Police Interview Questions.

To succeed at the oral board exam, you must prepare for all kinds of police interview questions. The more questions you practice, the better prepared you will be for the oral board exam.

Here, we review some of the most common police interview questions asked on the exam. Below, we’ve also included some of the top police interview tips to help you master this part of the police officer exam.

Question - Tell us more about yourself?

To effectively answer this oral board question, you must include:

  • A short summary of your career
  • Summary of your personal strengths, skills, and accomplishments
  • Reasons why you’ve decided to become a police officer

In other words, your answer must be tailored. You need to identify factors within your life that are directly linked to a career in law enforcement.

Avoid talking about irrelevant aspects of your life – such as your favorite music band, or why you like the NFL – that have nothing to do with a career in law enforcement. Instead, identify what is relevant from what is irrelevant in a law enforcement career.

Question - Would you give your mother a speeding ticket?

Candidates are not always asked the same questions. There are many variations of asking the same police oral board question. So, whilst you may or may not be asked this specific question, you should still understand the theory behind why the question is asked, and then how to directly answer the question as expected.

Here, the oral board panel is searching to learn:

  • How you deal with a potential conflict-of-interest
  • How to appropriately deal with a delicate, personal situation
  • Your understanding of the principle of officer discretion

We’ve handled this question in one of our YouTube videos. Take a few minutes to learn what to include – and what not to include – in your answer.

Question – Outline when officers should use deadly force?

Deadly force almost always comes up on the police officer exam.

You will be presented with a case scenario. For example: you may be patrolling the inner city and find an individual on the ground, with another citizen pointing a gun at that individual. You turn the corner – how do you react to this situation?

Here, what officers are searching for is a detailed understanding of:

  • Your understanding and knowledge of the force continuum
  • Appraising and answering real-life scenarios under pressure
  • Your rationale for the applicable use of deadly force

Some police interview questions on this subject are more difficult that others. What matters is that you practice as many questions as possible. The more diverse range of questions, the easier you will find it to marry the correct approach to the case scenario.

Your reaction must be proportionate, in-line with the best available evidence, and must be thoroughly reasoned throughout. Under pressure in the police test, this is not often easy. That’s why long-term preparation for the oral board is essential.

Question – Have you ever stolen?

Many candidates are asked if they have ever stolen.

To answer this question to the best possible extent, you must be honest. Ultimately, that’s why the oral board panel are asking these kinds of police interview questions. If we’re all truly honest, we have all stolen at some point.

Even if it’s something small and cheap and as a kid, you should include it.

In your answer:

  • State when you have stolen
  • Express regret and offer a wider context as to why you chose to steal
  • Relay to the panel how you have matured and moved on

By being honest, expressing remorse, and advancing maturity, you demonstrate to the oral board panel that you are a serious candidate. Stating “I have never stolen” only shows you have something to hide or are outright lying to the panel. Never a good look.

Question – Why did you choose this police department?

Know the reasons, in detail, why you chose your police department.

To answer this police officer interview question to the best possible extent, you must include the following details in your answer:

  • Your personal relationship to the police department
  • Local crime statistics / knowledge of the latest police reports / findings
  • How the department is structured / how it is developing
  • How the department aligns with your future career prospects

By weaving these points into your answer, you tell the oral board panel that you are serious about becoming a law enforcement officer in their specific department; that you have done an enormous amount of research; and that you know exactly what you are getting into.

These are all positive attributions and will score very well on exam day.

Question – You witness a sexual encounter in the park.

Public sexual encounters are often used as a pretext for many police interview questions. You should have a thorough understanding about how to approach this style of question during the oral board exam.

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that you are out patrolling late at night and witness a sexual encounter in a local park; even though the park is supposed to be closed. How would you react to this situation?

Some points worth considering include:

  • The need to ensure that the sexual activity is stopped
  • As you are dealing with more than 1 person, back-up should be called
  • Ensure that the individuals in question are identified
  • Inform them the park is closed and admonish their behaviour
  • Upon reprimanding them, send them on their way

Of course, the precise answer you give must be tailored to the specific case study question you are asked. This is just one such example. When answering this kind of question, it’s important that your reaction is considered, proportionate, and ultimately leads to a positive outcome for all concerned.

Top 10 Police Interview Tips
for the Oral Board Exam.

Here, we’ve strung together the top police interview tips to
help navigate your way through the oral board exam.

Answering police interview questions doesn’t need to be difficult; all it requires is time, preparation and a detailed, well-reasoned approach.

  • Always be honest. Oral board panels have seen it all. Don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes. It won’t work and it only serves to compromise your chances of making it through to the next round.
  • Always admit personal faults. Nobody is perfect and the oral board panel know this. Don’t be afraid to admit any personal faults, now or in the past. What matters is that you can be trusted going forward.
  • Be proportionate. The more radical and disproportionate your answers, the more you convey to the oral board panel that you cannot be trusted on your own. You may act in a rash or conflict-driven manner and that’s far too much of a risk for any department. Furthermore, don’t argue with the panel.
  • Monitor your body language. As soon as you enter the exam, your body language will be monitored. If your body language is out-of-sync with how you are answering questions, that inconsistency will raise alarm bells. Be conscious about your facial and body expressions and adjust accordingly.
  • Do your research. There’s nothing worse than an ill-prepared test candidate. If you are not willing to spend the time, why should the department spend time on you? The more you learn about the department, role, and profession, the more you convey to the oral board panel that you are serious.
  • Take the opportunity to learn more. At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. Take this opportunity to probe more into the department, or perhaps into something that triggered your curiosity during the oral board exam itself. Be proactive; ask some questions.
  • Avoid negativity. If you are willing to be negative about a past employer, why would you be any different with the police department? Limit talking negatively about others during the exam. It gives a bad impression. If anything, it just makes you look bad.
  • Stay calm under pressure. During the exam, you may be asked police interview questions in a “dynamic-style” – meaning one question after another after another, often in an interrupted-style, on a specific case scenario. This can be a pressure cooker. It’s essential you remain calm, stay reasoned, and keep composure. That’s what they want to see.
  • Add facts, figures and personal experience. By peppering each answer with the latest crime statistics, or figures relating to the department or problem in question, you greatly add value to each answer. Where possible, crowbar in some extra – but relevant – details, such as some personal experience you had, on a recent ride-in with the police department, for example.
  • Know how to handle conflict-of-interest situations. You will be asked conflict-of-interest questions, of that there is no doubt. With this knowledge to hand, take the time to know – in advance – how you would react if a parent or sibling were involved in a situation that you found yourself involved in. These are some of the most important police interview questions on the exam.

Answering police oral board questions is easier the more practice
you put in. Long-term preparation is essential.


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