What are the Police Interviews?

Its not the most qualified candidate who gets the job, it’s the one who interviews the best.  If you are not preparing for the interviews, you can be sure others are.  After all the work you have done to prepare yourself for policing, it all comes down to the interviews.  How much effort you put into developing your interview strategy prior to the interview will likely determine how successful you will be.

Recruiters always appreciate when an applicant has taken the effort to prepare and practice for the interviews.  It displays a level of dedication to the process, a desire to speak logically and direct, and this also generally results in a more confident interview.  

Reducing your stress, and listening to the questions before preparing an answer is critical to interviewing properly. 

This uniform will be filled by the next successful applicant.  Will it be you?

police officer number 1 dress uniform

What to expect in the Police Interviews

First off, choose appropriate examples of your past experience to demonstrate that you meet each of the competencies.

Keep in mind is that it’s not just the content of your answer that you provide that is being assessed.  Your interpersonal and communication skills are also being evaluated, so you must ensure that you remain professional, confident and enthusiastic, without being overbearing and arrogant.

Interview Answer Framework

S-T-A-R
Used when answering behavioural type questions such as with the ECI or Essential Competency Interview or to a lesser degree the Local Focus Interview.  Typically needed when recalling past situations and explaining what you HAD done at that time.  Ensure that you include all four parts.  SituationTaskAction and Result

A-R-C
Used when answering hypothetical scenarios,such as action you would take. These types of questions will arise likely in the Local Focus Interview, and the Chief’s Interview or Panel Interview.  When you are asked a Situational, or hypothetical question, the interviewer is looking for you to explain what Actions you would take, the Reasons why you would do that action, and what factors you took into Consideration when deciding your action

police officer hiring process chart

Please note: Applicant Coaching Services does NOT offer interview coaching

Local Focus & Developmental Interviews

The Local Focus Interview or Developmental Interview generally is conducted by two interviewers, and will take roughly 90 minutes.  It is designed to evaluate your knowledge of the individual police service, the area they police, targeted areas of service initiative, and what you have done to prepare for a career in policing.  This will include education, volunteering, and gauge your general suitability as a police officer.

Developmental Competencies
These competencies can be acquired through training once hired as an officer. However, some police services may choose to include these in their hiring process. The following eleven competencies have been identified as developmental:

  • Information Seeking: The ability to seek out information from various sources before making decisions.
  • Concern for Safety: The ability to exercise caution in hazardous situations in order to ensure safety to self and others.
  • Assertiveness: The ability to use authority confidently and to set and enforce rules appropriately.
  • Initiative: Demonstrated ability to be self-motivated and self-directed in identifying and addressing important issues.
  • Cooperation: The ability to collaborate with others by seeking their input, encouraging their participation and sharing information.
  • Negotiation/Facilitation: The ability to influence or persuade others by anticipating and addressing their interests and perspectives.
  • Work Organization: The ability to develop and maintain systems for organizing information and activities.
  • Community-service Orientation: Proven commitment to helping or serving others.
  • Commitment to Learning: Demonstrated pattern of activities which contribute to personal and professional growth.
  • Organizational Awareness: Understanding of the dynamics of organizations, including the formal and informal cultures and decision making processes.
  • Developing Others: Commitment to helping others improve their skills.

Essential Competencies Interview or ECI Interview

These are knowledge, skills and abilities which are being assessed during the entire selection process, which must be demonstrated to be considered for the position of police officer with any police service that follows the OACP best hiring practices.  The ECI Interview generally takes 2-3 hours, and is conducted by two interviewers. The ECI interview requires you, as the applicant, to provide examples from your recent past (within past two years) that relate to the core essential competencies of a police officer.

  • Analytical Thinking: The ability to analyze situations and events in a logical way, and to organize the parts of a problem in a systematic way.
  • Self Confidence: A belief in your own abilities and judgments, and a recognition of personal limitations and development needs.
  • Communication: The ability to demonstrate effective listening, verbal and written communication skills.
  • Flexibility/Valuing Diversity: The ability to adapt your approach in a variety of situations, and to work effectively with a wide cross-section of the community representing diverse backgrounds, cultures and socio-economic circumstances.
  • Self-Control: The ability to keep your own emotions under control and to restrain negative actions when provoked or when working under stressful conditions.
  • Relationship Building: The ability to develop and maintain a network of contacts, both inside and outside the police service.
  • Achievement Orientation: The desire for continuous improvement in service or accomplishments.
  • Medical/Physical Skills and Abilities: Job-related medical/physical skills and abilities, including vision, hearing, motor skills, cardiovascular endurance and upper-body strength.

Psychological test and interview

The Police Psychological Interview consists of two parts.  The first part is where you sit at a computer and answer questions, in a Yes/No format.  There are two tests.  The first one is called the MMPI-2, some services will also ask for a suitability test to be conducted.  The final step will be an interview with a psychologist. 

MMPI-2 RF

The MMPI-2 is a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is intended to test for mental health or other clinical issues.  The test consists of 567 true and false test.  The MMPI-2 RF is designed with 10 clinical scales which assess 10 major categories of abnormal human behavior, and four validity scales, which assess the person’s general test-taking attitude and whether they answered the items on the test in a truthful and accurate manner.

An example of the types of questions asked:

  1. I like mechanics magazines
  2. I have a good appetite
  3. I wake up fresh & rested most mornings
  4. I think I would like the work of a librarian
  5. I am easily awakened by noise

Suitability Test 16PF

Some Services also administer a psychometric test.  A psychometric test assesses various personality traits in order to provide feedback about an individual’s disposition.  Personality characteristics have been linked to job performance and satisfaction within occupational roles by a number of psychological studies, suggesting that not only will some individuals perform at a higher level in a specific employment; they are also more likely to gain greater satisfaction and fulfillment from a job that is suited to their character.

An example of the types of questions asked:

  1. Do you like to talk to strangers?
  2. Do you consider yourself to be shy?
  3. Do you like parties?
  4. Do you feel bad about meeting new people?
  5. Do you easily get bored?

The psychological interview is done one on one with a psychologist.  The purpose is to review and provide more details regarding the test results.  Ensure you dress in business attire.

Both the MMPI-2 and the psychometric test are incredibly accurate.  Shockingly so.  They evaluate both the answers given to determine suitability, but they also measure honesty in your answers.  There is a built in scale that calculates if you were answering directly or if you held yourself out to be seen more favorably. Be Honest.

Panel Interview

The Chiefs Interview or Panel Interview is comprised of the Chief of Police, Senior Management, or members from several areas with in the police service.  The interview tends to be shorter than the other types of Interview you will have had previously, and focuses primarily on community policing values, and organizational benefits you offer.

It is imperative that you appear well dressed, groomed, and confident.  You have a smaller window of time to be able to impress.  The panel will be comprised of high-ranking police officers, they have had a career investigating.  They WILL KNOW if you are not being sincere, genuine, or if you are exaggerating or being deceitful.  They also expect that you will be nervous.  Speak from the heart, & show your passion.