LP Magazine

SEP-OCT 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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PRODUCT SHOWCASE WATCHING OVER YOU SINCE 1873 • Underwriters Laboratories Listed • Factory Mutual Approved • SIA Certified Operators At AFA, we deliver superior levels of customer service. If you don't believe us, ask our customers! 8 6 6 . 2 3 2 . 6 2 8 5 www.afap.com The Battle of the Sexes in the Interview Room By Stefanie Hoover, CFI Who's better at interviewing: men or women? You're probably thinking that a post written by a woman would contain a clear-cut answer, firmly tilted toward women. This should be a slam dunk, no-brainer, obvious as can be. Even though I do like clear-cut answers to my questions, the answer to this one was a little more slippery than I thought it would be. I had heard from other practitioners over the years that in their experience, female interrogators do indeed have an advantage. And I went along with this theory, throughout my career, happy to believe this urban legend. Aren't women indeed more nurturing, more caring, more empathetic, better listeners, more patient, and so forth? Or are these just stereotypes? So I began a search for scientific studies that would back up my initial thought: women were indeed more effective interrogators. There exists quite a bit of anecdotal evidence but very little hard science. As I searched, I was astounded at the amount of interview and interrogation material out there that made blanket statements about women interrogators with nothing other than some case examples to back up their theories. My position has now changed to the following: there are so few female interrogators that those who do exist have become successful because they employ those traits aforementioned that make them the most effective. In other words, they are good at what they do because they had to figure out the best way to be successful in a competitive arena, not just because they are women. In a male-dominated profession, you can be a mediocre male interrogator; you have the numbers on your side. Further, I posit that if we took a company or government agency and suddenly hired equal amounts of female and male interrogators from a pool of inexperienced candidates, and then we gave them the same training, chances are pretty good the perceived effectiveness for both males and females would be similar. Of course, this is only my opinion; maybe someone can conduct this experiment—in my lifetime. Since I couldn't find studies on the topic, I conducted a semi-scientific poll and asked a few people I know, men and women, their opinions on this topic. I was especially interested in hearing from the team at Wicklander-Zulawski: what was the word on the street, so to speak? Did they get a lot of questions about the topic during their seminars, or did they themselves observe one population or another to be better or worse at interviewing? Good, straightforward questions, one would think, but the answers were all over the place. I heard quite a few expected responses that women are more empathetic and better listeners. One interesting point was that "people would rather talk to a woman." There have been some studies around this point; when shown pictures of men or women and asked who they would rather talk to, the study participants chose women over men the majority of the time. This may give the female interviewer an edge at the beginning of an interrogation, but the skills needed to be successful are learned, not decided with a chromosome split. Some other comments shared were about difficulties female interrogators have; evidently, it's not all confessions all the time for us. "They lack confidence when they interview men." "Women aren't raised to be confrontational." "Male suspects will try to continued on page 62 61 LP MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 2018

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