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Self Improvement

What Makes a Good Private Investigator?

The attributes of a successful individual in any complex career will almost always include higher than average intelligence. The private investigation industry is no different. A good private investigator will also possess multiple other attributes: an analytical mind, calmness under pressure, preparedness, strong morals, boldness, confidence, self-criticalness, and determination. These qualities will enable an individual to become a good investigator and set them on their way to becoming a great professional investigator.

pi online course
PI performing surveillance


High intelligence is an obvious, and the most important, quality an investigator will need, due to the complex nature of the industry and the varied types of investigations. A good investigator needs to be open-minded, have foresight and acumen, and display excellent judgment. These are all key aspects of above-average intelligence.

Not only is intelligence important but nurturing and expanding one’s understanding of the world is even more so, and will develop into crystalized intelligence. Ongoing and continued education and learning are critical throughout your career as an investigator. This is where a good private investigator online course is valuable.

Analytical Mind

A good private investigator is analytical. As an investigator, vast amounts of information must be collected and reviewed, and the investigator must be able to pick out the key pieces of data and determine how they fit together or how they can be used going forward. With experience, your analytical ability will increase.

Calm under Pressure

Stress can erode a private investigator’s ability to perform. A good investigator will remain calm under pressure. Without this quality, an investigator can develop tunnel vision and miss key points, which could hinder the ability to think quickly and lead to poor decision-making. A wide variety of resources exist to help reduce stress and improve the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.


An effective way to reduce stress as an investigator is to learn from others, be teachable, and, most of all, be prepared. The investigative industry is complex, ever changing, and unpredictable. A good private investigator will be prepared for and expect anything. Preparedness can range from having the proper equipment for every possible imagined situation to being physically prepared for work in extreme environments, such as heat or cold. Becoming prepared is not laborious, but does require some effort to think about the future and plan accordingly.

Morals and Integrity

There are many qualities a private investigator requires to gain skill in their craft; however, non-investigative qualities are just as necessary. Strict morals, or integrity, is a crucial quality of a good private investigator. Furthermore, strict morals will foster a positive career due to the high level of trust clients and employers place in the private investigator. Any question of an investigator’s integrity or moral character would cause employers and potential clients to hesitate in hiring that investigator in the future.


Another quality a successful private investigator will have is boldness. Uncomfortable obstacles will inevitably arise, which a bold person will overcome. Discomfort may occur in many situations, including interviews, acting out a ruse or pretext, covert filming, being in unauthorized areas, and high-pressure expectations. The list is near infinite. A good private investigator will be bold in order to accomplish the objective, no matter how uncomfortable the situation is.


Related to boldness is confidence: good private investigators have confidence in themselves and their abilities but are also balanced as not to be overconfident. Confidence is needed to maintain composure. A private investigator who lacks composure will draw attention, increasing the possibility of compromising investigations. Confidence will also grow over time as the private investigator experiences success. The boldness required to deal with a new situation will have transformed into confidence, as handling uncomfortable situations becomes normal.

Self-aware Ability

Good private investigators are continually honing their craft. They have the quality of being self-critical and teachable to help them accomplish this. They can take an objective look at themselves, determine what they could have done better, and how they can evolve in the future. An easy method for private investigators to become naturally self-critical is to regularly set aside time to ponder the choices they made during various investigations while looking for ways to improve. Remember, hindsight is 20/20.


Finally, a good private investigator will be determined and tenacious. Becoming a good or great Investigator is difficult, and determination as well as tenacity is needed to overcome obstacles.

Private investigators work early, late, long hours, in the heat, in the cold, in tedious environments, and in fast-paced situations; therefore, determination and tenacity are crucial. Good private investigators are also heavily relied upon and need to be determined in order to fulfill obligations to others. A reliable Private Investigator is a determined Private Investigator.

Private Investigator online training
Private Investigator online training

If you possess all of these attributes, you will find success as a professional investigator. As the saying goes, the cream will rise to the top – meaning that if you achieve good results you will be noticed. Your reputation as a reliable and trustworthy professional investigator will advance your career.

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