Yes, there is an art to a great phone interview, and it is up to you to ensure you nail it.
Many private investigators, particularly those who work for law firms, engage often in phone interviews with witnesses and potential witnesses. You may be met with hesitant individuals or those who are nervous about providing you with information, and you may even talk to individuals who are less-than-forthcoming with you about what they know. It is therefore your job to put them at ease, make them feel comfortable, and get the information you need without making the phone conversation any longer than it needs to be. Here’s how to make it happen:
Don’t pick up the phone until you are adequately prepared
Take the time to study the particulars of the case before making the phone call, including all of the facts of the case and the people involved in the case. It is also important to write down the list of questions you plan on asking the individual so you don’t lose your focus in the middle of the phone call.
Take the time to build rapport with the individual
Regardless of the attitude or demeanor of the individual, you must always maintain an air of professionalism as a private investigator, and that means remaining patient, respectful and sympathetic, if necessary. It is also always important to let the individual know that you are mindful of their time and that you are flexible enough to talk to them at a time that is convenient for them. Your thoughtful words and demeanor will likely set the tone of the conversation, thereby allowing you to build a rapport with the individual and experience a successful phone interview.
Spend as much time listening as you do talking
This may seem rather obvious, but many of us fail to listen properly when engaged in a conversation, and we often are completely unaware of this! If you ask a question, make a conscious effort to listen instead of thinking about your next question. Don’t talk over people, and respond to their answers to let them know you heard what they had to say and are not simply digging for information.