Meet the team: Joseph Hill, VP of US Technical Operations
What does a typical day in your job look like?
While there’s not really a ‘typical’ day in this industry, as facets of each day can change drastically, I would say most days revolve around the execution of our background/due diligence reports. The golden rule however is that we must also maintain the fluidity and availability to respond to field investigation inquiries in a timely manner. It’s not far from reality to start the day in the office and end the day in a hotel room in a different state.
How did you get into this line of work?
Shortly out of college I was hired by Sedgwick Factual Photo as a field investigator for Workman’s Compensation/Insurance Fraud investigations. I was in that position for a few years before taking a hiatus from the investigative world. I returned to the industry about 7 years ago and have been performing a myriad of investigations since, ranging from scene investigations to undercover work.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I have two equally favourite aspects: the fact that “no two days are the same” and being able to help our clients achieve their goals. Clients hire us to solve their problems because they usually have no other course of action. It is a huge sense of fulfilment when an investigation comes to fruition and we are able to service our client’s needs, leaving them with a sense of satisfaction (and sometimes, relief).
What is your favourite service that Conflict International provides?
I can’t really list one specific service that we provide that is my “favourite”. I enjoy the full range of our services, especially the field work and desktop research we offer. I think what makes them all highly enjoyable for me is that I never get bored of one task – each day features different services in different measures and capacities. I could be doing surveillance one day, desktop investigations the next, armed protection for a week following that, and then back to desktop research after the protection.
Where has been your most memorable work location/job?
I went undercover in a furniture production plant in Southern Virginia. Corporate management had knowledge but could not confirm that there was an abundance of drug use being performed by employees while on-the-clock, on company property. I was tasked with going undercover into the company to locate the individuals in question and uncover who was supplying the drugs. I had to go through the company’s onboarding process, which utilized a service for temporary workers that could be hired full time after a probationary period, and essentially worked for that company for 2.5 months while trying to complete my objectives. In the end, I was successful in my investigations and 7 people, including the day shift manager, had their employment terminated for breaching company policy. I believe a few were actually brought up on charges by local law enforcement, as I had obtained video evidence as well, but of that fact I can’t be certain.
What is something that you’ve learnt over the last year?
I was able to achieve my certification in Digital Forensics, which will allow me to forensically analyse devices for items that may have been deleted or items that that may have been put there surreptitiously by others for means of harm. This is an entirely new area for me that I’m excited to explore, as I’ve always had an enthusiastic outlook on technology and how it works, on both the hardware and software sides. I’ve also learned a great deal in the administration side of the business, which is an area of the business I had not had as much experience with previously. .
Do you have any advice for those looking to enter the profession?
It requires determination and a strong will to make it in this industry. There are a lot of long hours and travel if you’re in the field, and you will likely make mistakes. You also need to have the ability to self-manage, and in my view, high sense of self-esteem. People that think analytically, have great problem-solving skills, and who are generally observant in their daily lives would make good candidates for this line of work.