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Top Seven Skills of a Private Investigator

Top Seven Skills of a Private Investigator

Being a Private Investigator requires a certain level of efficiency, proficiency, and professionalism that people can only meet with specific skills that set them apart. What are these skills? We’re here to examine them.

You’ve probably seen one of Hollywood’s many detective movies churned out over the years where the hero with his ‘Sherlock Homes’ energy is required to follow a bad guy around to dig up some dirt on him that can eventually be used to take him down. That scenario is a summary of what Private Investigators do.

When we see an actor take on the role of a Private Investigator, it usually looks smooth – easy on the eye and seems fun. However, the reality of the job of a Private Investigator is that the profession is very demanding and requires agility, quick thinking, and passion for uncovering mysteries. If you can relate to these traits, you’re already one step ahead in the realm of Private Investigation.

As is the case with movies, the job description of the Private Investigator is to resolve a client’s investigative needs using under-the-radar tactics. These tactics usually include keeping tabs on the investigated subject, monitoring their behavioral patterns, tracking their activities with camera surveillance or GPS tracking devices, and conducting a background investigation into the investigated subject, among others.

You may be wondering who could require the services of a Private Investigator. The answer to that is anyone, really; what matters most is what you need their services for. You could need a private investigation into a family member’s suspicious activities or a corporation’s wrongdoings. Private Investigators are also usually hired by companies and — call this a shocker — even the police for different reasons, like curbing a staffing deficiency or the need to have particular expertise of the Private Investigator on ground within the agency or company.

It is clear as day that Private Investigation is an in-demand job; however, to rise through the ranks, a Private Investigator must be familiar with the concept of upskilling and fancy the idea that because different strokes work for different folks, it’s in his best interest to rack up as many relevant skills in his portfolio as possible. 

Without further ado, some of the core skills needed by a Private Investigator include:

  1. Confidentiality

Staying discreet is one way of getting ahead as a Private Investigator because your success, in any case, can be directly or remotely tied to your ability not to give information about your business with a client to the wrong person or any person for that matter. Private Investigators aren’t generally bound by confidentiality obligations that apply in other professions like doctors and lawyers, but it’s still essential to remain tight-lipped in all situations.

A method for curbing the temptation of divulging information by accident is constantly reminding yourself that you can’t disclose information from a client you’re privy to under any circumstance. It may not also be out of place to develop a confidentiality policy in your agreement with clients that outline your promise of confidentiality to the client. It may seem little, but the little things count a lot.

  1. Tech Skills

Technology certainly makes work easier for us all, including Private Investigators. So if you’re a Private Investigator looking to be more efficient at your job, you can’t do without having the skills to use advanced equipment excellently.

For instance, video surveillance will be instrumental in observing the behavioral patterns of whoever you’re investigating; GPS trackers will help you identify their mobility trail, and if you’re able to use public digital databases efficiently, you can always get access to any criminal records and employment history of whoever you’re investigating.

Besides knowing how to use technological equipment, it will also be essential for you to know the laws guiding the use of these equipment because not being aware of these rules may prove counterproductive.

  1. People Skills

Possessing and improving good rapport skills cannot be dissociated from the job of a Private Investigator for many reasons. Though Private Investigators are usually painted as shadowy figures in the movies, they interact with people from diverse backgrounds — clients and colleagues alike — from time to time. If you call yourself a Private Investigator but cannot deal with people rightly, finding success in the profession will be difficult for you.  

People skills will expose you to significant relationships in the security industry, open doors for you easily, secure jobs quickly, and protect your image as a proficient service provider. More importantly, this skill will be beneficial while you’re investigating and interviewing people with information on whoever you’re investigating, collaborating with law enforcement agencies, communicating the results of your investigation with your client, or even testifying in court.

  1. Resourcefulness

As a Private Investigator, your job is to provide information and actionable insights that answer your client’s questions. To do this, you must be resourceful — capable of fully using all available resources to conduct your investigation and find facts. These could include researching public records or a company’s financial dealings, whatever it takes, so long as you get the information your client’s after.

Resourcefulness also means your ability to go the extra mile to ensure your client is satisfied with the results of your investigation; now, this is where many Private Investigators fall short because going the extra mile for a client usually isn’t easy.

But what do we mean by going the extra mile? It means handling your cases swiftly and efficiently (so time management is also a vital skill to cultivate), maintaining open communication lines so you can promptly respond to emails and phone calls whenever your clients need to reach you, and being so efficient that you leave your clients with more answers than questions after a conversation, and providing your clients with actionable insights they can adopt in working with the information you’ve given them.

  1. Analytical skills

It will be difficult for you as a Private investigator to provide your clients with actionable insights based on the information you’ve gained for them if you cannot analyze the information first. As such, you’ll need well-developed reasoning skills, not just at the end of your investigation but from the beginning too. 

These skills are integral at every step of an investigation, from start to finish. When gathering and analyzing information, you must stay objective and avoid making emotional decisions. You must look at the information collected and use logical reasoning to decipher the truth. So, an excellent Private Investigator must be skilled in this regard — capable of logically interpreting evidence and coming to the correct conclusions that establish the truth of the matter investigated.

  1. Organizational skills

More often than not, you’ll have to deal with more than one client at a time. In such instances where you’re handling multiple cases simultaneously, effectively organizing yourself and your activities on those cases will be vital to establishing just how resourceful and efficient you are at your job. 

Granted, it’s never easy, but that’s why this is a skill every Private Investigator must work hard to develop, either by themselves or with assistance from third parties. When dealing with multiple cases, you must remain organized to keep and work on them separately, as it’s usually easy to mix up information related to each case or lose focus while working on a case because you’re bothered by what’s happening with another case.

  1. Attention to detail

As a Private Investigator, you’ll need to follow who or what you’re investigating around and observe them keenly. What this means is that while you’re watching them, you’ll need to pay attention to every minor detail about what they do and clues they leave behind that could lead you to a logical conclusion on the truth of the matter being investigated. That’s the hallmark of a skilled Private Investigator and what separates them from the rest in a pile.


If you’re looking to become a successful Private Investigator, these are some skills you should be looking to possess and develop. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a Private Investigator you can be confident has these skills, we can help you with that at Security Pro.

What we do is simple — we research, identify and connect you with experts that can address your security needs, including Private investigation. If you’re looking for a good investigator, look no further than through us because we work with well-experienced and examined Private investigators known for going above board to satisfy their clients, leaving you capable of resting assured that the best hands will handle your case.

To start the hiring process, you can easily schedule a brief and free consultation with us or contact us whenever you’re ready; we’ll be on ground to attend to your needs.