My first year as an investigator

Hey Bob,

Your blog is great. I’m just getting started researching whether-or-not I would like to become a background investigator. I’m very interested and just returned from 8 years deployment as a contractor in Afghanistan. I wonder if you can shed some light on how to find opportunities to become an investigator?

There are numerous opportunities available and this job always has openings. Just search your area + Background investigator into google and you’re bound to see plenty of postings. Companies to look at are Perspecta, CACI, and Omniplex and you can check their sites directly for postings in your area. Any questions, let me know! The job requirements aren’t too strict, I think most companies look for at least a bachelor’s degree or a few years of related experience. If you already have a TS clearance then that is a huge plus and could get you in the door a lot more quickly.

Hello,

Thank you so much for your quick response. I did get a response from CACI and will look into the others you suggest.

I hope you are still enjoying it as much now as you were when you wrote your blog.

Happy trails…

I’m enjoying it quite a bit more actually. The first 6 months of the job are probably the most difficult for new investigators. Things become a LOT easier as you gain more experience and things start to fall in place. I’ve been able to develop even more since I wrote the original post.

In fact, just this morning I was sitting in my home office and I couldn’t help but keep smiling because I’m happy to have this job and how lucky I am to not have to sit in a cubicle all day. I can take breaks whenever I want and pretty do whatever I want as long as I produce my numbers.

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You’ll be bored with the job in a year or two. The job will become a burden and you’ll really dislike the job after about three years. I’ve been doing it for 12 years and it’s become monotonous and mundane. Even the autonomy you feel won’t be as important as the job burns you out. Unless your a fed and then you have low production standards and might be able to make a career out of it for a long period of time.

Go find a different career unless you want a job that constantly reopens your work for frivolous corrections, absolute monotony and redundancy, and no job satisfaction than by all means please apply and be miserable with us. Misery loves company here.

Thank you for the feedback. It helps to have all perspectives.

Monotonous and mundane… That describes basically 90% of the jobs out there, the only difference is you would be stuck in a cubicle or office. Yes, reopens can be annoying and yes it can get monotonous asking the same questions over and over again, but the freedom of being able to make your own schedule more than outweigh the monotonous and mundane tasks. I like being able to break up the monotony by being able to go for a run or take care of a couple of errands or complete housework if I want to.

So far this week I’ve been able to repaint the entire exterior of my house in between my interviews and typing. Any other job and there’s no way I would have had it in me to do that after being stuck at the same desk all day and commuting home.

I’ve worked way worse jobs for way less pay, so for now I’m happy where I’m at but I do recognize that this is dead end position, for the most part. I’m making a decent wage for my area which allowed me to buy my first house.

You are correct. There are worse jobs than this. I never said this was the worst job ever but there are many things about the job I dislike. Overall, you painted a good picture of the day in the life of an Investigator.

One thing that people don’t realize when they look on the surface of this job is how challenging the job really is. The constant refiles, the incompetence of the review staff and no uniformity in the review process, the ever changing handbook, the ever changing policy and procedural changes for Tiered Investigations, the constant never ending issue resolution, and the overall negativity the job brings upon us. Don’t forget to consider how difficult the public can be to get information from and the constant questions they have regarding who we are, are we legitimate, and the constant dodging of the public of interviews we attempt to schedule, etc. This makes our job incredibly difficult. If you are working for one of the vendors as a full time hourly employee such as CACI, Perspecta, GDIT, or SCIS then you have to deal with metrics on top of the already stressful job. This is hung over your head for things you cannot control in regards to quality and timeliness because of how a reviewer may view something on your case and they refile you because they didn’t feel good about something in the report and want to overwork a case because ten years ago they had a customer reopen for something similar. Your earning potential and promotional potential should never be placed in the hands of a reviewer because many of these reviewers refilling cases are outside of our control. In addition, you cannot control your timeliness because you are always over assigned your maximum capacity to the level in which you are being currently paid by your company you are doing business for which results in always being in a constant cycle of missing ACD’s and having to ask for ACD extensions. All of these of these companies assign you over your capacity of 10-25% for what they call “evaporation”. The whole thing stinks. Arbitrary stats to control your life. Sounds like a great career. Glad I’m an independent contractor and don’t deal with the metrics thing any longer as it is an impossible obstacle to overcome.

Now we have a switch to a new agency, continuous evaluation on the horizon for periodic reinvestigations which is basically the death nail for all of us because the availability to a consistent workload will diminish significantly. So hunker down and get ready for the approaching storm. There’s going to be lay offs, mass exodus out of the industry by Investigators, reviewers, and other personnel. It’s going to be rough seas ahead. If you are currently working the NBIB contract only as either a F/T hourly or independent contractor, you better have a backup plan because the work load is diminishing significantly and to stay relevant one will have to be on a constant TDY rotation and perform the best amongst their peers or they will be laid off.

Good luck but in the end this is a dead end like you already mentioned and are aware of the circumstances.

This is the most helpful thing I’ve read about the position! I just found out my clearance has been granted and I’m waiting to hear about training. I’m wondering what you recommend bringing as far as materials to the training course? I have two degrees so I know all about how to take notes and study but I’m wondering if the course feels similar to my college experiences. Wondering how I can best prepare!

You won’t need much during training, just some pens and paper

Hi,
I read this, and have rather unusual questions…so i had panel interview for SI, in March 2019/ I got offered starting date, the pay and academy. Few days later, I got a phone call that VETERAN overbeat me…, so I was definitely upset. I continue applying for other fmcsa jobs. Never filled out any background paperwork, but OMP started visiting some of my friends and work places? Whats going on??? Is this normal???

The investigation was probably in the field

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The contracting companies don’t normally rank their candidates by veteran status, unless you meant a veteran investigator.

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