17 Special Investigator Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a special investigator, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

A career as a special investigator can be exciting and rewarding. Special investigators conduct inquiries and gather evidence for criminal and civil cases. They may work for government agencies, law firms, or insurance companies.

Before you can begin your career, you will need to pass an interview. During the interview, you will be asked a variety of questions about your qualifications, experience, and skills. You will also be asked to provide examples of your work.

To help you prepare for your interview, we have compiled a list of common special investigator interview questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working independently?

Special investigators often work independently, so employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable with that. They want to know if you can complete tasks on your own and how well you communicate with others when necessary. In your answer, explain that you are a self-starter who is able to manage your time effectively. Explain that you enjoy working alone but also have excellent communication skills.

Example: “I am very independent and motivated by challenges. I prefer to work alone because it allows me to focus more on my work. However, I am also good at communicating with others. If I need help or advice, I am confident in my ability to reach out to others for assistance.”

What are some of the most important skills for a special investigator?

Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary for the job. They want someone who is detail-oriented, organized and able to work independently. When answering this question, think about which skills you possess that would be beneficial in this role. You can also mention any skills you are willing to learn if they’re not already one of your strengths.

Example: “I believe some of the most important skills for a special investigator are attention to detail, organization and problem solving. As a special investigator, I will be looking at evidence and details to find answers. It’s important to me that I am thorough when conducting my investigations. Organization is another skill I feel is important because it helps me stay on track with my work. Finally, problem solving is an essential skill because I will often need to solve problems while investigating.”

How would you approach an investigation that is particularly challenging?

Special investigators often encounter situations that are unique and require them to think critically. Employers ask this question to learn how you approach these challenges and complete your work successfully. In your answer, explain the steps you would take to solve a challenging case. Show that you have the skills and experience needed to succeed in this role.

Example: “When I am faced with a particularly challenging investigation, I first try to gather as much information as possible about the situation. I then analyze all of my findings and look for patterns or clues that can help me understand what is going on. Finally, I develop a plan based on my analysis and execute it to find the answers I need.”

What is your process for collecting and analyzing evidence?

Special investigators often need to collect and analyze evidence in order to solve a case. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary skills for the job. In your answer, explain how you would complete these tasks as part of your daily responsibilities.

Example: “I always start by collecting all relevant evidence at the crime scene. I use my camera to take photos of any important details or objects that may be useful later on. Then, I bag up the evidence and label it with information about when and where I found it. After that, I transport the evidence back to the office so we can begin analyzing it. I usually work with another investigator who has experience analyzing evidence. Together, we examine each piece of evidence carefully until we find something that helps us solve the case.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to use your negotiation skills to resolve a case.

Special investigators often have to negotiate with people who are reluctant to provide information. This question helps employers understand how you might handle similar situations in their organization. Use your answer to highlight your communication skills and ability to solve problems.

Example: “In my last role, I was investigating a case where the suspect had stolen money from his employer. The suspect claimed he didn’t steal the money but couldn’t remember what happened to it. He refused to give me any more information about the situation. I decided to meet with him one-on-one to discuss the situation further. After talking for a while, I discovered that he had forgotten to deposit some of the money he earned into his account. Once we figured out the problem, he agreed to pay back the missing funds.”

If hired, what types of investigations would you like to focus on?

This question helps employers understand your interests and goals. They want to know that you are passionate about the work they do, so be honest in your answer. If you have a specific type of case you would like to focus on, explain why. If not, talk about what types of cases interest you.

Example: “I am very interested in fraud investigations. I find it fascinating how people can deceive others for their own benefit. In my last role, I worked with a team to investigate several instances of fraud at a local business. We found that one employee was stealing from the company by altering inventory reports. It was rewarding to help the company recover some of its losses.”

What would you do if you discovered that one of your colleagues was interfering with one of your cases?

Special investigators often work in teams, so employers ask this question to make sure you know how to handle a challenging situation. In your answer, explain that you would first try to resolve the issue with your colleague. If they refused to cooperate, you would report them to your supervisor and provide evidence of their interference.

Example: “I have worked on many cases with other special investigators, so I understand the importance of teamwork. However, if one of my colleagues interfered with one of my cases, I would first speak with them about it. If they continued to interfere, I would report them to my supervisor and provide evidence of their actions. My team is important to me, so I would do everything I could to avoid conflict.”

How well do you handle stress while working on an investigation?

Special investigators often work in high-pressure situations, so employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the job. In your answer, explain how you manage stress and provide an example of a time when you did so successfully.

Example: “I am able to handle stressful situations well because I have experience working under pressure. When I was on the police force, we had to solve cases quickly or risk losing evidence. I always made sure to prioritize my tasks and focus on one thing at a time. This helped me stay calm and focused while still getting everything done.”

Do you have any experience testifying in court?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience testifying in court and how it went. If you do, they may also want to know what your experience was like and whether or not you would be comfortable doing so again.

Example: “I have testified in court before, but only once. I had been working on a case for several months when the suspect finally confessed. The judge called me up to testify about my findings, which took place over two days. It was an interesting experience, but one that I’m glad is behind me. I don’t think I’d ever want to go through something like that again.”

When is it appropriate to seek a search warrant?

Special investigators often need to apply for search warrants, which allow them to enter private property and collect evidence. An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your legal knowledge and how you use it in the field. In your answer, try to explain what factors influence whether or not you decide to seek a warrant.

Example: “Search warrants are an important tool that I only use when necessary. For example, if I am looking for specific items of evidence, such as weapons or drugs, then I will likely apply for a warrant. However, if I am simply looking for information, like documents or financial records, then I would probably just get a subpoena instead.”

We want to improve our investigative processes so that we can reduce the time it takes to complete an investigation. Describe a strategy you would use to improve our current processes.

Special investigators often work with other professionals to complete their investigations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe how you would improve the processes of your current employer and what steps you would take to implement these improvements.

Example: “I have worked in my field for over 10 years now, so I know that there are many ways we could streamline our investigative processes. One strategy I would use is a digital case management system. This system allows us to store all of our information digitally, which makes it easier to access when needed. Another strategy I would use is an online collaboration tool like Slack or Trello. These tools allow us to communicate more efficiently and effectively.”

Describe your process for debriefing with your supervisor after completing an investigation.

Special investigators often work independently, so it’s important to have a strong relationship with your supervisor. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to communicate effectively and professionally with your superiors. In your answer, explain that you will always be honest about the details of an investigation. You’ll also provide any recommendations for improvement or changes in policy.

Example: “I believe debriefing is an essential part of every investigation. I would first give my supervisor a brief overview of what happened during the case. Then, I’d share all of my findings and observations. Finally, I’d offer up any suggestions for improving our department’s policies or procedures.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering this question, it can be helpful to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other applicants. You may also want to mention any skills you have that are relevant to the job.

Example: “I am an extremely organized person who is always on time. I am able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines while maintaining confidentiality. These skills make me stand out as someone who would be great at this position because of my attention to detail and ability to manage multiple tasks at once. Another thing that makes me stand out is my previous experience working in law enforcement.”

Which computer forensic tools are you familiar with using?

Special investigators may need to use computer forensic tools to gather information from a variety of sources. Interviewers ask this question to see if you have experience using these tools and how well you can apply them in your work. Before your interview, make sure you research the types of computer forensic tools that the department uses. If they are different than what you’re familiar with, explain why you would be willing to learn new ones.

Example: “I am very familiar with EnCase and FTK. I’ve used both of these tools for several years now, so I know how to apply them effectively. However, I also understand that the department uses X-Ways Forensics, which is similar to EnCase but has some additional features. I’m confident that I could learn this tool quickly.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of an investigation report?

Interviewers ask this question to see if you understand the importance of thorough and accurate reporting. They want to know that you can write clear, concise reports that include all relevant information about your findings. In your answer, explain what makes a good report and how you would ensure yours are always well-written and organized.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of an investigation report is clarity. I make sure to use simple language and avoid jargon or complicated terminology so anyone reading my report can understand it. I also organize my reports in a way that’s easy to follow and reference everything with page numbers so there’s no confusion about where I found certain information.”

How often do you update your investigative skills through continuing education or training?

Special investigators often need to stay up-to-date on the latest investigative techniques and technology. Employers ask this question to make sure you are committed to your own professional development. In your answer, share a few ways that you plan to keep your skills sharp.

Example: “I am always looking for new resources to learn more about my field. I have taken several online courses in digital forensics and cybercrime investigation. I also subscribe to three different industry publications so I can read articles from experts in the field. I find these methods to be very helpful when it comes to learning new skills.”

There is a high turnover rate among our special investigators. What strategies would you use to improve job satisfaction and retention among your team?

Special investigators often work in high-pressure environments, so it’s important to create a positive and productive workplace. Employers ask this question to make sure you have strategies for improving employee morale. In your answer, explain how you would help your team feel valued and appreciated. Share some specific ideas that you think might improve job satisfaction among special investigators.

Example: “I know the role of special investigator can be stressful, but I also know there are many benefits to working here. If I were hired as an HR director, I would implement several programs to support our special investigators. For example, I would hold monthly training sessions on stress management techniques. I would also encourage my team members to take more vacation time and offer bonuses for taking time off. Additionally, I would start a mentorship program where senior investigators could mentor junior ones.”


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