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Struggled with Panel Interview...thoughts?


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  • Struggled with Panel Interview...thoughts?

    So I was all ready to walk in there and steal the show. The moment I walked through the door, everything changed. I had a mild panic attack and became pretty nervous. I was a little shakey and let the staff know that this was my first panel interview.

    They asked about my work history and I explained that I was recently laid off from my last job and I was really interested in law enforcement. I explained that getting laid off was what finally gave me the kick in the butt to move ahead and make it a reality. They took that answer as if I just over night grew a wild hair and wanted to try LE. I explained later that I was also out of shape and wanted to make sure I could pass all of the physical elements for the agility/swim tests. (I passed all of them btw, with a score of 90% on the CJBAT)

    They asked what my strengths are, and I explained that I'm good at data entry, writing reports, good with computers and hardware. Unfortunately my nervousness made me forget all of my planned answers and I left it at that. Despite knowing first aid, cpr, having experience with guns, and wilderness survival.

    They gave me this scenario: a big guy comes up to you and you've go no where to go. He sees you and identifies you as a cop who arrested him and put him away for 5 years. he's very ticked off and is coming at you while you and your family are quietly eating at another table. What do you do?

    I thought for a second and said I'd have to stand up and defend myself, but I wouldn't want to get into a brawl in the middle of the eatery. I'd try to see if I could take it outside or something. They questioned me about this and I explained that I didn't want to give the department a bad name for flipping over tables and brawling with some thug. I also explained that I'd try to subdue him (thinking to myself that I'd do this to avoid injury to myself, him, and other patrons watching--but I never explained this).

    So now I'm wondering if they think i'm just a coward and don't want to fight/can't handle the world of law enforcement.

    they ask a few more questions like is LE black/white or Gray? I said gray because not everything is clear cut. If I pulled someone over for 5mph over the limit, perhaps they could deserve a break. Or if a man ran a redlight late at night and I pulled him over, should I issue him a ticket if his pregnant wife is huffing and puffing, about to give birth? I also said I'd have a hard time issuing my own mother a ticket. They left the conversation here. But I didn't have time to explain that the LAW is black and white (right or wrong) but officers are supposed to use discretion.

    They asked about my pot usage, and I explained I used twice. Once when I was in college and once in 8th grade. I explained the first occurance nothing happened and the 2nd one I actually halucenated. They were shocked by this, but I explained that I had too much and mixed it with a lot of alcohol and I was really really sick. Haven't tried it since. They seemed skeptical but I don't know what else I could have said. I was laying out dirty laundry.

    They asked if I've ever shot a weapon before and I listed several. They lightened up the mood and laughed and asked if I had a secret arsenal, to which I laughed and said no, a buddy of mine does. I've shot revolvers, glocks, SKS rifles, shotguns, paintballs, bb guns, 22's, etc.

    They also asked if I had applied to any other depts. I said yes and listed them. Then they asked me to rank them 1-3. I had told them that the one I'm sitting in is my first choice. It's the city I live in and care about the most. All of the depts I applied to are the most popular and are harder to get into. I mentioned the benefits and stayed away from talking about pay. The conversation progressed and I didn't have a chance to rank the other two. I don't know if they think that I neglected that aspect of the conversation or just moved it along without caring.

    They asked a few more questions and then asked me if I had any. I explained I have done quite a bit of research and feel this is the job for me. I want to make a career out of it and no one would police the city better/more thoroughly than someone who lived there and cares. I knew how many officers were in the dept and quoted it. I thanked them all for meeting with me and left.

    About half way through the interview I calmed down quite a bit. So I'm sure if i felt calm, they could see that I was. I don't know what the outcome will be. The HR lady said she'd call me in 1 week or mail me a letter to decline.

    I don't know what to expect at this point. Do a lot of interviewees get as nervous as I? Do they expect it? I didn't have perfect answers, and pretty much all of them I wish I could have rephrased differently. Unfortunately this was the first department that responded to my application and it was my number one pick. I wish I could have wasted my first attempt on a dept I was less interested in.

    Did I totally blow this? I'm totally off my rocker...it wouldn't be such a big deal but this is the department I'm MOST interested in.
    Last edited by Devilman02; 05-08-2009, 01:05 PM.

  • #2
    Yeah this sounds pretty typical of the oral board. Yes they know you are nervous, and you really didn't do as bad as you think you did I am betting. So try to relax and wait for them to respond. If you don't get this one just keep trying, there aren't many that have gotten the first place they applied to. Getting hired takes awhile. At least now you have one oral board under your belt and know what to expect in the next ones. Good Luck to you.


    • #3
      Just as an update. I received a rejection notice. Well, at least I learned a few valuable lessons.


      • #4
        Sometimes it is not the content, but the presentation of the message. Without being in the room with you, it is hard to say why you failed. It will not be your last rejection letter. It takes time to get hired and with the economy the way it is, it makes it even more difficult.


        • #5
          Thanks for posting your experience. While it is unfortunate that you were rejected, your experience will help others. I have my oral board interview next week, and this line of questioning will help me to further prepare.


          • #6
            i think nervousness can work in your favor as well though...last year, i tested with my number one choice of departments, and got called in for the interview. i had had previous LE experience, was a mature clean living member of this department's community, and thought i had it in the bag, and went in totally calm and just talked incessantly....and-BOMBED. i mean bombed....failed the oral, next.

            so, flash forward to a couple of months ago. same department, same process. one difference; this time i was nervous as hell. went in there and literally thought i was going to pass out....but i think it actually helped keep my answers short and to the point.

            Q: what do you think police officers do?

            A: "enforce the crimes code and the motor vehicle code; patrol a designated area looking for people or things that appear out of place; and assist their fellow officers and the public in any way necessary". period.

            when asked that question the first time, my answer got all deep, off topic, and long winded....so, i do think some measure of nerves can be healthy. at least they were for me. i scored much, much higher (60s to 90s) the second time and hope to start the academy in september.


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