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What does a Private Investigator do?

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Talent.com talent.com
Answered August 30 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
The department of private investigation overlaps with that of law enforcement. Both work to solve criminal cases and require investigators to conduct research, surveillance, and gather information. Before getting too excited about the role, remember investigative work also demands plenty of administrative paperwork.  
For starters, Private Investigators will spend a great deal of their time interviewing witnesses and other persons of interest to gather information about the case they are investigating. Plenty of research goes into this process, such as preparing targeted questions and confirming that, legally, they can conclude a case based on the information they've collected on a particular person, business, or otherwise. Research is conducted online or through note-taking during interviews but ultimately results in a detailed report that can take up a significant portion of a workday or week.  
On the subject of legal implications, Private Investigators may need to handle legal documents and court citations. They should carefully manage the evidence they collect, or it could be considered inadmissible in court. The same goes for their surveillance activities.  

Roles and responsibilities of a Private Investigator
Private Investigators spend their days performing tasks that appear to be very similar to Detectives, but the job titles come with differing responsibilities, especially in the eyes of the law. Learn more about the differences below. 
  • Conduct thorough interviews to gather information. 
  • Write reports based on findings. 
  • Track down and interview witnesses or those involved with the investigation. 
  • Conduct careful and calculated research to assist their investigative reports. 
  • Comb through legal or financial records for relevant and valuable information. 
  • Verify the credibility and source of all information found. 
  • Collect evidence as needed. 
  • Perform surveillance on a person or place of interest. 
  • Follow suspects or persons of interest for the investigation, recording their activities and whereabouts, and inform clients of findings. 
  • Investigate computer-related crimes, kidnappings, disappearances, homicides, suspicious activity, and theft.  
  • Work in collaboration with Law Enforcement offices, sharing investigation results and findings, interviewing detained suspects, and assisting in the investigation.  
  • Meet with their client to show investigation findings with progress updates and inquiring about further information for the investigation. 
  • Perform personal background research. 
  • Investigate past activities and characteristics of a person.  
  • Conduct undercover investigations. 
  • Evaluate performance or honesty of employees of a company by posing as one or as a client.  
  • Apprehend criminal suspects or criminals and take them to the authorities.  
  • Present investigation results as evidence and giving testimony in a court of law when necessary. 
  • Transcribe interviews conducted and organize evidence to be presented in court.