I used to lock heads with a fellow officer. We disagreed over a lot of things - from civilian interaction to who got what shifts to how to speak with a victim's family. Our personalities just didn't mesh. After three months of arguing, I pulled her aside and asked her to lunch. At lunch, we talked about our differences and why we weren't getting along. It turns out, it was all about communication. We communicated differently and once we knew that, we began to work well together. I really believe that talking a problem through with someone can help solve any issue.
The panel will probe into your work history. They will look at the duties you performed in your previous jobs. Share with them any supervisory responsibilities you held. You should mention any accomplishments you had or recognitions you received. Don't fret if your work history consists of minimum wage jobs. You can still show them you are a dependable worker who will get the job done.
If you have worked several jobs, they will ask you why you left one job for another job. Be truthful in your answer. If you left because the new job paid more money or because you did not like what you were doing, then tell them that. If you were fired from a job, they will inquire as to why you were terminated.
If you have just graduated from college and have not yet joined the work force, you probably still have a work history. You should talk about any summer jobs you had, or part-time jobs you had while in school. The panel is looking for reliability. Someone who arrives to work on time and gets the job done. Someone who does not abuse sick leave and has no problems taking orders from a superior.
Physical fitness is one of the key attributes of a good police officer. The job may require you to chase a suspect, forcefully apprehend a subject or defend yourself from an attacker. These occurrences do not happen every day, but you must be physically prepared for them. The job of a police officer can be very stressful. Stress can lead to several ailments including heart disease. Studies have shown that a body that is in good physical condition is better prepared to handle stress. Therefore, law enforcement agencies are looking for individuals who have developed a healthy and fit lifestyle.
Just because you have an outstanding balance on your credit cards, a car loan, a student loan, and/or mortgage payment does not mean you wont be hired. Most people have borrowed money to pay for the more expensive things in life. What they want to know is if you are credit worthy. A person who is not capable of paying his bills may not be a dependable employee. If you have accumulated a large amount of debt on your credit cards, this too may disqualify you. Accumulating large amounts of unsecured debt shows that you have exercised poor judgement and may be a risk.
If you are currently using any illegal drugs, then you will not pass the interview. You cannot break the law while at the same time seek a position which enforces the law. You should openly admit to any previous drug usage. Each agency has certain parameters as to the type of drug and the amount of usage they will accept. If you fall outside of these parameters, there is nothing you can do but apply with another agency.
If you smoked a joint a few times in high school or college, admit to it. This does not necessarily disqualify you. As long as the panel believes this was an infrequent occurrence in your past, and that you are now a responsible adult, you should pass this portion of the interview.
If you have ever sold drugs, don't count on getting hired.
Moderate drinking is acceptable. What they are looking for are those people who drink excessively. Too much drinking can lead to absence from work, poor work performance, bad health, and financial troubles.
As with your driving record they will run a criminal history through the National Crime Information Center to see if you have a criminal record. Nearly every police agency will not hire you if you have been convicted of a felony charge. A misdemeanor conviction does not necessarily disqualify you for the job. They will inquire as to what type of sentence you received. They will ask you about the details of the case. If this was something you did as a juvenile, then share that with the panel. Their concerns are whether or not this is the only time you were caught. If you were arrested but the charges were later dropped or you were found not guilty, they will question you concerning the charges.
You can be sure they will run a computer check to see if you have had any motor vehicle violations. This is one example of where your ability to tell the truth will be verified. Just because you were ticketed for speeding, illegal parking, or for an accident does not mean you are immediately disqualified from obtaining a position with them. Every agency will accept a person who has minor infractions. Nobody is perfect. The agency may have a certain number of violations they will accept. If you exceed the set number, then you are disqualified. For example, four or more speeding tickets in the past two years may be unacceptable. Each agency usually sets the standards they deem appropriate.
What they are looking for is a pattern of deviant behavior. You are applying for a job which enforces the law. If you have demonstrated that you continually break the law, no matter how minor the violation, they are not going to hire you. The other concern is that a police officer spends a great deal of time in a motor vehicle. They want to make sure you can properly handle a vehicle and that you are not going to get into an accident.
If you were in the military, the panel will ask you about your time in the service. They will want to know which branch you served in, what was your highest rank, and what were your duties and responsibilities. If you saw combat, you should mention it to the panel. They will also want to know what type of discharge you received. They may ask you why you left the military.
If you received a medical discharge, the panel will explore this. They will want to know what percentage is your disability. They will also inquire as to the specific nature of your disability. You will need to show that you can perform the full range of duties required of a law enforcement officer.