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Also known as:
Certified Legal Investigator, Licensed Private Investigator, Loss Prevention Detective, Private Detective, Private Eye, Private Investigator, Skip Tracer, Store Detective
Movies and TV can make private investigative or detective work look pretty glamorous - but the modern PI is more a researcher than an action hero. Most often, licensed private investigators or detectives round up facts, not felons. Some investigators conduct private inquiries for clients, looking fo ...
r missing persons or proof of infidelity. But far more people in this field work for stores, hotels, large agencies, or security and risk management companies. Their job is to investigate theft, fraud, and other crimes involving money.
Their tools are computers, phones, and cameras - along with a persuasive manner and a knack for thinking outside the box. They need to be clever, persistent, and resourceful to gather the information their clients need and discreet enough to do it without being noticed.
The work is becoming increasingly specialized. A majority of investigators work for insurance companies on workers' compensation and other claims involving possible fraud. Legal investigators usually work for law firms to help prepare criminal defenses. This might involve locating and interviewing witnesses, serving legal documents and reviewing evidence.
Investigators may have responsibilities as varied as executive protection, record searches, accident re-construction, "de-bugging," and polygraph examinations. There are no formal education requirements for most private detective and investigator jobs, though many in this field hold college degrees. Often they have had related experience working in the military or in law enforcement. People in this field don't mind putting up with the drudgery for some occasional drama, and for them, "being nosy" is a virtue.
Gather, analyze, compile and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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Testify at hearings or court trials to present evidence.
Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.
Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.
Obtain and analyze information on suspects, crimes, or disturbances to solve cases, to identify criminal activity, or to gather information for court cases.
Conduct background investigations of individuals, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain information about an individual's character, financial status or personal history.
Question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce, child custody, or missing persons or information about individuals' character or financial status.
Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.
Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Interacting With Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.