Interviewing for a job as a police officer is unlike any other private sector experience. Candidates typically face an intense interview session, and should expect to have every aspect of their lives examined—from academic records to reasons for wanting to join a particular department. Preparing for the types of questions that may come up during the interview can help a candidate make a positive impression.
Do You Have A Criminal Record?
Trying to become a police officer with a criminal record may seem like wishful thinking. However, that hasn't stopped criminals from trying, which is why the interview panel will always ask this question. If the candidate has no criminal record, the answer should be straightforward enough.
Why Do You Want To Work For Our Department?
Cultures and procedures differ from department to department, so candidates should expect to explain their motivations for applying to a particular agency. Not answering convincingly may suggest a desire to just get a foot in the door at any price, and not a real interest in the department.
Why Do You Want This Job?
The objective of this question is to learn what a potential officer might bring to the job. Given the danger and stress that accompanies much of police work, the panel wants to know what motivates individuals to do it.
What Can You Tell This Panel About Yourself?
Depending on how a candidate answers this open-ended question, she'll either make a dynamic first impression or turn off the panel entirely, with a long-winded summary of her background. Candidates should focus on factors that will show their potential for career success, such as having drive and a passion for justice, or having multiple relatives who have worked as police officers.
Raising hypothetical situations and asking how a candidate would respond is designed to measure a candidate’s integrity, judgment and decision making ability. These qualities are essential for being a successful police officer. For example, candidates might be asked how they would respond to seeing a coworker pocket money during a drug search, and what sorts of actions they might take.
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