One of the new techniques that many police agencies are now using in their oral boards is called behavioral interviewing. Behavioral Interviewing works on the premise that your past behavior in a situation will be the best predictor of how you will behave in the future. If you are not familiar with this interviewing style, you may be caught off guard and will be unprepared for your interview. Therefore, take a few minutes to watch this video rather than trying to memorize thousands of possible police oral board questions. The odds of a specific interview question being asked during your interview are generally slim. If you instead take the time to learn about this style of interviewing, you will be prepared for most police interview questions in that you already know the philosophy behind them.
“Behavioral Interviewing” style questions often come up most often as the scenario questions in entry level police job interviews and have replaced the more traditional “what-if” scenarios.
In the past, the oral board panelists would describe a common scenario or situation for you and ask you to describe how you would respond in real life to this hypothetical scenario. The problem is interview experts found that job candidates would provide an “ideal response” in their job interview and not one which described what they would actually do in real life.
Interview experts instead believe that asking the candidate about a personal situation that actually happened to them in the past is much more telling and an accurate predictor of how this candidate will behave in the future.
For example, a few common behavioral interview questions you might encounter in a police hiring interview are:
Tell us about a time you encountered a difficult situation? How did you handle it and what was the end result?
Describe a time you had a conflict with a supervisor or co-worker. What happened and how did you resolve the conflict?
If you’re already nervous in your police interview, the last thing you want to do is have to think of a situation that will make for a good example about your decision making skills. This is something you need to plan out in advance and preparation is your key to success.
What if you can’t think of something in a pinch?
It makes it look like you haven’t handled difficult situations and are not prepared for the challenges of the police job.
Candidates who don’t do well on this kind of scenario often talk about a difficult situation, but they don’t usually handle it very well. They don’t discuss using any problem solving skills and this is not what police agencies are looking for.
The difficult situation you use as an example can be anything and doesn’t have to be anything crazy. But you do have to demonstrate good problem solving skills.
Let’s break down a simple problem solving strategy for you to use in you police oral interview.
Identify the problem.
Talk about some different ways you could have handled the problem
Talk about how you evaluated all your options and why you choose the option you did.
Talk about any lessons you learned in the process and your growth for future challenges.
This last step is what really sets apart a good answer from a great answer. Don’t be afraid of using an example where you make a minor mistake and learn a valuable lesson from it. Sincerely demonstrating this kind of personal growth in an interview screams maturity and will get the interview panel excited about you as a candidate.
You might be tempted to pick an easy situation where you handled things perfectly, but an example that shows growth is your best pick every time. These are the behaviors they are looking for (growth, maturity, and good decision making skills.)
We hope this helps you better understand the behavioral interviewing technique and it helps you ace your upcoming interview.