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  • Oral Review Board Tomorrow...

    Hello everyone! I don't post much on here, or much less frequent here that often, but wanted to share that I have yet another review board scheduled for tomorrow with a department in NC. This is not my first review board, and I wanted to get some advice from some of you on here as to what questions might be asked, and how I should answer them. I already have my idea of how to answer the questions, and I know that they are very truthful in how I would do/handle things. I want this job more than anything right now, and I would feel very let down if I did not get it. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    10 Tips for Mastering the Police Oral Board
    by Dr. Richard Weinblatt May 29, 2008

    Oral boards are the key to getting hired. As a police academy manager and former police chief, I have seen countless applicants bomb their oral hiring board when they were otherwise good candidates. Like many other things in life, proper preparation can make the difference. This article will suggest ten tips to increase your chances for success.

    1) Do your research. Study up on your target agency. In this age of the Internet, there is no excuse for walking into an agency without an intimate knowledge of its statistics and key personnel. Some items to glean off of the department and larger governmental entity (city, county, or state – not to mention airport, college, harbor, school district or other setting) websites are: population policed, agency chief executive (usually the elected sheriff or chief), divisions, number of law enforcers, square miles of the jurisdiction, policing philosophy, and mission statement.

    2) Be early. As the old saying goes: “early is on time and on time is late.” I had the time that the person arrived for their oral board noted and relayed to me. My thought, along with many other chiefs, was that if the person can’t make it on time (better yet early) for their interview when they should be on their best behavior, they certainly won’t have good time management skills down the road when they are hired and off of their probationary status.

    3) Check your appearance. Be sure that you are perceived as a professional. It should go without saying that all nose rings, tongue piercings, and earrings should be removed prior to coming into the area of the interview building. A dark suit with conservative tie and shirt is appropriate with men with similarly suitable business attire for women. Clothes should be cleaned and pressed. Oral board attendees should have their hygiene handled correctly. Special attention should be paid to nails and shoes.

    4) Use proper titles. Make sure that you use the right titles when speaking at the oral board. Don’t call a law enforcer an “officer” in a sheriff’s office and vice versa (in that case, it should be “deputy sheriff”). Know the rank insignia for your target agency and the corresponding titles that go with them.

    5) Know your elements. Some oral panels, particularly those that interview people who have already graduated from a basic law enforcement academy, quiz the applicant on elements of common crimes. Know your state’s criminal statutes and how they apply to situations. For example, you may be asked to define burglary or be presented with a situation, which comprise the legal components of burglary.

    6) Make eye contact. Whether each member of the panel asks questions or only a facilitator speaks for the group, be sure to make eye contact with each person in the room. In the law enforcement world, the eye contact conveys confidence and respect.

    7) Sound confident. Minimize the appearance of nervousness or a lack of confidence by practicing to avoid stuttering. Watch your self in a mirror. Better yet, hold your own mock oral panel and videotape yourself. When you watch the tape later, you will catch both good and bad things that you did realize you were doing. Remember, we are our own harshest critics.

    8) Avoid creating distractions. Distractions can come in the form of verbal cues (such as “um”, “ok”, and “see what I mean”) or they can be physical (such as tapping a ring on the metal part of the chair). When distractions crop up, they make you appear nervous and detract from the message that you are trying to impart.

    9) Plant your feet. Interview panel organizers frequently place the applicant in a swivel chair that also has the ability to recline. When you sit down, be sure to plant your feet and resist the inclination to swivel or rock in the chair. Most panel members perceive movement in the chair as indicators of nervousness.

    10) Shake hands. When an appropriate moment comes up, usually before exiting the interview room, stand up and walk over to each member of the panel. Address each by their rank or title and thank them individually for their time while shaking their hand.

    These ten tips address some of the more blatant ones problems I have observed while running oral panels. As an applicant, you are granted around twenty minutes to give the panel members a glimpse of who you as a person and they type of law enforcer you would be if employed by the hiring agency.

    Your first impression (commonly thought of as the first 15 seconds) as viewed by the panel members is crucial to the success of your oral board experience. Incorporate these ten tips as you thoroughly prepare for a pivotal, albeit brief, piece of the professional law enforcement officer application process.

    There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.


    • #3
      » police oral board questions

      There's no crystal ball to tell you what questions you'll be fielding in your interview, but many are classics that you'll have a 95% chance of facing—and with solid preparation you can ace every one.

      One quick thought: Remember the ride along with the officer? If you connected with him or her, did you think to ask them about their own interview? The officer will most likely give you some unique insights about the interview and what the department expects from good candidates. Nothing beats this kind of personal information.

      So, what kind of questions are 'classics'? I'm glad you asked:

      >>So, Tell us about yourself.

      This isn't a question at all—this is your second 'first impression'.

      If you did well with the initial meet at the opening of the interview, this is your chance to nail that great start firmly into place. And if you haven't prepared a rock-solid answer, you'll be in for a long, uphill battle for the rest of the interview.

      To set things straight, the interviewer does not want to know your favorite color, music or food groups. The interviewer wants to know about the "you" that wants to be on their police department. The professional you.

      Your answer must showcase the attributes you possess that relate to police work: your education and intelligence, your confident enthusiasm and dedication to goals, your perseverance and reliability.

      Keep your answer brief (90-120 seconds), well-defined (make your point and move on) and easy to follow (say it so they hear it, and remember it).

      Preparation Targets:

      Identify your strengths and create encapsulated descriptions of them.
      Identify two things you do well and define how they directly relate to police work.
      Identify your broadest knowledge base that applies to police work.
      Identify 2-3 achievements that exemplify dedication to duty, determination in the face of adversity and flexibility of attitude.

      Work your target preps into modules of information that will come naturally to you, and from you, as a relaxed, thoughtful response.

      In this case, and with all the interview questions, try to give your answers in essentially the same way—state your strengths first, follow up with specs that support your strength statements, show how your strengths relate to the position and department. Do not offer any negative, or unrelated, information in your answers.

      >>How would you see your future, say, 5 years from now?
      (Or: Where do you see your career going in the next 5 years?)

      In order to show that you have a life plan that extends beyond your interview, you need to have an answer to this question that leaves no shadow of doubt as to your commitment to your new, hoped-for profession and the department that would give you your start as an officer.

      Your answer needs to be succinct and address your anticipation of professional growth through your continued pursuit of escalated responsibilities and your successful achievements within those expanded duties. You foresee your future as a solid rise to more responsibility by accepting responsibilities and performing beyond expectations.

      Preparation Targets:

      Identify anticipated department needs and tailor your response on your future to realistically mirror promotional opportunities. Keep in mind that 'lateral' moves within a department can also be viewed as taking initiative to learn diversity of skill sets.

      Be sincere, show respect for the profession and don't make light of your potential or your desire to be a well-rounded, highly skilled police officer.

      >>What do you feel are your greatest strengths?

      This question, or one very close to it, will undoubtedly be asked in your interview and is your second opportunity to drive home the impression you made in the first question—if it was positive. If you thought you didn't do so well, then this question is your chance for a reprieve.

      If your answer will cement the great first and second impression you made, then take this opportunity to drive home your best attribute wrapped securely in the one thing you do that's the core of your confidence.

      Draw a direct line between your best, and the position, and department by focusing on the benefits your best will bring to both. This is not a time to brag or grandstand, but rather a time to make the most of an opportunity to show exemplary character and re-state your relative qualifications.

      Preparation Targets:

      Choose 2 assets that best showcase your inherent abilities for police work.
      Choose the one thing you do best and create statements that tie what you do to your best assets and then tie both to reasons the combination will benefit the department and prove your natural aptitude for the position.

      Again, use the formula of information presentation: state your strength clearly, give solid support data that ties your strength to police work. Do well on this one and you'll be on third base, heading for home and a great score.

      >>What do feel are your greatest weaknesses?

      This is usually the toughest question for any candidate to do well on. Handle this one poorly and the interviewers will fill in negative blanks you never knew existed.

      First of all, this isn't about whether you bite your nails or 'must have' one of the hundreds of food treats that are bad for you. This isn't about weakness either. To handle this question strongly, treat it as you would your assets. What trait or attribute do you possess that you feel hasn't realized full positive potential? What behaviors of yours might, or have in the past, clashed with smooth performance?

      These will be simple things. Don't look for complex 'problems'. Look for personality quirks that are translated into actions that might affect you in police work.

      An example could be that you tend to be impatient. This could mean that sometimes you rush things, don't give situations and people time to fully develop, or cause you to make judgments quickly that later require adjustments when added information is available.

      Impatience is a simple negative and a minor weakness, but in this case is a valid, honest weakness that can be presented in your answer and not hurt you. This can be accomplished by stating simply that you feel you are impatient sometimes, with people who may not seem to have strong commitments and values backing their actions, and with the situations that can result. You do not dwell on this, but immediately move to strong statements of how your awareness of this 'weakness' has led you to make changes in how you approach other people and events. Examples of changes could be that you've learned to not be directly critical, but to give constructive criticism that allows others the chance to see your idea and not your emotion. You could note that you're harder on yourself than anyone else, and have worked towards using tolerance as a balance in your life.

      Your answer should show that you're aware of your 'weakness' and that you've made specific efforts to improve it and make yourself a more balanced, productive individual.

      Do not apologize for your stated weakness. Do not over-explain or dwell on it. State it, show your improvement efforts, add a qualifying statement if possible (i.e. impatient/demanding = high standards) and close the answer with confident body language.

      Sometimes the easiest way to figure out a weakness you can use is to think about comments from your family when you were a kid. Were you the 'bull-headed' (stubborn) one? Were you unable to 'find your head if it wasn't screwed on" (disorganized)? Or were you the one with your "head in the clouds" (highly imaginative)? These are all inherent personality traits and are how you view the world, and they can all be presented just like impatience in the example above.

      Preparation Targets:

      Identify a 'weakness' trait you believe in and can present with conviction.
      Write out the first sentence of your answer that states your weakness and makes the transition to your improvement efforts. Practice this sentence until it pops out naturally, as though you and the weakness are old pals and 'controlling' it is a tried and true process—second nature to you.
      Identify positive extensions of your weakness that relate directly to police work.

      This question, as with all the rest, should be taken by the throat and put squarely in perspective of the circumstances. Do not hesitate in your answer. Do not avoid the question. Do not make a self-deprecating remark, or state you have no weaknesses, for 'humor'—it will only be seen as evasiveness. And most of all, Do Not make a pat declaration of a weakness that will knock you out of the selection process.

      Show the interviewer that you know yourself, good and 'bad', and that you strive continually to improve, grow and bring your best to everything you do.

      >>What makes you the best person for this job?

      This is the 'why do you want to be a police officer' question—and your chance to make your case for you, the best candidate they'll meet.

      Your preparation for this question should begin by identifying when you decided police work was your dream, and what created that desire. Your opening sentence should define that dream, when it happened and why.

      "I always wanted to be a police officer, my dad and his dad were officers and I've always wanted to follow in their footsteps."

      No matter what your reasons, make them rock solid in your mind and heart, so when you begin your answer your passion for the choice is clear.

      From there show the interviewer what you've done to prepare yourself for becoming an officer. This can be done by noting specific job-related events—schooling, security jobs, volunteer work with a police department—or by noting elements of certain jobs that relate to police work and how your interest in these elements reaffirmed your decision to pursue a career in law enforcement. This last part can take some thought, but is worth it. You want to convince the interviewer that a career as a police officer is a goal you are committed to at every level of your beliefs.

      Preparation Targets:

      Identify your 'moment of decision' for becoming an officer.
      Identify the things that concretely affirm this decision-job and life experiences, mentors, etc.
      Track your affirmations and create that journey in 2-3 sentences.
      Identify skills that enhance you as a candidate: computer literacy, CPR and first aid training, fluency in a second language.
      Roll everything into a concisely presented, brief paragraph.

      Believe everything you say. The honest conviction behind your answer will come through and make a tremendous impression with the interviewer.

      >>What can you tell us about this position?

      This is where your research of the position and the department will make the difference. The answer seems obvious, rattle off the stated qualifications of the posted position. But if you do that, you'll miss a huge opportunity to impress the interviewer with your determination to know the entire picture.

      Present your research trail on discovering information on the position and the department. Stress that you wanted to know about the community this position would serve, so you extended your search to include the city website, a visit to city hall, etc. If you're already a resident of the area, use that fact to show that your personal history is tied to the community and serving it as an officer would be your honor.

      Preparation Targets:

      Research the position, the department, the community.
      Relate the position to interaction with the community and create a phrase you believe in that describes that interaction.
      Understand the departments' policing philosophy and include that in your answer.

      Show the interviewer that you were motivated enough to research the position and department—and that will show your appreciation of both.

      You will be asked many more questions, but you should be able to give confident, intelligent answers if you research, investigate and prepare.

      » police oral board 'what if' questions

      Police judgment questions, or situational questions, are a necessary evil you must face in the selection process of the oral board review. Once again, preparation is the key to success, but you also need to pack a healthy dose of common sense into every answer you give.

      Interviewers, and the departments they represent, are looking for candidates that can think on their feet, have well-developed decision-making formulas and genuine enthusiasm for police work. Situational questions allow a candidate to showcase all these elements in a way that reveals them as someone primed for a police career.

      >>To ticket, or not to ticket?

      Discretion is available to police officers to ticket traffic offenders, or to issue a warning only. Give me some examples where a warning would be appropriate, and explain why.

      A person suffering a health problem that makes it difficult for them to maintain control of their vehicle, or to lose control of their vehicle. The person is reacting to the immediate pain or confusion resulting from the health problem and is unable to respond appropriately to traffic rules, signals or signs.

      A person from another state fails to observe a no left turn sign, due to being unfamiliar with the area, or even turns onto a one-way street against traffic (but there is none to show the obvious fact of traveling in the wrong direction). The person may be lost, traveling under stress/tired or trying to follow directions instead of watching signs closely enough.

      A person is speeding within department policy tolerance, has no prior violations and admits being distracted by something that has just occurred—like finding a water leak upon coming home for lunch, or receiving tragic news, etc. The person is operating below their usual at that time, for a specific reason.

      In lieu of issuing a summons, a verbal warning is more likely to gain future voluntary compliance of the law.

      The guiding factor is common sense and the option to forgive the offense under the circumstances. Your answer can show that you are aware of special circumstances, of the need for humanity in decision-making and of opportunities for community service with compassion.

      >>Domestic disturbances

      You are responding with another officer to a report of loud noises and the sounds of arguing coming from a house. Both officers arrive, check in with dispatch and approach the house. What are the next actions to take?

      Look, listen and evaluate the scene.
      Approach the door to the house, listen for further signs of a disturbance.
      Step to the side of the door (officers have been shot through closed doors).
      Knock firmly, identify yourself as a police officer and state that the door needs to be opened.
      If sounds of a struggle—screaming, glass breaking, shouting—are heard a forced entry may be necessary to prevent injuries from occurring.
      If the door is answered, establish whether anyone is injured and call for medical backup if needed.
      Separate the involved parties, establish the mental state of each and check for weapons.
      Start working the call to determine the nature of the dispute, the level of threat, etc. and if the situation can be resolved, or if an arrest needs to be made to keep the peace.

      Domestic disputes are extremely unpredictable, often dangerous, calls. Weapons are often involved and either, or both, parties may be mentally disturbed, intoxicated or high—and always highly charged emotionally. Neighbors can also throw another dicey element into the mix.

      Again, in this response, common sense dictates actions. Avoid a train wreck: stop, look and listen, then take your safety and the safety of all involved parties into account before you act.

      >>Lights, Siren, Faster than a speeding bullet

      There is a need for an officer to respond as an emergency vehicle, lights and siren, and exceeding the speed limit. What type of situation would warrant this emergency response?

      Officer needs assistance radio call
      Armed robbery in progress/pursuit
      Multiple vehicle accident with fatalities, or serious injuries
      Attempting to stop a speeder or drunk driver

      Emergency response means a life-threatening situation—and common sense dictates that this means lights, siren and exceeding speed limits.

      >>Deadly Force

      Resisting arrest, a wanted traffic offender lunges at the arresting officer with a knife. Is the use of deadly force warranted?

      Yes, the suspect is using deadly force against the officer.

      Common sense dictates that the threat to an officers' life takes precedence over the original offense that initiated police response. Police common sense will further dictate that the threat of deadly force by an officer will be enough to gain control over a situation and secure officer safety.

      All 'What If' questions are designed not to test you on proper police procedure, since a candidate cannot possibly possess such knowledge. Instead, they are designed to show the interviewer your ability to place events in common sense perspective in order to act with reason and to not allow panic or emotion to pull your decision trigger.

      Use your ride along experience to good advantage here. Remember how the officer reacted to various situations and what precautions were taken to insure the safety of all concerned.

      Take a moment to consider the question, be sure you understand all the elements involved and be certain of what the interviewer is asking of you. Listen carefully. Do not assume you know what will be asked and tune out before the question is completed.

      You may want to re-state the question as part of your answer: "I believe an officer faced with deadly force from a resisting suspect would be warranted in responding with deadly force.", or, "I believe situations that would warrant an officer responding as an emergency vehicle, lights and siren and exceeding the speed limit would be…"
      This simple tactic cements the question in your mind and shows the interviewer that you were listening.

      Prepare for the What If segment of the oral board by:

      Doing a ride along with an officer, making notes, asking questions and keenly observing.
      Studying departmental policy, where possible, so your responses are more closely aligned with actual policy.
      Develop a formula, process, strategy—whatever you want to call it—to use as a way to consistently prioritize actions.
      Learn to identify the first common sense action in every situation.
      Practice your prioritizing formula with day to day situations until it becomes your second nature approach to evaluating events.

      You'll be nervous. You'll make mistakes. But if you show consistent common sense, concern for safety, a formula for decisions and a genuine enthusiasm for police work—you'll come out ahead of the pack.

      There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.


      • #4


        There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.


        • #5
          Thank you!


          • #6
            My Pleasure Good Luck

            There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.


            • #7
              A question that i had during my review board on Tuesday was "You are assisting another officer with drug and alcohol awareness with school children. Later that night, you and your wife are at a restaurant eating, and one of the kids that you were teaching earlier in the day comes up to you and sees you drinking a beer. What do you do?"

              What is the right answer to this question?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!


              • #8
                Offer him a glass. You don't want to be rude.


                • #9
                  Our informal policy on this forum is to not give answers to specific questions in an oral interview. Those questions are designed to elicit YOUR response so the administrators can evaluate your judgment.

                  The general rule of thumb concerning oral board situational questions is that while there is definitely a WRONG answer------------there are generally no "right" answers. In other words most answers CAN be correct as long as you can articulate the reasons WHY.
                  Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


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