Detective TV shows, real life mysteries, and spy movies have many of us HOOKED! There’s a mystique about investigation and Hollywood has dialed into it. But do you have what it takes to be a real investigator?
If you are in HR, Recruiting, Journalism, Hiring, or even if you are a Prosecutor, having natural investigator talent can make you an outstanding performer at your job.
In these other key jobs you need to recognize deception and also figure out what people may be hiding. If you are suspicious, skeptical, pensive, curious, think on your feet, and have control over your reactions, you may be a natural investigator. The truth is sometimes buried and you have to unearth it.
Often I will be approached by someone after I introduce myself as an owner of a private security company. The person will tell me how much they love spy novels and mysteries and “have always wanted to be an investigator.” They are so excited to meet a investigation company owner, the person reveals all and gives me an account of family members and other stories having anything connected to investigation work or mysteries. The same is true of resume submissions and cover letters. Often I will receive a full page account of all the shows and movies inspiring the person to apply to our company. Although most of the people I meet with this passion and enthusiasm are great for sales or customer service, they are not fully understanding what we look for in an investigator.
An investigator should give out little to no information, should have a gift for getting people to talk about themselves, and execute the conversation in such a way a person does not realize they “Spilled the Beans.” Handy little trait for HR and Recruiting interviewers wouldn’t you say?
At the end of the interview we will ask if the job candidate has any questions. If he or she asks one or two, we’ll ask again after answers are provided. If there is only a couple of questions asked it is likely they are not a good fit for the job. A naturally talented investigator will draw out answers and information a person was not intending to share.
If you find you spend a lot of time answering questions and tend to share Too Much Information, you may not be a Natural investigator but you can improve dramatically with practice.
Here are 4 ways you can practice to improve your Investigator talent:
- If you are in a position to interview, make sure you have a list of questions to ask to keep yourself on track.
- If you find yourself explaining or describing for more than a few sentences, you may want to try to stop yourself and cut it short.
- Learn to pause after someone asks a question and ask them a question in response (instead of answering.) If anything, ask for clarification and ask questions to make sure you completely understand what is being asked. Try to listen more and talk less.
- If the person is giving you an answer, you can keep them talking but pausing or saying something like “Oh?” This allows the person to continue. You do not want to interrupt a person when they are revealing information.
If you are naturally more reserved and less talkative (and more observant), you msy have what it takes to do investigation. But even if you are unable to work for an investigation company, the investigative talent is can be put to good use in many different industries across unique and interesting business roles.
If you can master questioning more and talking less you are learning and listening which means you will likely make better decisions for your business, hire excellent job candidates, and see trouble coming from a distance in your personal life.