Author:

    Becker Wild ♦ August 25/19

Does the idea of apply to a police Service feel daunting or overwhelming?   Do you worry that you may not stand out from all the other applicants? Have you applied to a police Service, only to never get a call for an interview?
 
We get it.  I’m sure you will agree with me when I say ‘It’s hard!’  And even harder to get recognized for the hard work you have done to get ready for the Police Interview.

Now Imagine you could walk into any police test or interview and instantly connect with the police recruiter, and pass the police interview.  If every question you answered was exactly the right answer, delivered with perfection.  Yup, I’m about to tell you exactly how to accomplish this……

Imagine that at the end, you have transformed your self into the ideal applicant, and you have several police services all wanting to hire you.  How great would that be?
 
But right now, you feel that’s a whole world away, doesn’t it?  You are nervous even thinking about the police hiring process.  You keep checking your email and junk folder just hoping to hear back from one of the police services you had applied to.  And, the thought of a police interview leaves you speechless.
 
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.  Because in this article, I’m going to show you exactly how to overcome your nerves, tell you how to nail the police interview, and actually get hired by any police service YOU choose.
 
What You Will Learn

This article is super packed with tips – so you’ll probably need to come back to it a few times (that’s what the bookmark button is for, right?).

But here is a taste of what you’re going to learn over the next few thousand words:

  • How to create an amazing first impression just through your cover-letter
  • How prepare for the police interviews, and nail it
  • How to answer the police interviewer’s question, not just the question they asked, but the question they are REALLY asking.
  • How to show the police recruiter that you are the applicant they want to hire

Police Resume and Cover-Letters…
Are you pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down? 

 You might think getting a police service to see your application is hard.  But, the real trick is getting the recruiter to read you application.  
 And, without a great introduction, that’s never going to happen.  Why?
 
Because the introduction is what grabs the recruiter’s attention and makes them want to read the rest of your application.  Let me put it to you this way, in terms of what Police recruiters see. 
 
Imagine your looking for a new flashlight.  You turn to Google and punch in the words ‘best flashlight’.  You will be presented with thousands of pages talking about flashlights. 
 
Your intention here is to find out what the best flashlight is, but because your search was so generic, you received back everything that has ‘flashlight’.  You would never have time, or the interest, to read through each full article in order to decide if it’s the right fit for you.  Right?
 
Well, that’s exactly what the police recruiters face when hiring.  Piles of Police application are sent to the Police recruiters to look through, every day!  So how do you know that your application won’t become, well….. just one more in the stack?

Unless your police application tells the recruiter exactly what they need to know, and quickly, your application just becomes the bottom of the stack.  Recruiters are looking for an application that resonates with them. 

You may not be the supper start that others are, but if you can quickly answer their questions in the first few lines, and hit an emotional chord with them, you stand a far better chance on being selected for the interview. 
 
So how do I sell myself, on paper, in just a few lines?

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Do you know what’s amazing about human psychology?  It’s that we always want to see a complete picture.  Because no matter the number of applications they read, their subconscious desires to seek out and find the answers… or the best (full picture) applicant. 
 
This is such a simple step, yet so many people over look it.  
 
Wrap it up quickly.  Tell the recruiter, who you are, what you have done, why you are ready to work as a police officer, and ensure you mention what unique skills you offer the police service. 
 
Why would you expect them to search through your resume to see if you check all the boxes before they decide if they even want to call you in for the first interview?  Make it easy to like you! 
 
Before we are done here today, make sure you click here, and download your free resume and cover-letter templates.  We have made it easy for you to stand out from the rest of the stack!

Hey let’s face it, The Local Focus Interview, the Essential Competency Interview and the Panel Interviews are all designed to fail people, not pass them. 
 
The police recruiting process are less about recruiting and more about selecting.  After all, that why they call it the Constable Selection System.  So would it be fair to say that with the selection system, they are not selecting the best candidates, they simply wait to see who is left standing?
 
Ok, so how do you nail a police interview? 
 
Every question, and I mean every question, wants to reduce the chances of liability to the police service later in an officers career.  If a police service hires ‘a bad applicant’, it is going to cost the service $100,000 per year, for the next 30 years.  So yah, the interviews are hard. 
 
I have recently heard some pass/fail numbers for major police services in Ontario.  The numbers don’t lie.  Here is what they say: 

  • Out of 100 people who applied to the police service, 35 were brought into the local focus/developmental interview.  That means 65 people didn’t even make it past the application!
  • Out of the same 100 people, only 17 were brought into the Essential Competency interview. 
  • Of the same original 100 people, only 4 people were offered jobs. 
  • Yup, for those of you still thinking “it’s just a matter of time before I get hired” the police interview process has an overall 96% un-successful rate. 

So what do I have to do to nail the interview?  Easy. Just answer the question that they did not ask.  See that wasn’t so hard.

It comes down to how you prepare for the interview.  Each interview requires a specific kind of answer.  So to start, the local focus, or developmental interview, the main goals are very simple. 
 
The Developmental interview is asking you to tell the recruiter what you have done to better yourself, what you have done to learn about policing as a job, what role do you have in giving back to your community, what you know about the police service you have applied to, and why you are a better applicant from all others.  The interview will also ask hypothetical questions, looking to see how in the future you would react to a situation.

The questions will be focused on areas such as Information Seeking, Concern for Safety, Assertiveness, Initiative, Cooperation, Work Organization, Community Service Orientation, Commitment to Learning, Organizational Awareness, and Developing others.
 
The Essential Competency Interview is looking for something more, but different.  This interview is asking for specific examples of what you have done in the recent past.  If you go to the ATS Testing website, you will see they have even listed what the Police Essential Competencies are for you to study.
 
I know you don’t want to tear yourself away from this article, just to visit another site, so I’ll attach the competencies here… Analytical Thinking, Self-Confidence, Communication, Flexibility, Valuing Diversity, Self-Control, Relationship Building, Achievement Orientation, Physical Skills and Abilities.
 
The Essential Competency Interview needs for you to find a time in your past where items from the above list were present.  So “tell me of a time you had to build a relationship in order to accomplish a job”.  What would you say?
 
Some might jump in thinking the recruiter wants to hear all about the amazing group project they came up with, where they were the bold, strong leader, and tasked people with odd jobs, and discovered a new way to purify water for less than $1 a day.  Nope.  That’s not it at all.
 
See, this is why people fail.  They fail to see the forest…through the thieves.  Ok, bad joke.

Learn more about each
stage of the interview process

See Interviews

If your own example did not involve- how you grew as a person, perhaps being shy, and learned to come out of yourself and push through your own inner boundaries ….well, if you didn’t say that sort of thing…fail. 
 
For each competency you will want to think of at least two examples.  And seriously, use the STAR method of interviewing when you get into the interview room with the recruiter.  The STAR method will absolutely make sure you give full answers.  Ok, here is a link to see more about the STAR Interview method… check it out later.

Create a Connection….

You have submitted an amazing application, you look great on paper and the recruiter is excited to meet you.  Hold it together, you only have to get through this without showing any human side of you right?  That’s what the public want from their Police is a Robot Cop isn’t it?  No.
 
At the same time as being professional, be personal.  Know how to relax and laugh a bit.  The recruiter knows you’re nervous… everyone is before an interrogation… I mean an interview.  Don’t offer them that you are nervous. No matter how you try to sell it, it sounds like an excuse is brewing. 
 
If they ask if you are nervous, just say, ‘yes, I am, but nervous can be a good thing right? It means I care about how this interview will go”. 
 
Depending on the Service you apply to, depending on the individual recruiter you speak with, you will absolutely have different connections with people.  Some you will feel welcome and relaxed, while others will leave you feeling isolated, and disapproved by.

Do not let this influence how you present yourself.  Keep in mind, A recruiter who seems sour or hard to get along with may just be playing the role to see how you will respond, or the recruiter who is very friendly may also be looking to see if you let your guard down too far and act immature. 
 
So how to I make sure I connect in a way they will remember me?
 
For some recruiters, they will interview a couple people a day, and for as much as we all want to think we are ‘special’, (just like mom told us we are), by the end of the week, all the applicants the police recruiter has met will have somehow merged into one large indiscernible applicant file.  
 
There are a few things you can do in order that they remember your name and face.  To start-Smile.  Yah it’s so simple.  But smile with your eyes, you know what I mean.  We have all met the guy who fake smiles… yah don’t be that guy.  Mean it when you smile.
 
Smiling generally comes off like your happy. From a policing stand point, the recruiter does not want to hire someone who can’t be happy.  Police want to work with happy people.  Happy people tend to work harder, do not call in sick as much, and can be fun to work with. 
 
Keep in mind.  The recruiter also knows that the person they hire could easily be a zone partner, so they want to hire someone who is very much like themselves!

Long after they have forgotten what you said, they will remember how you made them feel

Use the appropriate amount of eye contact.  Not enough and you come off like your hiding something, too much and that’s just creepy. 
 
Watch your body language.  Let’s look at a mechanic’s job for a moment.  Mechanics know how to change a tire, heck, most can do it blindfolded.  It’s because they have been trained well, and do it so often they become an expert at it.   Police officers are trained to detect deceit, and because they do it all the time, they are pretty good at it.   Last thing you want is your body language giving the wrong message.
 
Mirror the recruiter’s position…when it’s appropriate.  Hey, people like people who are similar to them, so if they have their hands cupped together on the table, perhaps you should to.  If they lean back in their chair then perhaps you can to.  BUT be sure not to get caught copying them, that will just come off in a way that you do not want. 
 
Ease up on the hand shake!  It should be solid, but not firm.  Let the recruiter feel dominate.  Use open body language, don’t cross your arms.  Ask them about themselves!  Find a single subject they talk about themselves and you have some knowledge about and get them talking, it’s a bonding moment.  If you don’t have anything in common, Drop it.

Police Interviews are  like a road map.  It takes the applicant down a road of questioning that explores how the applicant has developed themselves. 

Look at it this way, you are selling yourself, and in the same, the police service is looking to see if you’re the investment they want to make.

cartoon map of police hire process

The worst thing, even beyond failing an interview is coming off shady, or like you are manipulative and hiding something.  Most people fail an interview, so its normal.  But coming off creepy and like your hiding something is enough to ensure you are not going any further in the process.
 
At the end of the interview, make sure you have a real question, based on the police service.  Don’t ask, when will I hear back, or how many are you hiring.  Those are you based questions.  Ask something about the Service or the interviewer.  “I noticed on the way in that there was a picture of you with the chief in the hallway, can you tell me if he is just as personable as they look in the photo?”
 
Final Tip-
Ignore your parent’s meal-time advice

Did your parents ever tell you to save the best for last? Well they were wrong.  You obviously are dedicated, and actually want to get hired as a Police Officer; obviously, I know this because you have read this article through to this point.  Many others glazed through, but not you.
 
Ok, so when it comes to it, and you apply, make sure you give up all the great stuff about you at the beginning! Both on paper, and in the interviews! Show your desire to be in policing, and be passionate.
 
After all, there is nothing worse than giving someone a gift only to have them hardly react.  Smile, laugh, complement the recruiter, engage with the secretary at the front desk, and thank the interviewer for the opportunity! (yes, I’m saying the recruiter has given you a gift, the gift of an interview.  Most people don’t get this!)  And…. Remember their name so you can address them properly by rank and name on the way out!  Then two days later, follow up with a thank you email.
 
Can I ask you for a favor? Please  Share this with someone who you feel would also like to know how to get hired in Policing.  Sharing is caring!