
Personally, financially, emotionally, and in ways neither you nor I could predict.
In your interview, you may be restricted in what you can ask a potential employee, and we do a specific Statement Analysis training just for Human Resources, but suffice to say: if a subject brings up a topic in the interview, it is now 'fair game' to discuss.
Some companies, especially those who deal in government contracts, can ask, "Have you ever been arrested?" due to safety issues. Many times restrictions set up by government, at all levels, are not used by government itself. In other words, the government says, "you can't" but "we can."
Therefore, you can find creative ways to get the information you need to hire those who will be "problem solvers" instead of "problem bringers" to your business.
Here is a transcript from an interview that highlights the sensitivity of avoidance.
In Statement Analysis, when someone avoids a question, the question, itself, is deemed "sensitive" and it is the Interviewer's business to find out why.
Q. Have you ever been arrested?
A. A. "Hmm. Sir, you know, I have had cleared background checks, a clean record, been fingerprinted. "
When I ask this question, being arrested is not something someone someone likely needs to pause to think about. It is a memorable event that should need no prompts.
The first thing you should notice after the pause is the conclusion: his answer avoided the question. This now means, for whatever reason, the question is sensitive. His sentence not only avoided the question, but felt choppy, with dropped pronouns.
His answer asserts that he has passed background checks (which was true).
Q. Have you ever been arrested?
A. “Sir, I am not going to lie to you. I have no record.
Now we are getting somewhere. He avoided answering (sensitive) because his answer was deceptive.
Now note: He did not lie. Something is going on with him, but he does not want to deal with the internal stress of direct lying.
Remember, 90% and above deceptive answers are due to missing information and not direct outright lying. Had he said, "no", it would have been a lie. Instead, he avoided the question and had, in deed, had clean background checks.
Q. "I'm glad you are not going to lie. Tell me about being arrested."
I reflected back to him his own wording. This shows the subject that I am listening and it also helps me avoid interpreting his words.
A. I pled guilty. I am a very ethical honest person. My record has since been expunged. I think I was 18. I was mad. A car. It just kept breaking down.
Q. "Tell me about your car."
I was furiously taking notes. "ethical" "honest" and he called himself a "person." He used the pronoun "my" for "record" and I caught "think" as weak assertion. This is all "on the fly", as it happens live. My scribbling is messy, but my abbreviations work well. We teach a form of 'investigative shorthand' that focuses upon many of the obvious deceptions, such as:
for: "I don't know" and "I have no idea", and so on.
I could have focused on "ethics" and "honesty", and have him explore these things, but "car" caught my interest. He was "mad" and it had something to do with a "car" and I wanted to know.
A. "I got mad at an old car of mine and got a call that someone stole it. That was the stupidest thing I ever done. Kept breaking down. I was mad at it. Over an old Monte Carlo. No insurance. Broke down on the side on the road. Set fire to it. Then I got scared. I told police something stole it. I was fined and had to pay. I’m not a violent person. "
I have uncovered arson and due to whatever regulations he was under, his record was expunged. I learned that he took his anger out on the car, set it on fire, reported it stolen, but then said:
"I'm not a violent person."
In Statement Analysis, we take what someone tells us in the negative very seriously. It is more important than what one says in the positive.
In the positive: he says he is "very ethical" and "honest", but in the negative he tells us that he is not a "violent" person.
He introduced "violence" where there was no question about violence. The topic of "violence" is now 'on the table' for me.
As the interview proceeded, I learned that he had been accused of putting his hands on two women at his last job. He blamed the HR director for "trying to make a name for himself" but when it came down to specifics, he could not remember.
He said that he was traumatized by the "whole thing" but could not remember "apologizing for it", though they "said I did it."
Later in the interview, I got to this portion. I learned that he worked with young people. I was alarmed. I have added underlining so that you can see the words I highlighted to get to the truth:
Q. What did they accuse you of?
A. "He said that I touched 2 of them on the butt. I don’t know if they were male or female, he didn’t say, but I never did that. I didn’t touch no one on the butt. I had surgery on my ankle and maybe I fell on someone I don’t know, but I don’t remember that. I was leaning in close to check breath. I sometimes say ‘blow on me’ to see if they were drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana. Maybe I leaned in really close and that is what they think happened. I didn’t do it.
Got done 3 years ago. HR was out to make a name for himself. He wanted me to sign a letter to say I did it. If I had signed that letter, it would have been the end.
2 students got together and said I touched one on the butt. I don’t know male or female.
He sent me home on a day of reflection. I reflected about it that day and came back and resigned.
He said that they had no time to rehearse their story. But they did have time. They did have time to put it together and accuse me.
Q. Why would they do it?
A. I have 9 pins in my ankle, I might have gotten stumbling.
I swear to Got to you I never ever ever touched anyone intentionally like that. I may have gotten too close and smelled their breath. This may have been it.
Q. Was the accuser male or female?
A. He said female. I don’t know.
I know that he was just trying to make a name for himself. I filed a greviance against him and they lost it. I called them up a bunch of times and they lost it. I later found out that he was killed in a car accident in California.
The HR officer was killed. Jim I can’t remember his last name. It is something that really impacted me.
I spent 48 years making a name for myself.
Q. What were you specifically accused of?
A. I was accused of I don’t know, I was accused of touching a female student’s butt.
Honestly, sir, if you call me to the mat, on something I did, I am going to confess to it. If I do something wrong, address me on it. If I did something wrong, I will come to you and confess it and say, “Let’s work on a plan and do something about it. That’s the way I am. If you accuse me of something I didn’t do, I will, I will, not fight with you, I will discuss it with you and say, hey, I didn’t do this.”
I was alone in the office, you had to come in and sign , I don’t remember anything. He said she came in and addressed it and I apologized for it, and I don’t remember doing it, I don’t remember apologizing for it. It sounds like a concocted story.
Q. You apologized to the female student?
A. I don’t remember. He said I did. I don’t remember apologizing to her. I don’t remember touching her.
I’m not saying the allegation wasn’t there, but how he handled it was not very professional.
Someone said he got into a mess over this and he was told to never ever ever address another staff member without going to him first. I should have stayed and fought it.
Q. Why should you have stayed and fought it?
A. For the kids. Working with kids. The young adults I like to refer to them.
Q. Are you telling me the truth?
A. Sir, I don’t lie I am telling the truth. I am honest to a fault.
Q. Did you touch her butt?
A. Let me tell you this. I would rather tell you the truth right now than lie now, and lie tomorrow and then you find out next week. It wouldn’t work.
A girl I work with can’t remember the lie she told me. She told me she had 300 horses. She can’t even remember.
I applied for ******* PD reserved officer and with ******* I was cleared in the background check.
I had to quit school to support my family. My dad was disabled fisherman. I know what it is like to be a working man.
He then said, "What are the odds, you think, since I told you the truth, that I will get the job?"