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February 01, 2011

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PoliceOne Special Contributors Become a Cop
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Police interview questions to expect during recruitment

If you’re aiming for a career in law enforcement, it’s important to prepare for the types of police interview questions you’ll be expected to answer during the application process so that you can be prepared to answer them to the best of your ability.

The first thing to do in preparation for answering police interview questions is to thoroughly go over your application to make sure you’re familiar with the material you presented so you can be consistent. Particularly in the beginning stage of the interview, the recruiter will be asking questions to verify that the information you supplied on your application is accurate. For instance, if you stated in the application that you want to be in law enforcement because your Uncle Dan was a policeman, but in the interview you say it’s because you’ve always wanted to uphold the law, they’re going to wonder whether you’re being truthful with them.

Police interview questions will vary depending on the agency you’re applying to, but here are some general ideas of what to prepare for:

One of the most common police interview questions is to name the qualities that you possess that would make you a good law enforcement officer. Police recruiters are looking for people who are honest, capable, ethical, hard working and want to make a positive contribution to society by helping to uphold the law. They also want candidates who can operate effectively under pressure. Answer this police interview question honestly, but be aware that these are the qualities you should stress.

Another of the police interview questions that’s likely to be asked is why you want to become a police officer. Be aware that recruiters are trying to weed out people with violent tendencies as well as those who want to go into law enforcement because they’re on a power trip and want to exert control over other people. If you answer that you want a career in law enforcement so you can carry a gun and scare all of the bullies who pestered you in school, you’re not going to score points with the interviewer. Remember that a good police officer is charged with keeping the peace, not creating conflict by trying to bully or overpower people. The police interview questions asked of you will reflect their intention to determine if you have these qualities.

One of the police interview questions that you’ll have to address relates to your career goals. It’s important to be realistic when answering this question so the interviewer can gauge whether or not you’re fully aware of the particulars of becoming a police officer. If your answer to police interview questions such as this one is completely unrealistic, then the interviewer might decide that you haven’t educated yourself about the job’s particulars. For instance, if you say that your goal is to become chief of police in five years, they’ll think that either you’re not familiar with the way police rankings work or that you’re totally out of touch with reality. Either of those determinations will probably cost you the job.

In short, when answering police interview questions, always be honest. That said, prepare well before going into the interview so your answers are well thought out and stress the things that recruiters are looking for.

About the author

"Become a Cop" articles are intended to educate individuals interested in law enforcement careers about what it takes to join the force. These articles are written by PoliceOne staff members and PoliceOne contributors, and cover a wide range of topics from the basics on the different types of law enforcement careers to how to prepare for the police recruitment interview. If there's a topic you'd like to see covered, or are interested in writing for Become a Cop, email editor@policeone.com.




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