Detention Officer Interview Questions


Detention officers have a favorable job outlook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Demand for the position is expected to grow. Working as a detention officer, which involves serving in a pretrial detention facility, can also be a challenging, rigorous job. If you're preparing for an interview for a detention officer position, or conducting an interview as a supervisor, you should keep in mind certain questions may be asked.

Academic Background

  • Prepare to answer questions about your academic experience. The minimum educational level is a high school degree or GED; in federal facilities, applicants must have a bachelor's degree (though this requirement can be waived with three years of relevant work experience.) Interviewers may ask about courses of study, academic performance, and any relevant coursework (such as in the field of criminal justice or criminology).

Work Experience

  • An interviewer will want to probe an applicant's work experience to determine if he is suitable for the position. Such questions will inquire about previous positions, responsibilities, reasons for departing the job, and how those skills would benefit one's employment as a detention officer.

Interest in the Position

  • A standard question in many job interviews is "What interests you in the position?" or "What are your motivations for applying?" This question is especially important because it gives the applicant a chance to explain why she is a good fit for the job and why she'll have enthusiasm for and interest in the work, which are elements of a competent employee.

Challenges of the Position

  • Interviewers are likely to ask whether a potential officer is up to the challenges of the job. They may inquire about an applicant's ability to issue orders, be authoritative, and maintain discipline. Hypothetical "what would you do" questions can be expected; for example: "What would you do if an inmate threatened you with violence?" They may also ask applicants if they're capable of handling the stress of working in a detention facility, if they're prepared to assume the physical risks, and if they're ready for the emotional strain involved.

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