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In trying to secure a police officer job, the interview is usually the last-and most intimidating-hurdle to overcome. You've made it past the lengthy application process and have answered written questions. But without answering face-to-face questions from a panel of law enforcement professionals, you will not secure the job. The article will give you an idea of what to expect in the interview process.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
The police officer interview is longer and more intense than the one you would have for a more typical job. You'll need to do some preparation before the interview. Rehearsing an interview with a friend or family member may seem awkward but will definitely help you. In a moment, we will look at some of the questions you might be asked. But first, some general tips will be covered.
Make sure you are dressed professionally and conservatively. Even if the police station has seemed casual in other times you've been there, don't take a chance. It is better to be safe than sorry in a job interview situation. Get to the interview location early, but not excessively so. Ten minutes should be about right.
A police officer is expected to be assertive. When you enter the interview room, walk right up to each of the panel members, make eye contact with them and give them a firm handshake. The panel will consist of 3 to 5 members in most situations. One of them will be a representative from Human Resources.
Interview questions will fall into three general categories. We will now look at each kind of question.
These will be the easiest to answer. The panel will basically confirm the information you put on your application and resume. They will check your address and phone number and also confirm previous employment and education. As long as your oral answers match what the interviewers have, there should be no problem.
Do not be concerned if you see the interviewers taking notes or writing during the interview. This is expected.
These are the questions where the interviewers get to know you as a person and see what makes you "tick". A little bit of nervousness is expected during these questions and will not hurt you. It is not a bad idea at all to pause and think before answering the probing questions. You've got a lot riding on the answers and the police department is looking for somebody who thinks before they act. Examples of probing questions could be:
- Why do you want to become a police officer?
- What responsibilities have you had in the past?
- What are some weaknesses you need to work on?
These questions will likely prove the most difficult. You will be asked to imagine yourself in different situations and give responses. Scenarios might include :
- How would you respond in a hostage situation?
- How would you respond if a suspect offered a lot of money for you to "forget" something?
- How would you respond if you saw a fellow officer engaged in inappropriate conduct?
Moreso than even the probing questions, these will require you to think and answer carefully.
You can find some further tips for police officer interviews at: www.realpolice.net.