As your police officer career hits the 5-10 year mark, you will get the bug to be a shift sergeant. The biggest hurdle after the sergeant examination is the oral board interview. The raters on the panel will not take it easy on you. In fact, if you don’t prepare for the interview, you likely have no chance of success in your pursuit of the position.
The worst thing you can do is show up to your sergeant oral board interview nervous and ill-prepared. Another thing, please don’t depend on your ability to “wing it” through the interview when there are resources out there to help you. If you go into the interview thinking you are just going to “wing it”, you’ll fail miserably especially because the police sergeant interview is behavior based.
That’s why it’s so important to study up on the sergeant interview beforehand. The best resource available that will help you prepare for the behavioral based interview questions is The Ultimate Guide to Interview Questions. If you read this interview guide thoroughly, I’m certain the panel will be blown away by some of your answers and as a result, they will be chomping at the bit to hire you.
In a traditional interview, you can usually get away with somewhat vague, general answers or just tell the panel what you think they want to hear, but behavioral interview questions are very different.
In a behavioral interview, the oral board will ask you for very specific examples. They’re going to be asking you for details including names of people, dates, and outcomes. They’ll ask you about lengthy projects you’ve been involved in or how your role evolved, how you handled deadlines, pressures and difficult personalities. They will inquire about how you went about thinking through problems, how you determined what steps to take, and in what order.
Police Sergeant Sample “Behavioral Based” Interview Questions:
- “Tell me about a high pressure situation you had to handle as a police officer and/or while on patrol. Tell me who was involved, what happened, and what you did to solve problems and come up with a solution.”
- “Everyone has to make decisions about the balance between personal life and the department’s objectives. When do you feel you’ve had to make personal sacrifices in order to get the job done?”
- “Tell me about a time when you had to work very hard to achieve a work-related goal and be very specific about what you achieved. How did you start? How did you measure your progress? Did it turn out like you thought it would? How were other people involved?”
- “Describe a time when you found out that one of your fellow police officers were slacking off, cheating on expenses, stealing, skipping out on work, or not pulling his or her weight? What happened? What did you do?”