Every once in a while I get a great question from someone who just “gets it” and I can tell right away that they will make a fine bail enforcement agent someday. This afternoon I received an email that made me sit down and think about the criteria I use for hiring new investigators into the fugitive investigation division of CompassPoint Investigations. Articulating what it is I am looking for when filling a “bounty hunter” job opening, exactly, was a lot more difficult than I had first imagined. In any event, I thought I would share Ivan’s question here with everyone along with my answer:
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2006 4:50 PM
To: Scott Harrell
Subject: Question in regards to employment qualifications…
I have to say that the frequently asked questions page certainly answered a lot of questions that I had, and eased my mind on quite a few things. But I am left with one question. At this stage, a career in bail enforcement is my primary interest, and I am extremely excited about getting into the industry, wether it be by employment in a company, or privatly. The question I have is concerning employment in a company such as your own. When you are hiring someone, wht aspects of the person, and their backround do you consider? for example, do you look for a person who has had prior military or law enforcement experience? Basicly, what kind of backround would I need to have ,to gain employment in a bail enforcement/ P.I company? as I said, I am extremely enthusiastic about pursuing this career and will do whatever it takes. Your Information is greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, Ivan doesn’t spell as well as I would have liked but his enthusiasm and approach earn him high marks. This is an important reminder to use spell check!
When I post a bail enforcement agent employment vacancy announcement I get mobbed with applications and resumes- it is an extremely competitive market for people looking to hire on with a company rather than go it alone, mostly because of the tremendous popularity of Duane “Dog” Chapman’s show.
The very first thing I look for is the ability to communicate. I really don’t care what type of background they have if they come to me with the ability to communicate well (both written and verbal) and the ability to learn what I have to teach them; every skill that my employees need to be successful in this business I can teach them but I’m not going back to grammar school. The ability to communicate (especially in writing) will set you apart from others- regardless of your background. I’ve seen some of the best investigators I have ever met struggle to make ends meet because they didn’t present themselves well with clients.
I think I’ve beat that horse to death.
I then look for what, specifically, the prospective employee has done to invest in their own career before asking me to invest my dollars, time and experience in them. How much education have they obtained (not necessarily college) and where? What books have they read? What special skills or contacts do they bring to the table? The last guy I hired I did so because he had attended a few very respected classes in handcuffing, interviewing and interrogation, and compliance, direction and take-down. He invested heavily in his education and I knew that he was going to take this business (and mine) very seriously. He barely graduated high school but understood the value of training.
I’m not terribly hip on hiring ex-cops because most of them can’t get the LE mentality out of the way they deal with people. I like ex-military guys because they are loyal, obedient and have a higher sense of ethics- though their military training does not cross-over to the civilian world well despite what most of them want me to believe (hunting terrorists is not the same as enforcing bail by any stretch of the imagination). I am ex-military too.
Lastly, I look for investigators who understand that this is a business rather than a thrill ride for adrenaline junkies. I appreciate that candidate who indicates to me that he is a good marketer or networker and takes an interest in building and maintaining my business with me. He or she maintains a professional image because they understand that they represent CompassPoint Investigations while they are in the field. That says a lot about his or her character.