A private investigator is an individual who is hired to investigate activity in accordance with the law. This can include anything from theft on a personal or corporate level, to missing persons, adultery, cyber-crimes, accidents, and an array of other things. The job demands a variety of skills and abilities.
Must Have Great Observational Skills
Observing is one of the most basic skills needed to do any investigation job. The observation may be of behavior, or perhaps a crime or accident scene, or even within accounting practices. There are college psychology classes that teach observation skills, or a person can practice independently. Find differing environments and focus on listening intently or watching people’s actions and expressions. Using educational flash cards or picture searching games can help sharpen the mind as well.
— Covert Investigation (@CovertPI) November 16, 2016
Private Investigators Must be Patient
Patience is another invaluable skill for investigating. Surveillance is probably what patience will be most needed for, but it isn’t the only thing. Putting the pieces together of any investigation can take time. Studying the forensics, behavior, doing interviews with people involved, and then analysis of it all will have to take time. Unfortunately, patience is not something an individual can go to school to learn. But learning tricks like staying focused on the task at hand, or stress reducing activities can help.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
Solving problems is the heartbeat of private investigation. In order to do that, a person has to be able to process thought critically and analytically. Having a naturally curious personality helps, but learning to ask poignant or focused questions help too. Leaning to dig deeper and zero in on patterns, things that don’t belong, or thinking from another perspective can assist in developing critical thinking skills.
Needs to Have Strong Interpersonal Skills
Ironically, private investigation can be a very lonely job, especially if someone is self-employed. But being able to effectively communicate will be important in gaining and sharing information with the clients; as well as interviewing people that may be involved in the activities being investigated. Learning to articulate and clearly send and receive communication is part of a solid foundation for a professional. Doing mock interviews with other private investigators, or friends can help build this skill as well.
Finding Ways to be Resourceful
Private investigators have to be like MacGyver. When working a job that has to incorporate skills from thinking and analyzing, to problem solving and more formally, forensics and criminology all mixed with the ability to be personable and solve cases, an individual must have the know how to get what is needed to get a job done. This may be equipment, like a special camera or other technology. Or it may be personal connections and people who can help with a situation.
Being able to be a private investigator will mean having a rather vast skill set. It also means having a willingness to continue to hone and develop that skill set to be better at investigating.