Are you preparing for a police officer interview?
The interview usually takes place in front of an oral board, which can be rather intimidating. Therefore, the trick to acing the interview is being able to keep your composure while answering the questions well.
A good way to do this is to research the questions that are likely to come up and practice your answers. The answers you give should highlight your knowledge, experience, and your related soft skills.
So, let’s take a look at some common police officer interview questions and the best types of answers to give…
- Police Officer Interview Questions
- Tell us a little about yourself
- Why did you choose to become a police officer?
- Why did you apply to this particular law enforcement agency?
- What is your strategy for getting along with the diverse people who work within the police department?
- What would you do if you arrived at a crime scene and discovered that the prime suspect was another law enforcement officer?
- If you were issued an order by a superior which was against regulations, would you obey it?
- If one of your family members committed a minor crime that did not impact anyone else, would you report it?
- What would you do if you thought a senior officer had taken some cash from a crime scene?
- What would you do if you and your partner were transporting a violent offender to jail and saw a serious traffic accident?
- How would you diffuse a situation where a person was acting hostile toward you but had not yet become violent?
- What steps do you take to ensure a good relationship between the police and the citizens in your precinct?
- When you retire and look back on your career as a police officer, what will you be the proudest of having achieved?
- Need More Superb Interview Advice?
- Final Thoughts
Police Officer Interview Questions
The senior officer is likely to ask most of the questions during your interview. Therefore it is important to direct your answers to the person who asked you the question. However, you also need to include the other people on the board by making brief eye contact.
When giving your answers, you need to make sure they are clear and to the point. Senior officers are experienced and skilled at reading people. Therefore, make sure that you answer each question honestly and to the best of your ability.
Tell us a little about yourself
This is the first question that is usually asked by an oral board. It is your opportunity to make a strong impression, so make sure that your answer is memorable. You should prepare an opening statement that includes a brief summary of your career along with your accomplishments and strengths.
While your answer should be brief, it should highlight your most important skills and attributes. Focus on the positive and resist talking about things you do not like. Because this question is sure to come up in the interview, you can practice your answer ahead of time.
Why did you choose to become a police officer?
Becoming a police officer is not usually a decision that is taken lightly, and a lot of thought goes into it. Your answer should highlight your specific character traits that drew you to the police force. Illustrate your answer with a specific example of an event that made you want to become a police officer.
Why did you apply to this particular law enforcement agency?
This question allows you to reveal the research you have done to prepare for the interview. It is likely that there are several law enforcement agencies in your area that you could have applied to. Highlight the things about this particular agency that stood out to you, such as their policing record and public profile.
What is your strategy for getting along with the diverse people who work within the police department?
Police departments are comprised of different personality types, and it is important to work together closely. It is essential to be able to establish and rapport and camaraderie with people from all walks of life. Highlight the communication and interpersonal skills that you use to do this both in your professional and personal life.
What would you do if you arrived at a crime scene and discovered that the prime suspect was another law enforcement officer?
Integrity is a key part of a police officer’s job, and it is important to highlight your strong moral code. While you need to answer this question honestly, make sure that your integrity is at the forefront. If a fellow officer is suspected of a crime, you need to treat them like any other citizen while protecting their anonymity.
If you were issued an order by a superior which was against regulations, would you obey it?
While police officers are expected to automatically follow orders, senior officers are not above making mistakes. Your answer should highlight your commitment to doing your job to the best of your abilities. This may sometimes involve making difficult and unconventional decisions.
Your answer should demonstrate your ability and willingness to follow orders without question. You also have strong reasoning skills and a strong understanding of the regulations. There may be cases when you need to report the incident, especially if it could cause harm to an individual.
If one of your family members committed a minor crime that did not impact anyone else, would you report it?
This answer is also designed to test your sense of integrity and your willingness to answer questions honestly. It is best to acknowledge that this would be a tricky situation that you hope would never come up. Even if the crime did not have an impact on other people, it would be your duty to report your family member.
What would you do if you thought a senior officer had taken some cash from a crime scene?
If you are following the rules, there should be a clear answer to this question. Although it would be a difficult situation, integrity would force you to talk to the senior officer about it. It is important to show the senior officer respect initially and ask for an explanation and report it if necessary.
What would you do if you and your partner were transporting a violent offender to jail and saw a serious traffic accident?
This question is designed to find out how you go about doing your job as a police officer. Your answer should outline the steps you would take to make sure that the situation is handled correctly. You need to be brief and to the point, as the interviewer will ask additional questions if necessary.
How would you diffuse a situation where a person was acting hostile toward you but had not yet become violent?
The escalation of law enforcement incidents is a critical issue in today’s environment. Police officers need to be able to diffuse situations quickly and skillfully while being aware of public perception. Clearly discuss the training you have received and how you use it to de-escalate the incidents you respond to.
What steps do you take to ensure a good relationship between the police and the citizens in your precinct?
Relationships between the general public and law enforcement agencies can become very tense at times. You need to be able to take proactive steps to remove tension while fostering a positive relationship. Your answer should outline the steps that you would personally take to ensure this occurs.
When you retire and look back on your career as a police officer, what will you be the proudest of having achieved?
This question requires you to talk about your career goals and the steps you will take to achieve them. You should be able to demonstrate a clear vision of the path you want your career to follow. At the very minimum, your answer should reflect that working as a police officer and having a clean record is a reward in itself.
Need More Superb Interview Advice?
Then, you’ll enjoy my guide to Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, or even the best way of answering questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here and the tricky Why We Should Hire You in 2023?
Or, if you’re leaving your current job, you may need some advice on How to Write a Resignation Letter. However, if you want to look at the brighter side of the process, I would strongly recommend reading How to Quit Your Job Gracefully, Work Sucks!: A Funny View of a Serious Problem, as well as Good Luck Finding Awesome Coworkers Like Us Again.
And, staying on the other side, if you need a great T-shirt (but not one that you wear to an interview) or mug, check out the I’m Dad Grandpa Retired Police Officer Nothing Scares Me Tee or the I Never Dreamed Sexy Cop T-shirt Funny Police Tee. And for your morning coffee, how about the Funny Best Police Officer Ever Large 20 Ounce Travel Tumbler Mug or the YouNique Designs I Cant Fix Stupid but I Can Cuff It Coffee Cup.
Interviewing in front of an oral board can be stressful, but there are ways of increasing your chance of success. Performing well in front of an interview panel is a skill that will develop with practice. Repetition is the key, and you should practice your interview technique in front of family and friends.
Make sure you do as much research as possible into the role you are applying for. Your knowledge of the role and police department should be reflected in your answers. When practicing your interview technique, focus on your body language and make sure that you are honest and open.
Wishing you the very best of luck with your next interview.