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  • How do I make myself a more impressive candidate.

    I failed my poly yesterday despite telling the entire truth on both the questionnaire as well as the questions during the exam. I was heartbroken and almost wanted to give up on my dream of being a police officer. After some reflection however I still want this. I really do. But it has been 3 years and I still have not been hired. I hear from many of you that it can take sometime and most departments rarely hire applicants at 21-22 (started applying 22) and are more so looking for people in the mid to late twenties (just turned 25.) Some background. The 1st year I didn't pass any oral boards or get called in for any interviews either. Second year I started passing some but not got the call before my time on the eligibility list expired. Now I have passed all 3 this year (waiting list on 2) and did the poly with one 2 days ago and failed. I haven gotten better an my interview techniques. I am just curious to ask you all, especially Iowa #1603 how can I improve myself as a candidate to increase my chances? I have a degree in criminal justice. I speak English and Spanish Fluently. CPR first aide certified. Currently have a job working security at a school where I work with the school resource officer on security matters in the school. However, I know now that probably isn't enough. I really want this and any constructive criticism as well as advice would be deeply appreciated. I reside in South Florida and I know some advised to relocate to other states where Spanish speakers aren't as common to increase my odds. Thoughts on this and if so which states/departments would you recommend. What other jobs should I look at to gain more experience? I am also curious since I failed a polygraph with one department and a psych exam with another will I be seen as "untouchable?" I didn't lie on my poly and as for the psych I messed up and did try to pass myself off as someone with no flaws which I know now was stupid. Thanking you in advance to anyone who can offer any guidance and help. Also thank you guys for what you are doing especially right now during these crazy times. Hope everyone is staying safe.

  • #2
    It's not a matter of making yourself look good, or as I call it, putting lipstick on a pig. The tests you take measure your ability to actually perform the duties of the job you are seeking. What it really comes down to is, you either have it within you to do the job or you don't. If, after three years you keep failing, you haven't reached that point in your life where you have the capacity and ability to take on this kind of responsibility. There is no shame in that, just as I lack the capacity and ability to perform a number of non-law enforcement jobs I would love to do. It is what it is. Time to move on for the moment and give it a few years before you try again.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • Iowa #1603
      Iowa #1603 commented
      Editing a comment
      ^^^^^^^
      This also is true

      Remember that the interviewers all have bias. Most of the time they are experienced officers before becoming supervisors THEN are usually experienced supervisors on top.

      They have seen a lot in regards to new staff and employee problems. If they see any HINT of potential problems they will think twice about recommending hiring


      Many yrs ago a partner and I were interviewing . We had a guy come in who was late 20's, three piece suit, currently employed in real estate, well educated etc.

      On paper he was an excellent prospect. We asked the interview questions for that series and asked him to step out so we could tabulate our scores.

      The hair on the back of my neck was standing straight up. No real reason but something wasn't' wright My partner agreed but didn't have a strong a reaction as I did

      We scored him in such a manner that we had no recommendation on hiring (recommend, not recommend or no recommendation were the choices) After review the boss took our advice and did not hire him.

      About 6 weeks later I was watching the noon news and saw an article about the Iowa DNR & Federal Fish and Game officers raiding his farm & charging him with multiple counts of the endangered species act
      Last edited by Iowa #1603; 09-05-2020, 01:07 PM.

    • Levithane
      Levithane commented
      Editing a comment
      Iowa #1603, Im using myself as an example. But there was a time or two where it felt like there was just tension in the room when I was being panel interviewed (IE getting the unemotional stare down by X ranking official). I had 2 successful ones this year 1 was in person, the other was over the phone (phone one was for my current agency). The first one I got along really well with the people on the people while answering the questions and passed, 2nd one I didn't think I did particularly well over the phone because I got notified last minute to do it but got the job.

      Probably a bad question to ask, but when you guys look at their paperwork do think ahead of time you're going to pass them unless they bomb the interview?

    • L-1
      L-1 commented
      Editing a comment
      If there's something glaring on the paperwork you may look and wonder WTF???? but it's still up to the candidate. Some interviewers have odd techniques. I've seen a couple who will ask a question and once it's answered will just stare at the candidate, seeing if they can stress him into saying more than he needs to and make him babble on. Others will play bad cop to see if an applicant has a temper. I've also see applicants smile back at panel members who do that an respond, "Look, no matter how hard you try, you're not going to get me to lose my temper so let's move on."

    • Iowa #1603
      Iowa #1603 commented
      Editing a comment
      If they have made it to our interview the paperwork is already good. Therefore the interview is theirs to bomb

  • #3
    Originally posted by L-1 View Post
    It's not a matter of making yourself look good, or as I call it, putting lipstick on a pig. The tests you take measure your ability to actually perform the duties of the job you are seeking. What it really comes down to is, you either have it within you to do the job or you don't. If, after three years you keep failing, you haven't reached that point in your life where you have the capacity and ability to take on this kind of responsibility. There is no shame in that, just as I lack the capacity and ability to perform a number of non-law enforcement jobs I would love to do. It is what it is. Time to move on for the moment and give it a few years before you try again.
    READ this several times
    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


    • #4
      You know, i probably could have explained it better with an example. Many years ago there was an individual who wanted to come to work for us. I didn't know him but the officers in my agency did, and advised that he was very unqualified for the job. He applied many times but never got past the oral.

      One day, several officers and myself were at the scene of a minor hazmat event which was next to this individual's place of employment. Upon seeing us, the individual approached at a rapid and aggressive pace. He had no idea as to why were were there or what we were doing, nonetheless and without saying hello or inquiring as to the situation, he immediately began to challenge us, criticizing our actions and utilization of resources.

      In the first 10 seconds of contact with him it became clear he lacked the simple basic abilities to observe, assess, investigate, react and then interact with others in a reasonable manner that does bring discredit on one's employer. It was then that I fully appreciated the assessment of this individual my officers previously had made of him.

      To the OP - These skills and abilities are not something one acquires in the academy, or through reading a book, or earning a certificate. They are developed through time, maturity, intelligence and life experience. If you are repeatedly failing, its because your are not demonstrating these types of traits. You just need time.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #5
        You score well on the test, and you score well in the interview. Some people don't interview particularly well, and some people don't have any business in LE. The "make yourself look better" part only counts when trying to figure out which one of the highly qualified people we want to hire. Extra "stuff" doesn't move you up the list, it is used to differentiate between candidates who are already at the top of the list.

        So, you have a college degree, you speak fluent Spanish and you can't get hired. Add to that a failed poly and a failed psych, and chances are pretty high that you have chosen the wrong line of work.
        Last edited by just joe; 09-05-2020, 07:34 PM.

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          You know, i probably could have explained it better with an example. Many years ago there was an individual who wanted to come to work for us. I didn't know him but the officers in my agency did, and advised that he was very unqualified for the job. He applied many times but never got past the oral.

          One day, several officers and myself were at the scene of a minor hazmat event which was next to this individual's place of employment. Upon seeing us, the individual approached at a rapid and aggressive pace. He had no idea as to why were were there or what we were doing, nonetheless and without saying hello or inquiring as to the situation, he immediately began to challenge us, criticizing our actions and utilization of resources.

          In the first 10 seconds of contact with him it became clear he lacked the simple basic abilities to observe, assess, investigate, react and then interact with others in a reasonable manner that does bring discredit on one's employer. It was then that I fully appreciated the assessment of this individual my officers previously had made of him.

          To the OP - These skills and abilities are not something one acquires in the academy, or through reading a book, or earning a certificate. They are developed through time, maturity, intelligence and life experience. If you are repeatedly failing, its because your are not demonstrating these types of traits. You just need time.
          Than what do you recommend I do in the mean time. Do I go back to school and get a degree in something else? Do I obtain a position that can help me gain that experience and if so what should that position be? I appreciate everyone's advice on this post but I just feel so lost/stuck in how to move forward from this.

          Comment


          • L-1
            L-1 commented
            Editing a comment
            There's an old saying - a man who carries a cat home by the tail is going to learn more in 30 seconds than if he spends years reading up on the subject.

            You're probably going to hate this, but think about putting some time in the military (not reserve, but full time). A few years of military service may instill values, abilities and experience you would not be able to obtain anywhere else.

          • sc0006
            sc0006 commented
            Editing a comment
            I actually don't hate that all. I have considered it before and am even strongly considering it even more now

          • darkhorse6
            darkhorse6 commented
            Editing a comment
            Go do great things in the military.

        • #7

          Originally posted by sc0006 View Post

          Than what do you recommend I do in the mean time. Do I go back to school and get a degree in something else? Do I obtain a position that can help me gain that experience and if so what should that position be? I appreciate everyone's advice on this post but I just feel so lost/stuck in how to move forward from this.
          What makes you think ANOTHER degree would make any difference.

          You tell US what position would help..................We normally call it LIFE EXPERIENCE and you get that mostly with age.

          Some people NEVER get it



          Originally posted by just joe View Post
          You score well on the test, and you score well in the interview. Some people don't interview particularly well, and some people don't have any business in LE. The "make yourself look better" part only counts when trying to figure out which one of the highly qualified people we want to hire. Extra "stuff" doesn't move you up the list, it is used to differentiate between candidates who are already at the top of the list.

          So, you have a college degree, you speak fluent Spanish and you can't get hired. Add to that a failed poly and a failed psych, and chances are pretty high that you have chosen the wrong line of work.
          Read this post & think hard about what Just Joe has to say

          How many times to you feel comfortable hitting your head against a concrete block wall ?
          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


          • #8
            If someone is not passing or scoring high enough on the written tests, I'd give them various recommendations regarding study guides, etc. I've worked with more than a few excellent officers who were very poor test-takers, so I know that a written test is not always a good indicator of LE aptitude.

            If someone is repeatedly not making it past oral interviews, I'd look at their issues a little closer. Not passing oral interviews doesn't necessarily mean that someone isn't a good LE candidate (sometimes they're simply out-interviewed by a better candidate, they don't fit the "culture" of that particular department, or they just have a bad day) but, as Iowa noted, sometimes interviewers cut applicants for very good reasons.

            Now, if someone is repeatedly getting cut from consideration later in the process...particularly during stages where the department is investing larger and larger sums of money in the process (specifically the background, poly, and psych)...then something is flagging that multiple departments are seeing that's preventing the person from being hired. Departments don't move candidates into stages where they spend money on them with the intent of cutting them (that simply isn't how government finances work) so something much be popping up that is legitimately cutting the candidate from consideration.

            Considering you're being dropped at various points in the process, including from both the psych and poly, you seem to be falling into this third category. Obviously, nobody on an internet message board is going to be able to tell you what that "something" is, but something is being picked up on about you by multiple hiring authorities. It may be time to step back and take a serious and unbiased review of yourself and your LE aspirations. No one on here is going to be able to do this for you because we don't know you, your personality, or your background. Doing such a review means SERIOUSLY considering whether LE simply isn't in the cards for you. As has been said by several other posters, not everyone is destined to be a LEO...as with any profession, this one plays to particular strengths that perhaps you just don't naturally have (this shouldn't be considered a failure, per se, but more of a "square peg in a round hole" issue...I've seen many people get hired as LEO's who quit or fail early on because they discover this after they've made it through the hiring process).
            "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

            Comment


            • #9
              My response to all of this, for what it's worth: I am on the job in NY state. I have tried for 3 different agencies and failed/did not do well on a polygraph for all 3 (1 of them pushed me through after not doing well) and only got an opportunity to take a psych test for 1 of them and was denied a position because of it. I did not have to take a polygraph in NY but did take a psych test for my current job and did fine. I also took a psych test for Broward County in 2016 before getting on the job in NY (my home state) and did not "pass" it then either. No agency seems to want to provide further insight on the "failure". I am somewhat hesitant to continue applying to other agencies since it is a big commitment to continue paying for flights, Airbnb reservations, rental cars etc. to not even get a chance to interview and show departments what I have to bring to the table. I know that no one knows me from the next applicant, but I literally have had the most boring upbringing with nothing in my background to disqualify and I am currently the most proactive officer in my department with no issues either. I totally agree with the OP trying to figure all of this out, especially in the times of policing in 2020.

              Comment

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