How to Hire a Private Investigator

Just like any other industry the Private Investigator industry has both brilliant and bad apples.  Private investigators have to gain the trust of clients with hard work and integrity.  However when you are desperate how do you determine whether the investigator that you choose will be one of the good ones?

These tips will help you navigate through the sales speak and find a private investigator that works for you.  None of this is set in stone but it may help you find the right person for the job, here are some tips on how to hire a private investigator.  Here is a video showing you what to expect.

  1. If a private investigator is going to be a crucial part of your case then look at this the same way you would when it comes to hiring an employee. Ask for references, get a nondisclosure agreement, check references and do your due diligence.  Any firm should be able to offer you a list of former clients that can share their experience.
  2. Verify any license or credentials. This is the same as checking references, anyone can claim to be an investigator but it doesn’t mean that they are.  In some states like California you can check and see if there were any complaints filed along with the licensing information.
  3. Ask for professional background information, many investigators come from law enforcement and this can work in your favor.
  4. Dig deep. Ask for information about the private investigator’s background. A PI with a significant law enforcement background can benefit you and your case in many ways.
  5. Be wary of the sales pitch. Private investigators cannot in most cases provide definitive results, this isn’t like buying a shirt where you exchange money for something tangible.  Investigations generally take time and patience.  If they dangle promises of guaranteed results in front of you, you need to keep looking.
  6. Trust yourself and your instincts. If this doesn’t feel like the right person to handle your case then look for the person who is.
  7. Verify that your investigator is insured and ask to see a copy of a current policy, check the limits and will the policy cover everything involved in your investigation.
  8. Understand that there are limits to what a private investigator is capable of doing. If your investigation will expand can this particular investigator handle any additional tasks?

Hiring an investigator can feel a bit surreal, but you still need to get the right person for the job.  Don’t hesitate to ask questions and do a little digging to get the right person.

The Real World Of a Private Investigator

Everybody has watched a movie or TV show based around the work of a private investigator.  Sadly because of this the life and career of a private investigator has become larger than life and incredibly misunderstood.  The public thinks the job is exciting and dangerous, or all you do is look for cheating spouses throughout your day.  There is a grain of truth amid all the fiction but it is not quite what television would have you believe.

The Real World Of a Private Investigator

Private investigators come from all walks of life and differing backgrounds.  You will find many who come from the military or were once police officers, some come from the insurance industry or collections.  The skills learned in these industries lend themselves well to the field of private investigation.  One of the most important skills a private investigator needs is the willingness to deal with confrontation, being open and assertive definitely helps.  Private investigators also need to have patience and be able to observe the situation around them.  The deal with cases that cover everything from criminal cases to insurance fraud, corporate intelligence is also a big part of their skill set.  It really isn’t about shoot outs and car chases.

Private Investigation Takes Patience

A private investigator will spent most of their time on surveillance and out in the field.  The job means spending a lot of time behind a desk doing research or hours following someone for their clients.  It is not the glamorous job that television would make it seem.  However the job is not without its dangers often you are forced to confront a criminal from time to time.  That being said it is rare for a private investigator to be hurt or injured on the job.

Internal Investigations

When a private investigator works with a corporate client there are generally two types of investigations, internal and external.  Internal investigations typically involve investigations within the business.  A private investigator will investigate things like employee theft, background checks and credit checks.  A computer is one of their most used tools, there are many databases across the internet they can check to find information for their clients.

External Investigations

Private investigators are also used by corporations to investigate business associates and potential business deals, they do hours of background research and interviews on behalf of their clients.  If there is potential for legal action they will take photos and videos for use as evidence in the future.  If an important and profitable deal is on the line a private investigator can help you learn exactly who you are doing business with.

Your business can find a need for a good investigator, you need background and reference checks for your employees.  Potential business deals that need to be thoroughly vetted can be done by your investigator.  If you think about it you can find many uses for an investigator in your organization.