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  • Flunked Seattle Board

    Hey all. So I've been going through several hiring processes FOR THE PAST YEAR in western Washington State. I have been gradually honing my technique and getting better with boards, passing several and scoring high as of late (unfortunately there are so many damn freezes right now that I can't buy an LEO job). I scored a 100% on my written exam, maxed my PT test, passed my background, but this morning's board was just friggin' weird.

    I go in and answer the questions asked, in the same manner I have answered for all my other oral boards (I ran out of time on one timed response). Mind you, I scored very well on my other boards with similar answers to similar questions. I finish and am told to wait 10 min while they computed my board score. I was in the waiting room for AN HOUR AND A HALF. They had 4 people taking boards that day waiting for them..... obviously they were taking WAY TOO LONG. The background detective who sat on the board comes out to speak to me and asks me how I think it went. Well, quite frankly, I though it went quite well, except for the one timed response that I fell short with.

    He proceeded to tell me that, essentially, I did a real ****ty job and that I'm not going to get hired. Then 'did (I) have any further questions'. He was taking notes at this time. Apparently, though, they can give absolutely NO FEEDBACK. I have come to the conclusion that these boards ARE extremely subjective and discretionary. I have learned how to determine whether or not they are writing down the criteria or comments and most of it was criteria (I've been to SO MANY OF THESE). Most of it was criteria and my process of the scenario-based questions.

    I really did a bang-up job of promoting volunteer work, education (undergrad and grad), military experience, honesty, integrity and loyalty to LEOs/public. Providing FUNCTIONAL/OPERATIONAL examples of why I would fit in/why I want to be a cop/the usual for these boards. I also embedded my responses to current police issues into some of my answers, got a lot of nods of agreement and a few smiles.

    But NO...."below average".... and they "can't tell me when, if ever" I will get a call to come back in to do my psych and then talk to the chief or an asst chief. "below average", by their definition, essentially means that you're not getting a call back.

    WTF am I missing here? There's something that I am not getting or leaving out....if you tell me there is a huge pool of applicants out there that score 95-100% in everything, I would LOVE to meet them... they must be friggin' water-walkers and fire-breathers. I'm starting to get a real bad attitude after a year of rejection, bottom line, but I play the game when I show up and I've been told that I have a good attitude for someone who's been waiting so damn long. I'm straight-up with people, direct, not over-bearing. I don't stutter or give unclear answers. I'm on the line now that I might as well give up, cause it ain't happenin'...

    Once again, if I were to give anyone any advice for life experience....go through a civil service process or two.... you're guaranteed to feel a whole range of emotions, PLENTY of frustration over denial, a little satisfaction when you have moved forward with ONE STAGE, and a whole lot of uncertainty and ambiguity during the waiting periods.

    I have worked my tail off all my life for what I have and this is like getting sh$t shoveled in my face. Why have I been doing it for a year? Why am I still doing it? Why am I going to continue doing it? BECAUSE I WANT TO BE A COP AND TAKE THE BAD GUYS OFF THE STREET.

    Oh yeah.... and I REALLY don't agree with having civilians (not in law enforcement) sitting on a board judging me. I am here to be judged BY COPS to get hired AS A COP...not some local community volunteer organizer or business owner or corporate officer. THAT is going to screw up the system.

    Well, all responses are greatly appreciated, guys. I am just getting soooo fed up and soooo frustrated. This is what I want to do. I have the tools. I've been told I have the tools. By the way, when I say "I have been told" by somebody, I am talking about other cops.

    Thanks for the sounding board.

  • #2
    Okay, don't mind listening at all. I'm going to throw some pretty general thoughts at you. Based on your post, you've passed a few boards already. That being the case, you can't be all that screwed up. There's no real scientific basis for this, but it's pretty true, that you can be a fit with one Department, go to another, and not be what they're looking for. Happens every day, and I suspect that's what happened to you. That's really just another way of saying, you probably didn't do all that bad. As you've noted, you've been doing this for a year or so, so you can bet you've honed your skills and gotten pretty good at the process. That proficiency is bound to pay some dividends, and I feel it's only a matter of time before you get hired. Civilians on Oral Boards? I personally share your views, but having those personnel on boards is a fairly common practice. All of this is pretty easy for me to say, and maybe a little harder for you to accept. That said, you're bound to score, and get hired. Matter of time really, so don't give up!!


    • #3
      Dont give up. It took me 13 months out of the academy to get hired. I tested with over 15 agencies in that time period. Unfortunately it just takes time. Your not the only one in that boat alot of my friends are in your position also. Yes it is frustrating and it sucks. The most frustrating thing is getting letters saying there are better qualified people. Not to sound cocky but with what I brought to the table and my references I highly doubt there were that many better than me. Everything happens for a reason though. I ended up landing my dream job and couldnt be happier. Stick with it you just need your break to come soon.


      • #4
        Looking for advice? Is there something you always wanted to ask a cop? Only LEOs should answer questions. Please see posting guidelines.
        Seriously, the only reason I wanted to be a cop was so I could post anywhere on this forum.


        • #5
          Have you considered that your answers are too prepared and are probably stale and unoriginal?

          I'm not accusing you or saying you did a bad job, but if you have been on a bunch of boards you may have fallen into giving the common and presumed to be expected answer.

          As for civilians sitting on you are clueless really you are. Who do you think you work for? Santa Clause?

          If John Q. Public likes you in an interview and doesn't think you are a total tool then they will like you and not think you are a total tool on the street. Remember as a cop you represent the community you work in and will be judged by them. And your assessments by the public will reflect how your depart will view you.

          Lastly the civilian on the board probably worked for the HR department of the city and have probably interviewed hundreds of applicants.
          Last edited by nonickname69; 10-09-2009, 02:41 PM.


          • #6
            Ok....I'm a WA state officer. Relatively new. Infact I was hired right in the middle of the economy dump. I took me a while to get hired. I don't know much yet in my short career, but I do know that test scores aren't everything, and sometimes things just don't work out. It took me 6 years, and I finally made it. You know how I feel I got hired? I was worn out, tired, and frankly gave it one last shot. I went in to all my testing and oral boards acting like myself, not giving cookie cutter answers and acting as if everyone in the room was joe shmo on the street. And believe it or not those civilians on the panel pick up on that because ultimately you work for THEM. I think that you will eventually make it if you just DON'T GIVE UP. I went from not even getting a bite to getting hired by two agencies at once. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to bounce back up...


            • #7
              Perhaps they just wanted to see your reaction. (unless of course you got an official notice handed to you at the same time.) I have never heard of a department saying at the boards "ok you did fine, we are going to hire you."


              • #8
                Take Phillips advice about the fit. Some departments have a set standard that they like to see in all of thier officers for a good working relationship and rapport. This stuff happens. I have passed oral boards one week, and failed the next. You didn't fail it though, they just had a better type of applicant in mind.


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