Private investigators serve their clients by researching and gathering information on organizations, people and potential crimes. Their investigatory processes often mirror those of law enforcement, yet their end goal is to share their findings with clients rather than instigate criminal charges (though they will typically coordinate with police when needed). They often work independently or as part of a legal firm or news publication.
As you review the private investigator job description template shown here, pay close attention to the skills and experience that it requires of potential candidates. Anyone wanting to work in this position should possess excellent critical thinking skills, as well as a sharp analytical mind.
Previous experience in law enforcement is often another prerequisite as it helps ensure one’s work does not violate any laws. The private investigator job description will help you understand the order of importance to assign to your different job qualifications.
Private Investigator Job Summary
Law firm specializing in criminal defense looking for experienced private investigator. With your help, we can ensure that our clients have all the facts available to help guarantee them fair trials. Your skills as an investigator will be called upon to help defend people against charges of assault, larceny, white collar crimes, computer crimes and murder. You’ll have all of our firm’s resources as your disposal, plus access to the foremost forensic experts in their field. Under the direction of our lead investigator, you’ll coordinate with our attorneys and paralegals to research case files, interview clients and witnesses, prepare evidence summaries and provide testimony in trials and evidentiary hearings when needed. This position will not only allow you to expand your skill set, but it also offers long-term growth opportunities.
- Investigate cases and collect information to help support the efforts of attorneys in representing defendants in criminal cases
- Research law enforcement case files and arrest reports with attorneys in order to find details that support client claims and/or offer other event theories or scenarios to explore
- Perform detailed background checks on all clients, persons of interests, law enforcement investigators and all other people linked to criminal cases
- Inspect crime scenes and review evidence, taking photographs, analyzing financial statements and verifying timelines, all while compiling detailed notes to be used for future reference
- Interview witnesses both in the field and inside firm offices, and compare those to official statements obtained by law enforcement
- Coordinate with scientific and forensic experts to evaluate clients, analyze evidence and review case notes
- Review data files, hard drive content, browsing histories and computer hardware related to cyber theft and security cases
- Prepare reports describing investigative findings, expert opinions, witness summaries, evidentiary details and other general facts of a case to be used by attorneys in court
Job Skills and Qualifications
- Must be 18 years of age
- Must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent
- Must pass background check
- Access to personal vehicle
- Willing to work rotating schedules and overtime (as needed)
- Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, criminal justice or forensics
- Previous experience in law enforcement (or other investigative field)
- Strong understanding of cyber security issues
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Private Investigator Job Responsibilities
Prospective applicants often weigh the pros and cons of a position based on a listing of job responsibilities. For this reason, you should try to ensure this list is as detailed as possible. A private investigator job description may intrigue many jobseekers who lack the necessary skills. The more specific you can make this important and meaty section, the more likely serious and qualified candidates will be to submit applications.
Break down daily duties and long-term priorities in a bulleted list with no more than eight points. Address one responsibility per line and focus these statements by starting each point with a strong action verb. This listing of responsibilities in a private investigator job description can drive up the number of candidates who are actually capable of performing all these duties on a regular basis who apply for an advertised position.
You might include the following private investigator job responsibilities in your description
- Conduct private investigations and report back to clients with discoveries and evidence
- Run targeted searches in databases and other public records
- Question witnesses and other persons of interest for testimonies or leads
- Testify during hearings or other court proceedings when required for the resolution of a case
Private Investigator Job Specifications
A list of specifications is another vital section in a private investigator job description. A well-written list should make the specific requirements obvious and significantly reduce the number of unqualified applicants who submit resumes, which goes a long way in saving you time. You should specify the minimum level of education, training and experience required, as well as any preferred qualifications for this position.
If you are unsure what the baseline requirements for this role should be, you may want to discuss the expectations for a new hire with senior investigators or other leadership figures. Determining the essential requirements and communicating them in a description can help to reduce the number of unsuitable applications you receive and must process.
Start this section of a private investigator job description with the most imperative requirements and continue on to broader skills. Once you have covered all the essential specifications, you might want to include a separate list below the primary list in which you include any optional qualifications.
Here are several relevant private investigator job specifications:
High school diploma or equivalent required; bachelor’s degree in criminal justice preferred Minimum of 3-5 years of experience, including internships or previous work Required state certifications or licenses Critical-thinking and inductive reasoning skills