Typical duties and responsibilities for a Detective are:
- Working either independently or with the local authorities to investigate missing persons cases. A Detective is usually hired by the missing person’s family after a period of time has passed and the case is no longer a priority for the local police.
- Investigating personal conflicts, such as spousal infidelity or child custody disputes. The Detective is hired by one of the parties involved to discover facts that will be admissible in court and work in that party’s favor.
- Uncovering fraud or embezzlement origins. Detectives are also hired when a company’s management has solid reasons to believe that the company is being defrauded but they need to discover the exact origins of the matter.
- Background checks of potential employees. Some organizations use Detectives to investigate potential employees, to make sure they haven’t displayed improper behavior in the past.
What Does a Detective Do?
Detectives can work privately or at a law enforcement agency to resolve unclear situations, particularly solving crimes and apprehending suspects. They can investigate records, participate in undercover operations, interview witnesses and review forensic evidence to learn about the victim of a crim and possible perpetrators. Detectives can also work to find missing persons and uncover fraud. They collaborate with other law enforcement officers to consider possible scenarios and rule out persons of interest through cross-examining suspects or reverse-engineering the events preceding a crime. Detectives respond to crime scenes, perform surveillance, issue warrants and testify in court.
Detective Skills and Qualifications
Detectives require a specific set of hard and soft skills to successfully perform their duties. There is no standard requirement for a private Detective, but job descriptions typically list previous experience in law enforcement or social sciences as a requirement. The most important skills for a Detective are:
- Communication skills. Most Detective work requires constant interaction with other people. Knowing when people are being truthful and successfully extracting information are crucial detective skills
- Critical thinking skills. Analyzing the available pieces of information and coming up with relevant conclusions are a major part of working as a Detective
- Organizational skills. A Detective typically has to work on many cases at the same time. A good Detective must be well-organized and thorough enough to maintain the same standard of quality for all clients.
- Ethics. Detectives often work with sensitive or confidential information. They need to have enough integrity, honesty and morality to handle that information properly.
Detective Salary Expectations
A Detective working in the United States can expect to earn $50,878 per year on average. Salaries depend on multiple factors, such as the person’s level of skill and experience, the hiring organization, the nature of the cases the Detective is involved in and the geographical location the Detective works on.
Detective Education and Training Requirements
Education and training requirements vary from employer to employer. To increase your odds of finding qualified applicants, your Detective job description should mention that all applicants must have at least a high school diploma, as well as a bachelor’s degree, relevant work experience or both. Some states also require Detectives to have a license.
Previous work experience is an essential part of becoming a Detective. The most common backgrounds for a Detective are law enforcement and military service. Your Detective job description should mention that previous relevant experience is required. Previously work with such institutions will serve as proof that the applicant has the skills and knowledge of laws and regulations to successfully perform the required duties.