Police Interview Tips (part 1)

Today I spent the day on an interview panel talking to police recruit after police recruit about why they want to be a police officer. I did police interviews a few weeks ago also. Next week I will have a day of doing police interviews also. All I have to say is my head hurts, just thinking about next week my head hurts!

Let me say this. You need to prepare for your interview. Let me repeat that you NEED to prepare for a police interview. Below are some tips that should help with preparing for a police interview.

Police interview tip #1: Make yourself stand out.
We got over 100 applications and most of them all have a college degree in criminal justice. That paper only gets you into the room to talk to us. Give us more than the fact you have a CJ degree. Do you work a security job? Did you do an internship? Were you in the Police Explorer program?

If you have something that maks you stand out, make sure to tell us about it. Don’t assume at the interview we will have read your application and resume in detail. We typically skim them. We are doing these interviews for you to sell us on why we should hire you. So tell us details.

Police Interview tip #2: Research the department before you show up
Our department asks a question about our mission statement. We read you that mission statement as part of the question. Keep in mind our mission statement mentions adherence to the department’s core values. Unless you read the core values before the interview, you will not know them.

Sure you can BS your way through the question by assuming our values include ethics and safety. But our core values also include things like community involvement, compassion, and diversity. You work in something about these hard to guess core values, you have scored some big points with us.

Police Interview tip #3: Answer the question we asked
Listen to the question. Let me repeat that LISTEN to the question. Then answer THAT question. If we ask about your work history, we want to hear about work history. This question is most likely not the time to start talking about your super high GPA. Likewise it is not the time to brag about how many times you ran the “tough mudder” race.

I have seen it too many times. We ask about work history and someone starts talking about GPA or fitness routine. Then later in the interview we ask about education history or out side activities. So now we get a repeat answer.

Police Interview tip #4: Dress for the interview
We are looking for professionals. Come to your police interview looking like someone who is a professional. A suit is a good idea. Had a guy last week in cargo pants and a polo shirt. Almost told him to leave before the interview started, knew he was just wasting our time. Was proven right, he was an idiot in most all his answers.

Some gender specific things to think about for dressing

Shave. That scruffy look is cool, I get it. But for an interview you look like someone with poor hygiene.
Ties. Learn to tie a tie. If you can’t do it, get someone to tie it for you.
Socks. Your pants leg will NOT hid white gym socks, so put on dress socks
Cologne. Less is more. Don’t take a bath in your designer label smell.

Makeup. Are you interviewing for a job as a clown or a cop?
Ear rings. Dangling ear rings that make noise when they move is distracting.
Boobs. Cover them! cleavage is not how you want to impress us.
Perfume. Less is more. Don’t take a bath in your designer label smell.

Police Interview tip #5: Show up early
I can’t speak for all departments but our interviews last about 45 minutes. So we schedule them for an hour and a half long. This way if one runs long there is no way it will mess up the schedule for the rest of the day. So if I step out into the lobby and you are not there you have lost points.

Had a guy not only show up late, but then also asked to use the bathroom before we started. Granted I don’t want someone to pee their pants in an interview. But he made us wait almost 10 minutes, now he wants us to wait anouther couple of minutes.

So these were 5 tips that have come out of my last few interviews. I know there are more tips. Which is why I did label this “Part 1”. I am sure in the future sometime I will have more tips…