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  • Interesting Interview Questions...

    I was asked the following a few weeks ago, and wanted to get some feedback on the questions...

    1. How would you describe Timothy Mcvey, what about people who consider him a Freedom Fighter.

    2. Your Lt. orders you to ticket a line of cars parked on main st., you see a fellow officers car in the middle of two other cars you are ticketing, do you give hime a ticket? What if you had to go to dinner with him after that shift?

    3. You are on a traffic detail and you stop a motorist for a minor moving violation, when you talk to the driver you realize that he is a local politician, what do you do? If you don't ticket him, a senior officer comes up to you stating that he doesn't like the politician, and he is the reason why he got passed up for a promotion.

    Any thoughts would be helpful...

  • #2
    To the first question, if the department is going to base your oral score on your political philosophy, run as far away as you can, as quickly as you can. Your career in this agency will not be based on merit, but on whether you are willing to drink the political Kool-aid of whoever is in power at the moment.

    To the second question, remember, you have discretion in enforcement. As you walk towards the far end of the line of cars to start ticketing, you contact the officer (who is parked in the middle) tell him of your Lieutenant's orders and ask him not to put you in a bad spot. By the time you get to his car to write a cite, he will be gone.

    To the third question, personally, I never cited politicians for minor violations. But the decision is up to you alone and should not be influenced by the other officer. The last thing you want to do is let yourself get caught up in his battle. If you decide not to cite but he feels that strongly about it, he can issue a citation instead of you. But again, there is another issue - if this department allows politicians to interfere with the promotional process, your career will never be based on merit. Instead, you will be judged solely on the whim of others and this is not a place you want to work for.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      Ahhhh politics....I totally agree with L-1, run as far away as you can, as quickly as you can!
      The above comments reflect the personal, off-the-record, unofficial opinions of the individual posting them only, and in no way, shape, or form should be taken to indicate any particular opinion, policy, or belief by the poster's or any other agency, governmental entity, organization, or corporation. Thank you and have a nice day.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by L-1 View Post
        To the first question, if the department is going to base your oral score on your political philosophy . . .
        WTF? Opinions on Tim McVeigh (correct spelling) aren't about politics. McVeigh was a terrorist/mass murderer/coward. It's not about politics it's about good and evil.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SA13 View Post
          WTF? Opinions on Tim McVeigh (correct spelling) aren't about politics. McVeigh was a terrorist/mass murderer/coward. It's not about politics it's about good and evil.
          The question asked how he would describe Timothy Mcvey and how he felt about those who consider him a Freedom Fighter. Such questions only serve to explore one's personal and political beliefs, which may vary from person to person and are not considered to be "valid and job related" questions There is no way in which they measures or can objectively score one's ability to perform the duties of a peace officer.

          When you start basing oral scores on whether an applicant's personal opinion on any subject matches that of the Chief or the oral panel, you're heading down a slippery slope. From there, you may expand a bit and throw in questions about how a candidate feels about gun control on the next oral panel, then the death penalty on the next, maybe abortion on the oral board after that and who they support for president on the panel after that.

          The whole point is, you can't base an oral score on an applicant's opinions on controversial subjects because it has nothing to do with how well they can do the job. Scoring has to be based on questions that have been validated as legitimately measuring whether they are capable of performing the duties of the position and nothing more.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by L-1 View Post
            The question asked how he would describe Timothy Mcvey and how he felt about those who consider him a Freedom Fighter.
            What he wrote was "How would you describe Timothy Mcvey, what about people who consider him a Freedom Fighter." He was asked for descriptions, not his feelings.

            Such questions only serve to explore one's personal and political beliefs, which may vary from person to person and are not considered to be "valid and job related" questions
            I don't think we can infer, with certainty, the questioner's intent based on a second-hand paraphrase of the question.

            Coniser the case of a police officer convicted of tax-evasion. The officer's defense was political, he asserted the income tax was unconstitutional. Would you offer a police job to someone holding the same views? More to the point, what questions would you ask during an interview to identify such people?

            When you start basing oral scores on whether an applicant's personal opinion on any subject matches that of the Chief or the oral panel, you're heading down a slippery slope.
            I agree we don't want to go back to the bad old days where jobs and promotions were purchased with political contributions.

            We can walk the slippery slope without losing our footing. If we avoid it, oral boards will be reduced to asking questions such as "What's your favorite color?"

            The whole point is, you can't base an oral score on an applicant's opinions on controversial subjects because it has nothing to do with how well they can do the job.
            Back to my first point. He was asked for a description not an opinion. The ability to describe something, without interjecting an opinion, is a useful skill for a police officer, especially when he's testifying in court.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
              What he wrote was "How would you describe Timothy Mcvey, what about people who consider him a Freedom Fighter." He was asked for descriptions, not his feelings..
              "Descriptions" not "feelings"?

              His description of McVeigh and those who considered him a freedom fighter would be based off his "feelings" about what McVeigh stood for and what he did.

              The only way to answer that question is to discuss how you "feel". It's appears to be question geared to find out about a candidate's political view.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
                What he wrote was "How would you describe Timothy Mcvey, what about people who consider him a Freedom Fighter." He was asked for descriptions, not his feelings.

                I don't think we can infer, with certainty, the questioner's intent based on a second-hand paraphrase of the question.

                Coniser the case of a police officer convicted of tax-evasion. The officer's defense was political, he asserted the income tax was unconstitutional. Would you offer a police job to someone holding the same views? More to the point, what questions would you ask during an interview to identify such people?

                I agree we don't want to go back to the bad old days where jobs and promotions were purchased with political contributions.

                We can walk the slippery slope without losing our footing. If we avoid it, oral boards will be reduced to asking questions such as "What's your favorite color?"

                Back to my first point. He was asked for a description not an opinion. The ability to describe something, without interjecting an opinion, is a useful skill for a police officer, especially when he's testifying in court.
                I have to disagree with you on just about every point.

                First, you need to remember that orals are competitive and points are awarded for how close your answer comes to being correct. But in this case, it is impossible to objectively score one's answer to the question about Mc Veigh and his cohorts because, depending on your point of view, there is no one right answer. For example, one candidate might say they were all terrorists. Another might not condemn or praise McVeigh, but instead may give a clinical evaluation of McVeigh's unique leadership skills that caused the others to blindly help him in the bombing. A third applicant might say that McVeigh had some legitimate grievances but took the wrong path to redress them and should have used the democratic process. Who gets the most points for their answer, or the least points? What is the criteria for awarding the points? Who sets the standard for what is an acceptable response to the question? Clearly there is no objective process. Such a question violates EEO rules because it is subjective and awards points based on an evaluation of one's belief's (creed) and not on one's ability to do the job of a peace officer. Similarly, no one on an oral board cares if an applicant believes the income tax is constitutional. They only care if he actually pays his taxes.

                Your comment about reducing oral boards to asking applicants what their favorite color is reinforces my point. EEO rules require that in order to be valid and non-discriminatory, test questions and processes must show a direct relationship to an applicant's ability to perform the actual duties of the job. Questions like one's favorite color have nothing to do with how well you can be a cop, so they have no place in the testing process. They also prohibit discrimination based upon beliefs (creed), so intertwining someone as controversial as McVeigh in a question on one's ability to describe things opens the question to charges of EEO violations on beliefs. That is not to say that you can't test one's ability to describe things. But when you test in that area, you need to use a neutral, job related subject, such as a photo of major traffic accident scene or police related activity without identifiable personalities in it.
                Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                  I have to disagree with you on just about every point.
                  Thank you for taking the time to do so. You've given me something to think about.

                  I haven't been an applicant before an oral board for many, many years. Though I have been twice assigned to sit on boards, in both cases they were cancelled. I was given no information beforehand about what questions to ask or what the right answer would be. That was not quite so long ago and I can hope things are better organized now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The validation process for orals has gotten complex. Two weeks before the last exam I sat on, we had to submit all proposed questions for validation and explain in great detail, the relationship to the job that each question held and why the answers we were seeking were correct. Then we had to justify how we were going to score the answers. Each acceptable answer had elements that needed to be met, just like establishing the elements of a crime. Personnel then sent us back a modified list, telling us which questions we could or could not use.

                    We were only allowed to give points for each correct element of the answer that an applicant gave and nothing more. It was really frustrating because one applicant was a retired officer from another agency that I knew personally and felt would do an outstanding job. Unfortunately, he gave the "real life" answers rather than the oral board answers and scored so low that he wasn't reachable on the list. OTOH, another applicant with no prior police experience gave textbook answers and came out on top of the list and got the only vacancy.
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You know, a point about McVeigh if I could. Does anyone else here ever get the feeling maybe there was more we didn't know about?

                      Or am I the only one who felt he had the fastest trial and execution in the history of the death sentence?

                      Working and growing up in Michigan, I am quite familiar with those crazy militia types, so it sort of hit close to home when they blew up that building and killed all those people.
                      Invisible cows control my mind.

                      Comment

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