There are many things that you should expect from an investigation. Probably the most important of these expectations is discretion. The investigator should only share information regarding the case with those that are pertinent to the investigation itself. Investigator confidentiality is crucial, but in order for the investigation to be successful, the client must also be discreet. Telling friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else that you have hired an investigator can impede the case. This holds true in any type of investigation. In the corporate environment, only personnel essential to the investigation should be privy to fact that there is an ongoing investigation. Word travels very fast through the workplace, and it will not take long for word to get back to the subject of the investigation. In domestic situations, emotions are running rampant and although it may be tempting to inform your spouse that you have hired someone to “bust” them, it will not only compromise the investigation, but could also put the investigator in harm’s way.
You should expect the truth…whatever that may be. Sometimes an investigation will provide different results than what you were expecting to find. Remember, the facts are the facts, and no matter how much you may want a particular result, it may just not be there. On the other hand, you may also find much more than you had anticipated. Over the course of my 16 years as an investigator, one of the things that I have learned is to never be surprised at what you see. Prepare yourself for just about anything, and have a plan of action in mind for any contingency.
You should expect communication from the investigator on the progress/results of the assignment. Be very clear when initiating the investigation at what intervals you would like to be updated. Some of my clients just want an update when the investigation is complete, while others prefer a phone call each day that the case is being worked. The key to communication is balance. Communicating too much can be just as detrimental as having no communication at all. As difficult as you may find it to be patient, calling, emailing, and texting the investigator constantly can actually impede his or her efforts. When you decided to hire the investigator, you placed a certain amount of trust in his or her abilities, respect that, and let them work your case unimpeded.
Upon completion of the assignment you should expect an itemized invoice and a complete report. The report should be a “court ready” document free of grammatical errors. Even if the case is not currently in litigation, there is always the possibility that it could end up in court in the future. The report should also be written in language that you can understand. A report written in jargon that is not easily understood by you or a potential jury doesn’t do anyone any good.
In summary, when dealing with an investigator, you should expect discretion, honesty, good communication, an itemized invoice, and a detailed report. Along with these things, remember to “expect the unexpected” when it comes to the findings!
In my next update, I will cover surveillance and what goes into a successful “stake out”.
All the best,