What’s the most important trait for an investigator?
As private investigation specialists we often get asked – particularly by trainees – what the most important skill is an investigator should possess. What should I focus on most? What should I do more research on or practice? Can I get a PI badge? No, you can’t.
It largely depends on the type and nature of your investigation. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on factual investigations. Not surveillance investigation, where the biggest skill you can have is to remain invisible, amongst other key traits.
At the Professional Investigators College of Australasia, our aim is to provide the most relevant, practical investigation training.
Professional factual investigations combine a wide variety of skills ranging from analytical to traits of persistence. They’re all important, that’s for sure. But the most important trait for an investigator is the ability to communicate. Break it down even further, and you’ll find the best investigators in the business have a knack of talking to people. Taking comprehensive statements, assisting witness recall and conducting records of interview make or break a good factual investigation. An investigator’s ability to get all the facts in detail allows their client to make the most informative decisions.
Interviewing witnesses and subjects is a skill and one that is improved with practice. The ability to read the signs, adapt to different circumstances and situations and gather information effectively is also a skill honed over time with experience. Scientific methods of investigative interviewing (like the PEACE method) are tried and proven ways to elicit information, legally and ethically.
Professional investigators drill down. Then, they drill down even further. When you need answers to problems – the who, what, where, when, why and how – only a professionally trained investigator can establish this properly.
As a client of a private investigator, you want to make sure that the investigators you contract have ‘been there, done that.’ And, not just a couple of times. Whether it is a workplace investigation, legal plaintiff investigation or other factual matter, make sure that your investigators are trained and experienced interviewers.
Our Certificate III in Investigative Services gives students to most up-to-date and relevant training in investigation. It’s not just ‘tick the box’ training, but practical skills to develop investigators.