Correctional Officer Interview Tips

The job of a corrections officer is ideal for individuals who prefer working in an environment that is relatively quiet and has very little exposure to noise pollution, with the competency and ability to deal appropriately with people from any race, religion, socio-economic background, age, culture, and nationality. If you think this is the perfect profession for you, it’s time for you to prepare for some correctional officer interview questions and answers.

Types of Interview Questions and Answers

Before the qualifying exam, however, the applicant must already have at least his or her high school diploma. Some states require completion of several college credits, albeit this is waived if the applicant has had civil service or law enforcement experience previously. Although not mandatory, other states require applicants to be graduates of law enforcement academies. 

There are several types of interview questions and answers. There is an oral board interview conducted for the assessment of the applicant’s motivation, professional demeanor, and background. This assessment is designed to find out the extent of your capability as far as verbal communication, decision-making, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving are concerned.

Typical Test Coverage 

The typical coverage of the test for corrections officers includes grammar, situational reasoning, inmate security, reading comprehension, decision-making, and memory. Most tests last around three hours and have a hundred questions in the multiple choice format. The test’s minimum score for passing is 70 in most states. These tests are mainly written but there are some states like Maryland which require written as well as video-based examinations.

Higher scores will obtain more opportunities for the applicants not only from state but from private corrections facilities and agencies as well. Meanwhile, there are some states with specific rules on applicants who fail and want to retake the same test for the second time. Most states will allow an applicant who failed the test previously to take the same test only in the succeeding year.

Possible Interview Questions

That oral interview, according to police officer Scott Hallock, is given weight by most police departments in deciding whether to hire an applicant. In that interview, all the applicants will answer the same set of questions which are, more often not, open-ended to maintain subjectivity. Responses are evaluated by a professional panel of three or four individuals. The score scale ranges from “excellent” to “is unable to meet minimum competency.”

Some possible corrections officer interview questions which you might be asked may include the following:

1.    Why do you think you are the right fit for the job?

2.    How will you handle an emergency situation such as a fire in an inmate’s cell?

3.    What are your core competencies that you will use on this job?

4.    How often do you lose your temper and what do you do about it?

5.    What be the form of discipline you are likely to impose for minor and major infractions by the inmates?

6.    How do you see yourself in five years at this correctional facility?

7.    What would be your motivations for staying on or leaving this job?

8.    Would you have any weaknesses which could be detrimental in carrying out your duties and responsibilities?

9.    What are some of your personal qualities that can become assets to your job?

10.What motivated you to apply for this job?

 Stop Yourself from Giving Out the Wrong Answers

 To question number one, for instance, the wrong answers could be any of the following:

 ·         You’re unemployed and have been so for far too long.

·         Because of your unemployed status you will take any job.

·         You need a job immediately because you are in debt.

·         You’re willing to fill in the vacancy.

·         Government jobs have pensions.

·         You want the look and feel of being in uniform.

·         You want to “put people in their proper places.”

·         You’re desperate for a job because a family member is sick and needs the funds.

 Any of these answers is definitely not what corrections facilities management wants to hear. While these may be real reasons, they shouldn’t be yours for applying as corrections officer. What they your interviewers want to hear are reasons which are good from their own point of view and logical from yours.

 What the Right Answers Should Be

 What they want to hear includes your interest in the corrections officer position, motivations you have for wanting the job, and any added values you might bring to the table if you go on board. Along this line of thought of the interviewers would be Questions numbers 3, 7, 9, and 10 as mentioned.

The right answers should have the following tone:

·         I have read the job description thoroughly and I qualify for the position based on my education and skills (add training if you have had any in law enforcement or similar fields).

·         I have the willingness and enthusiasm for the things which I should learn to fulfill requirements of this job.

·         It would be a privilege and an honor for me to serve my community (or city or state) as a corrections officer and make a difference in other people’s lives.

·         This job is my way of helping societal reform.

Don’t Second Guess, Come Prepared

Those interview questions for correctional officer positions are, in fact, the first difficult situation that applicants encounter and must hurdle successfully. The leading cause of failure in the Corrections Officer Examination isn’t insufficient mastery of the review material but panic caused by crippling anxiety. Remember that the interview is a significant part of the whole hiring process; don’t second guess the occasion. Come prepared to the interview.

The right attitude and appropriate behavior during this first exposure to your prospective job is important for your future superiors to see that you are who they want. If you feel self-conscious, awkward, and nervous during the interview, that’s understandable. Be prepared by knowing how to answer interview questions correctly and precisely. Have a look-see and check out to help you get back on the right track.

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