A career as a private investigator isn’t always as glamorous as the television portrays. There is more to being a PI than staking out in your car and tailgating your subject. Private investigative services In addition to formal training, a private investigator should also possess the following abilities:1
Patience: Surveillance is not only long and dull work, but it also requires you to filter massive information in order to get to the data you need for your case. In addition, you are often chasing a number of cold leads before getting to the hot leads which will help your case.
Observation: Observation is at the heart of every investigation. You need to able to gather information from your surroundings and from people’s verbal and non verbal communications during interviews.
Detail-oriented: You need to be aware of the details which make up the big picture. Not only do you need to be observant, but you also need to be analytical in order to put together qualitative and quantitative reasoning required to support your case.
Thoroughness: Especially in litigations where the serious consequences are involved, private investigators need to be extremely thorough in their research to ensure they have all the facts required to support the case. Thoroughness in investigation includes pursuing and following up with all the leads, researching the subject in all information channels possible and careful documentation of interviews and research. Knowledge is power, and this is especially the case in investigations where a slip of a piece of information can have dire consequences.
Skepticism: Due to the nature of the cases, especially in litigations, which can impact a person’s livelihood, not all information produced may be true. Private investigators need to learn to read in between the lines and know when to rely on additional information to support their interview sources. It is crucial that private investigators to be well-versed in non-verbal communications in order to raise red flags when there is a discrepancy between a source’s verbal and non-verbal communications.
Discretion: Often, the nature of litigation cases and background checks contain sensitive information, which cannot be disclosed outside of the people working on the case. Private investigators need to know how to handle the public and use their discretion when handling information to avoid any legal consequences which could jeopardize the case or their jobs.
Organization: There are often a lot of moving parts and lots of information involved in an investigation. PIs need to be organized so that they can present all the information in a cohesive manner which can be understood by the client and be easily presented without confusion or doubt.
Listening: Listening is key to any client-centric profession. PIs need to know what the clients are looking for as well as how to filter conversation in order to obtain the information needed for a case.
Research: Research is crucial skill for PIs to have. They need to be able to track down documents from all sources as well as identify additional sources of information from initial findings.
Legal knowledge: As a professional working in the law enforcement industry, PIs are required to know about the laws in the jurisdiction in which they work. Because they deal with information that supports a legal case, they need to make sure that the information is compliant with the law so that it is admissible in court.
Computer Skills: Because most of the information is inventoried online (whether the documents are available on print or electronic format), PIs should be computer savvy. In addition, with the prevalence of information on social media, PIs need to be able to access the information at their fingertips without difficulty. In fact, a large portion of their work is spent in front of the computer doing research and tracking down leads. Computer skills are especially important if PIs are planning to be involved in the area of computer forensics.
Photography and film knowledge: Photography and video are often used to capture the subject and can be used as evidence to support a case. Not only is it important for PIs to learn to use a camera and video camera, they should also learn to decipher the production of digital photography and videography to ensure they have not been fabricated.
1 Life123. 9 Skills You Ned to Become A Private Investigator