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How much information to volunteer in an interview (current employment question)

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  • How much information to volunteer in an interview (current employment question)

    Ok, I don't intend to go into too much detail about my current situation, so I'll try to keep it general.

    I'm currently a sergeant and "over the hump" in my LE career. In the past 1-2 years, things have gone downhill at my PD and I'm looking to move on. I have an interview coming up and I'm trying to figure out exactly how to deal with the inevitable "why are you leaving your current department?" question.

    So, here's the deal. I have some very serious concerns regarding my current administration, specifically when it comes to ethics, morals, and honesty. There was an outside criminal investigation involving the higher-ups and I was one of the officers who gave info to the investigators. For whatever reason, nothing came of the investigation and the people involved remain in power. Needless to say, I'm not getting invited to any of their BBQ's at this point and there is now a very large bullseye on my back (no regrets on doing what I did...I believed then and still believe it was the right thing to do and I had a moral and legal duty to report it).

    The question is, how do I explain any of this to another department during an interview? Normally, I would go with the age-old advice of sticking with some form of "looking for better opportunities" and never bad-mouth an employer, but I have every reason to believe that my current administration will chop me off at the knees during a background investigation (they have already done so with another officer involved in the same investigation who applied elsewhere). Do I try to get out in front of any possible bad reference and give the interviewers a general explanation, keeping to the ethical high-ground? Or, do I not mention it and roll the dice, hoping my current bosses will just shut up with the hopes of moving me along (and, knowing the administration as I do, I see this as a significant gamble)?

    Any advice is appreciated on this one.
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

  • #2
    It's a bit of a pickle, but having been there, I offer this:

    If you say "personal and professional advancement", that would not be inaccurate, would it?

    Be wary of going too deep into the weeds re: you're looking to jump ship because of the skeevy going-ons at your current employer, especially if no one was held accountable. I say this because LE institutions are inherently insular. Critics, even valid critics, are considered 'complainers', 'trouble makers', 'outsiders', etc. No hiring official wants to hear derogatory details about internal politics, management, lack of institutional integrity, or random gripes about your current job. What they want to hear is what you've accomplished, and what you can bring to the table.

    So if the opportunity presents itself to leave cleanly, do so, and don't look in the rear view mirror the last time you pull out the employee parking lot.

    If they inquire further, and probe for details, lay out what you wish, but be aware doing such could boomerang back at you. Especially if you don't get the new position.

    As far as 'beating them to the punch'- it's a gamble, but assuming they will kneecap you may be putting the cart before the horse. If they say good things, you're able to leave cleanly. If they do slam you, then you'll have the opportunity to explain your side of the situation. Why complicate things if there's a possibility of avoiding such situation??


    Good luck.

    To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.

    -Elbert Hubbard

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    • #3
      Take the high road. If you start throwing mud, even politely, it will make you look bad. Not them. Resist the urge to let them have it.

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      • #4
        I agree with BOTH of the above advice..............................

        Remember that the LE community is quite small...................chances are the command staff at your prospective agency knows SOMEONE in your current agency (or a near by one ) and will be able to get the info on you using the back channels.........
        They also will be able to back channel any info on that current agency......


        You have somewhat of a built in safeguard in that you are "over the hump" in your career............Just saying you are stagnant and need to look at a new perspective, or a new challenge that you can't get at your current agency would be the truth..............AND you could skip the drama about the current agency.


        If you really think they will kneecap you....................that means to me that you probably are already considered a "trouble maker" at the current place and the above reason can also be used to explain why you are wanting to leave that type of environment . You can use the new challenge / stagnate place that you just are not comfortable with anymore

        BURNOUT happens in a career at the 5,7,12 and surprisenely 22 or so years...................lots of people leave agencies in those time frames
        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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        • #5
          Thanks for the advice. I took the high road and made no mention of my employer's "indiscretions" during the interview. Now, assuming they liked me enough, I can only hope that I don't get kneecapped during the background.
          "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
          -Friedrich Nietzsche

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          • Sincity
            Sincity commented
            Editing a comment
            what was the outcome. Did you get the job? Did they kneecap?

        • #6
          Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
          Thanks for the advice. I took the high road and made no mention of my employer's "indiscretions" during the interview. Now, assuming they liked me enough, I can only hope that I don't get kneecapped during the background.
          You have been around long enough that you know the BI's are normally pretty adept at sifting through the BS
          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

          Comment

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