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7 Essential Traits and Skills of a Private Investigator

skills needed to be a private investigator, skills of a private investigator

Every job requires certain technical skills and tactics that help you succeed in your career. The same goes for the private investigation industry. Once you complete a government-approved PI licencing course, you would need to obtain a licence from the state government to offer services to private clients or businesses.

Do you want to conduct thorough investigations to assist clients with various cases? Then the following skills would prove extremely valuable. Furthermore, when looking for a PI for personal or business investigations, you should choose a professional who possesses the following skill set and traits.

1. Professionalism

From gathering evidence that proves spouse infidelity to interviewing witnesses in workplace misconduct cases, private investigators need to handle diverse cases during their careers. However, won’t they lose the trust of clients if they leak confidential information about cases?

Therefore, a PI should maintain a professional attitude while communicating with clients. It’s important to refrain from judging clients when they share personal information that can help you conduct an effective investigation.

When a potential client reaches out to acquire the services of a private investigation firm, they may enquire how PIs handled similar cases in the past. While you should talk them through the strategy so as to assure them you can handle the case, make sure you refrain from sharing the identity and personal information of former clients.

2. Attention to Detail

When it comes to professional services such as skip tracing, a PI may have extremely limited information available and they need to analyse this information to find leads so as to trace the current contact information of a missing person.

They should possess the skill to notice minor details that others might miss and find clues that can assist them in solving challenging cases.

3. Patience

When a Private Investigator is assigned a case, they may be inclined to solve the case and find answers to satisfy the client as soon as they can. But the task isn’t always as easy as it seems and it sometimes takes longer than expected to find concrete evidence.

For instance, when it comes to surveillance services, the PI may need to spend several days keeping an eye on the subject to determine their whereabouts and movements. So, in order to build a successful career, investigators need to be extremely patient. You should be diligent and consistent to overcome the challenges you may face during the process.

4. People Skills

Do you think private investigators work in solitude and hide their business information from people they meet? Then you should know this is just a myth.

PIs understand the importance of networking and form professional relationships with clients as well as other professional investigators working in the same field. This way, they can refer clients to agencies dealing with specific cases such as divorce cases if the need arises.

Furthermore, private investigators need to conduct interviews of complainants, respondents, and witnesses for factual investigations when handling corporate cases including insurance investigations and workplace misconduct investigations. This is when effective people and rapport building skills help them communicate the question to interviewees and find answers.

Moreover, they may need to talk to law enforcement officers and testify in court if the investigation leads to a trial and they can’t perform these tasks without strong people skills.

private investigator skills, private investigator traits

5. Tech Skills

Computer literacy is an essential skill in many professional fields and the private investigation industry is no exception.

Do you need to conduct background checks on candidates during the employment screening process? Then you can’t do this unless you know how to search through relevant databases and monitor public profiles of candidates on social media. Further, excellent photography skills would prove helpful when collecting audio-visual evidence.

Do you need to skip trace a missing person? Then technical skills are necessary.

Similarly, private investigators use GPS trackers, digital cameras, and video surveillance equipment to track the movement of the subject during workers’ compensation fraud and other types of investigations. So, you should know how to use the latest gadgets to prepare a valid and comprehensive report for clients.

6. Quick Decision-Making Skills

When investigating a case for an individual or a business, time is of the essence. You may lose the trail of a scammer or miss a vital clue if you don’t make quick decisions. Therefore, you should think on your feet and decide what action must be taken next to effectively carry out the investigation.

For instance, when conducting interviews during workplace theft or misconduct cases, you may need to think of suitable questions on the go to collect the required information.

Furthermore, private investigators should be analytical thinkers with a strong ability to reach a conclusion by processing the available information.

7. Self-Control

While investigating private or corporate cases, PIs need to be extra cautious to collect evidence without breaking the law. It requires self-control and self-discipline to ensure you abide by the law and refrain from engaging in immoral activities such as harassing interviewees to gather information.

Similarly, when following a subject or conducting interviews, the situation can get out of hand if you aren’t careful, and the other person may become agitated or angry. However, your self-control would help you diffuse the situation and resolve conflict.

Staying calm and composed is the key to conducting an effective investigation. It helps you collect information, analyse it with an open mind, and reach an accurate conclusion.


From strong tech skills to effective communication skills, private investigators require a diverse skillset to succeed in their careers. When dealing with clients or conducting interviews, patience and people skills prove helpful. Further, you should maintain a professional attitude, focus on minor details, and make quick decisions based on the available information to satisfy clients’ needs.

Do you need to hire a private investigator for a corporate investigation? Then our professional team can help!

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