A Guide to the Professional Interview

A Guide to the Professional Interview

A Research-based Interview Methodology for People Who Ask Questions

By Geir-Egil Løken
Svein Tore Bergestuen
Asbjørn Rachlew

Investigative Interviewing provides more accurate and reliable information than any other known interview technique. It is founded on interpersonal communication theories and informed by cognitive and social psychology. Equally important, it is designed for practitioners and delivered through a practical model. A Guide to the Professional Interview makes scientifically grounded interview techniques accessible for everyone who asks questions. 

PDF, 260 Pages


April 2022

£23.99, $31.95

EPUB, 260 Pages


April 2022

£23.99, $31.95

  • About This Book
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  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

The world is loaded with information. We enjoy immediate access to most of it through laptops, smartphones and the Internet. There is, however, a great deal of information that professionals cannot reach unless they talk to their clients, patients, job applicants and others. When the purpose is to obtain accurate, relevant and reliable information, no professional interpersonal encounter has been subjected to more systematic and critical research than police interviews of victims, witnesses and suspects of crime. Knowledge derived from this research has formed a novel, more effective way to gather information. The concept is known as Investigative Interviewing, and throughout Interviewing Techniques for Professionals, the authors demonstrate that research-based methodology is applicable and likely to advance professional interviews within a wide range of professions. Based on the extensive feedback the authors have received as advisors and trainers from a highly diverse group of clients and participants, including prosecutors, judges, journalists, investors, recruiters, physicians, researchers, NGOs, lawyers, HR employees, immigration- taxation- child protection- food and competition authorities, to name a few, it has become evident that the concept of Investigative Interviewing is of great utility value, far beyond police stations. 

The pressure to perform and conclude creates working environments vulnerable to errors related to decision making. These challenges are not unique to the police. Unfortunate consequences directly related to poor interviewing can be of a social, financial and human nature. Without professional interviewing techniques, including a methodology that stimulates open mindedness, physicians, head-hunters, intelligence personnel, finance analytics, journalists and others run the risk of confirming their premature assumptions. In worst case scenarios, resulting in deaths caused by wrong treatment, refugees are deported only to face torture or executions, bankruptcy and so on

The techniques presented by the authors were specifically developed to guide interviewers through a mental and practical process that will allow them to remain open-minded to all possibilities, mitigating problems associated with premature decisions. A growing body of research shows with consensus that interviews conducted by professionals without theoretical knowledge and a methodological approach can, at worst, lead to self-fulfilling prophecies, where the interviewer only succeeds in extracting information that confirms his or her premature conceptions, opinions or assumptions. Besides providing the reader with a methodology that stimulates open-mindedness, Interviewing Techniques for Professionals will provide the reader with question techniques developed to test the interviewer`s preconceptions. It will also provide an understanding of what kind of questions reveal the most information; which questions should be asked first; which questions ought to be avoided; how questions should be presented; and, in particular, which interpersonal communication principles stimulate rapport and mitigate communication breakdowns.


“The authors of this volume make a decisive contribution to the practice of rapport-based interviewing, a methodology that is revolutionizing the way suspects, witnesses and victims are questioned in criminal investigations and other information gathering. This revolution is long overdue: human dignity of all persons demands an end to confession-driven interrogation that all too often results in torture and illegal coercion. This book provides answers from professional experience and from rigorous scientific research.”—Juan E. Mendez, Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence, Washington College of Law, US

“In this highly informative book three very experienced and open-minded professional interviewers fully describe an evidence/research-based method of obtaining in interviews information that is as accurate, relevant, and reliable as possible.”—Ray Bull, DSc, Professor of Criminal Investigation, University of Derby, UK

“A Guide to the Professional Interview takes knowledge acquired from the police experience of interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects and illustrates how this can be generalized and applied to different professional contexts. This book has both new things to say, as well as familiar but important things said in an interesting new way.” —Dr. Mary Schollum, Policing and Criminal Justice Consultant, UK 

“‘Time is short, stakes are serious. We’ll trust our experience. Do you think I can afford time for a book?’ The truth is you can’t afford not to. We know what works and Rachlew, Løken, and Bergestuen explain clearly what to do even when time is short.”—Darius Rejali, Author of Torture and Democracy (2007)

Author Information

Asbjørn Rachlew is a police superintendent with a PhD on “Errors of Justice” and a guest researcher at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo. 

Geir-egil Løken is a police superintendent at NCIS Norway. Educated as an instructor in investigative interviewing and in advanced investigation, he is also a consultant.

Svein Tore Bergestuen is a writer, consultant and instructor in journalistic interviewing techniques.


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Table of Contents

Preface; Prologue; Part 1; 1. Introduction; 2. The Foundation of the Method; 3. Psychology; 4. Communication; Part 2; 5. The Method; 6. Planning and Preparation; 7. Engage and Explain—Establishing Rapport; 8. The First Free Recall; 9. Exploration and Clarification; 10. Closing the Interview; 11. Evaluation; Epilogue; Acknowledgments; Bibliography; Index.


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