The old cliché of a private investigator sitting in a car drinking coffee monitoring a spouse that is unfaithful is more commonly becoming a thing of the past. Over the course of nearly two decades, the world of investigators has evolved. Today, the private investigator requires extensive computer and digital skills in order to locate all types of information that other individuals cannot. They have to have extensive experience using the Internet to gain access to government repositories, investigative databases, court filings and public records.
While there are still many times when good old fashioned surveillance is called for, it happens more and more online, and less on the sidewalk. To the private investigator, it requires continuous on-the-job training, which is why it is so important to hire a PI that is highly experienced.
In the new millennium, private investigation is all about gathering pertinent data, evaluating and analyzing it, and finding ways to make the information meaningful and useful. It requires maintaining ethical and legal standards while gathering the data. As the Internet continues to evolve, the private investigator needs to use all the available tools for gathering information.
Without the luxury of studying from a textbook on how to do the work, the private investigator builds on what he or she knows best. These include:
It does not take a long time in the business to realize that a private investigator takes a different perspective in the way they approach information. Traditionally, men and women learn to trust in the things they see or hear. However, investigators tend to not trust their own beliefs and senses.
They rely on actual proof, and remain skeptical of anything that is questionable. They maintain a different perspective when approaching their duties in investigation. A highly experienced investigator will know that there is information out there that requires their skills to find, and they work toward that end.
The level of natural instinct of a private investigator helps him or her in their duties every day. Their instinct tells them how to spot specific characteristics of individuals committing fraud, embezzling or those that should be avoided. In time, with lots of experience, the investigator can evolve their innate instincts to look at everything they come in contact with and decipher what information has meaning.
There is a difference between years on the job, and a level of experience. Experience is a buildup of knowledge and the development of effective tools. This is what builds wisdom in the world of investigation. Years on the job might simply mean that the individual showed up each day for the paycheck.
Proper experience provides all the tools of knowing how to search down a specific path, or choose to change direction when that path produces no viable information. Experience also assists the investigator in knowing which questions to ask to find the answers.
Confidence in the world of investigation is more than just believing he or she can find the answers. It also involves more than merely believing in oneself, but from the understanding that it is impossible to know everything. Humility helps just as much as experience. Investigators that have a firm understanding that they know it all usually have a short career in the industry.
Building confidence, gaining experience, and developing an innate instinct requires time and education. It can happen on the job, listening to others, and reading the words of those that have already traveled down the path. The life of an investigator is an exciting one that provides its own rewards.