The police interview exam is one of the toughest parts of the police test. It’s tough – and it requires a lot of preparation! Here, we focus on one of the most overlooked parts of the exam; namely – the need for keeping composure during the police interview test.
Think about how the most effective police officers operate. For instance, they arrive at the scene of a reported scuffle between neighbors. Both sides are shouting abuse and allegations and the situation remains febrile. One of the duties of the police officer is to retain composure and to evaluate what has happened.
This means taking a step back and taking down evidence from an objective perspective. The officer should always strive to avoid bias – as overt bias can elevate the temperature of the situation, even if the officer has a strong belief who was in the wrong, or who committed a criminal act.
The need to keep composure, then, is crucial to the professional life of all police officers.
And that ability should always be conveyed during the police interview test.
Many police exam questions are deliberately framed to antagonize or to at least put pressure on the applicant.
One of the techniques deployed by examiners is to repeatedly question why you believe you are right. For example: you may be asked about what you would do in each situation. Your answer will then be pushed, and pushed, and pushed – to the point where the examiner is hoping that you back-peddle and change your mind.
Rather than buckle under the pressure, candidates should always keep their composure and stick to what they believe is right. Even if the examiner is trying to persuade you to change your mind by questioning you in a passive-aggressive manner, this is merely theatrics. If you are confident that your line of action is the correct and professional course of action, then stick to it.
Do not let your emotions get the better of you. If you buckle under the pressure during an oral board exam, examiners will wonder how you will react in real-life police situations that are far more serious in nature!
Keeping composure is also about being aware how to time responses.
During the oral board exam, you will be asked dynamic questions. In this format, you will be given a scenario and asked what you would do. Once you decide a course of action, the examiner will interrupt and ask, “Okay, but what would you do if …” – introducing a new stipulation to the question. You are expected to adjust your responses accordingly and, most importantly, professionally too.
One of the reasons many candidates fail dynamic police interview questions is that they rush into the answer. The examiner is applying pressure, as they are expected to do – and the almost natural response by candidates is to fire out an answer as quickly as the question was asked. However, this is a classic mistake. Rather than let the pressure accrue, do what the police officer does in day-to-day life – namely, take a step back and evaluate the problem. Even if it takes 5-10 seconds, the fact that you are thinking through the problem says a lot to the examiner.
Of course, it would be wrong to spend 5-minutes thinking about the answer, but even a reflective couple of seconds thinking through a problem informs the oral board panel that you are not impulsive, and that you have the capacity to think through problems under pressure. Better to take a few seconds extra and choose the correct path than to rush through the question for the sake of it.
And again – even if the panel is ratcheting up the pressure, remain aware of this pressure and never succumb to it. Instead, you – the candidate – should lead the oral board exam.
During the oral board exam, candidates should remain:
And keeping composure during the police interview test is a core skill that will help you through this entire process.
Keeping composure is only effective if you are equipped to answer the oral board questions that you are asked. To prepare for these questions, candidates should prepare sample answers but never to memorize those answers. Instead, what is important is your overall understanding of how police officers should operate when faced with any given situation. Your answers should always be adaptable to the specific needs of a specific situation.
If you attempt to memorize answers for the sake of it, you lose the authenticity to address specific problems. And that, in the end, will only spell disaster on the day of your police officer exam.
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