Top 6 Personality Traits for Successful Investigators
Anyone who works in the field of investigations for long enough learns to develop certain character traits and cognitive characteristics.
Anyone who works in the field of investigations for long enough learns to develop certain character traits and cognitive characteristics, because just having some kind of knowledge is not enough to achieve an effective result. You also need to be able to that knowledge in practice. In this article, I will break down the top 6 necessary personal traits for those who want to become investigators.
I'll start with a small example, let us suppose you work within the security department of a construction company and need to conduct an internal check on employees due to the theft of construction materials from a warehouse. You have several suspects and one of them has a history of theft in the past, I think that for many investigators or security folks, the choice of whom to focus their attention on is obvious.
This is a real case told to me by a colleague that very clearly describes what objectivity is. The fact is that in fact, that suspect had been suspected of having stolen several bags of vegetables from some private fields of a local farmer, a very long time ago and in his childhood. And secondly, he had an alibi at the time of the theft from the warehouse. A colleague did not check these facts right away, but simply succumbed to the logical error of thinking about the facts (since there was a previous history of a theft a long time ago, it means, most likely, he stole).
There are often no obvious markers in investigations. Any specialist should very clearly check all the facts and NEVER adjust them to fit his theory. It will often turn out that your initial conclusions will be completely wrong, and this is normal.Ω
Adaptability and Flexibility
The second character trait is directly interconnected with the first: you cannot be a die-hard ram and deny someone else's opinion.
Each person has his own background, which in turn determines their personality: experience, education, environment, upbringing, and so on. All this shapes their view of various phenomena and situations. It would be very foolish not to listen to the advice of your colleagues, because there should always be an alternative opinion. Even if it is not correct, then, at least, it can push you into additional reasoning, which in the end can lead you to the answer of a desired question.
Be flexible and try to consider all the options from different points of view. You cannot be stubborn and insist only on your opinion. It is always worth considering a range of different options and not excluding them for no apparent reason.
Empathy and EQ (emotional intelligence)
It is very important for a professional investigator to be able to “feel” people. I hate this wording, but it reflects very well in simple words the characteristics of empathy and emotional intelligence (EQ).
PS: for those who are not in the know:
Empathy is the ability to empathize with other people and feel what they feel at a certain point in time (“letting everything through”).
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a person's ability to recognize the emotions and motivations of others, as well as to control and balance their own emotional state.
What is it for? First of all, for the part of the work where direct communication with people takes place: interviews with suspects, interviews with witnesses, communication with sources of information, legendary checks, etc.
The main point is that a “strong empath” is definitely not the right person to be a good investigator. The fact is that empathy involves side effects: a person can accumulate negative emotions from others and he may not filter them. As a result, depression, excessive reflection and other problems begin.
Therefore, the main point that I want to convey is that developed emotional intelligence and the presence of moderate empathy are very important for the profession, but an extreme degree will only hinder, not help.
Increased Sense Of Justice
Everything is pretty simple here. It would be very strange to enter such a profession without a heightened sense of justice. If you are not attracted to situations where a strong/influential person takes advantage of a weak person or when someone has decided that they can become richer at someone else's expense, then perhaps the profession of an investigator is not very suitable for you.
You should get a real drive from the feeling that, thanks to your actions in the world, a balance of justice is being established and everyone gets what they deserve. Each profession has a certain inner drive that makes it attractive to a certain number of people. It's the same here.
Concentration and Analytics
Up to this point, we talked about character traits. Now let's take a look at some of the cognitive features that would be very useful in the context of investigations.
You can throw in many characteristics, such as attentiveness, detail, critical thinking, and so on, but I want to focus on one characteristic - concentration.
The point is that in reality the work of an investigator is pure analytics. Any good analyst should be able to concentrate on a specific task for a long time and do a lot of monotonous work (analyzing unsystematic / "dirty" information, writing long reports, etc.). Yes, it doesn't sound very interesting, but these are the realities of our work.
Now a few words about the analytical mind. The wording in the cognitive sense is completely wrong. Anyone can develop analytical skills, but, the truth is, everyone has a certain limit. For some it is easier due to the peculiarities of the nervous system, for others it is more difficult. But, I repeat, anyone can “develop an analyst in themselves”.
Therefore, the main conclusion is that for a good specialist in our field, good concentration and perseverance are needed, since you have to work with large amounts of information. One of the coolest practices in this area is meditation (of any kind).
And finally, I want to highlight curiosity. In any profession, it is critically important to constantly develop, since the world is constantly changing, which means applied tasks too.
Let me give you one of the latest examples. When cryptocurrencies appeared, a whole new area immediately appeared for security folks: the investigation of cryptocurrency transactions. This is actively used in a wide range of tasks, from the standard "deanon" to the analysis of financing of various organizations. When Telegram became popular, a very urgent task of deanonymizing users and channel administrators immediately emerged. In general, the list can be continued indefinitely.
In my opinion, today it is no longer possible to be interested in any narrow-profile task. You need to be in the trend of all new products, trends and market demands. Only then will you be a successful specialist in the field in which you work.
In conclusion, I want to say that there are many other important character traits and skills that will be extremely useful in the context of investigations. I have highlighted only the most important ones, which, in my opinion, are necessary for any novice specialist.