6 Police Interview Questions in Australia (With Examples)
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The interview stage is a critical part of passing the selection process for federal or state police in Australia. Interview questions seek to determine if you're the right fit for the role by testing your reasoning for joining the police force and determining how you dealt with specific situations in the past. Learning about police interview questions can help you prepare and pass the interview stage of the selection process. In this article, we explore some general and behavioural police interview questions in Australia, provide example answers and discuss useful interview tips.
3 general police interview questions in Australia
When you're applying to become a police officer, familiarising yourself with some of the common police interview questions can help you prepare. The interview stage of the selection process is your opportunity to show officials why you're the right candidate for the job. Below are several general questions you may encounter, with suggestions for structuring your response:
1. Why do you want to join the police?
This is one of the most common questions you might encounter in a police interview. Here are some prompts you could consider using to help you structure your response to this question:
What is it about the police force that got you interested in joining?
What do you know about police responsibilities and how police combat crime?
What aspects of crime do you feel strongly about making a difference to?
Example: 'After growing up in a neighbourhood with a high crime rate, I have always wanted to help free communities of criminal activity. My uncle was a local police officer and I witnessed the respect he received and the stories he told about just how rewarding the job can be. I have deep admiration for the professionalism and code of conduct under which police officers operate. I wish to uphold these same standards as a police officer and be someone people look to for help.'
2. What are the responsibilities of a police officer?
This question might be in your interview to determine how familiar you are with police duties. Here are some key responsibilities you can research to prepare your answer:
maintain law enforcement
maintain public order
patrol public areas
coordinate emergency procedures
investigate criminal activities
Example: 'The police force upholds and enforces the law by protecting members of the public and investigating criminal activity. A key police responsibility is to patrol public areas. This provides an important public service where officers respond to incidents, deter crime and keep public areas as safe as possible. Another important police duty is investigating crime. This can include searching a suspected area, collecting and preserving evidence and interviewing bystanders and suspects.'
Related: How to Become a Police Officer
3. What qualities do you believe make a good police officer?
The interviewer may ask you this question to gain a sense of your values and motivations. When answering this question, explain the attributes of a successful police officer and how you, too, exhibit those qualities. This can show your interviewer that you possess the desirable qualities they're seeking. Here are some key qualities you might consider when answering this question:
Example: 'Having strong teamwork qualities is important for being a good police officer. Teamwork can help provide a more effective police force. For example, officers may coordinate emergency procedures more efficiently when they can rely on their team members to perform separate duties. Having strong teamwork qualities can also be useful when dangerous situations arise and an officer requires a team member to provide support. I have experienced many job positions where I have worked in a team environment. These experiences have given me valuable communication and problem-solving skills that are transferable to the police force.'
3 behavioural interview questions
During the interview stage of the selection process, the interviewer may ask you more specific behavioural questions. Rather than asking you how you might behave in a situation, the interviewer may ask you to provide examples of how you previously behaved in certain scenarios. Your answers can give the interviewer greater insight into how you apply your skills and respond to different situations. Below are several behavioural questions you may encounter, with an example answer for each:
1. Tell me about a time you provided a solution to a problem.
Your answer to this question can help the interviewer understand how you react to challenges at work. Consider the following points to structure your response:
What was the situation?
What role did you play in providing a solution?
What was the result?
Example: 'In a previous position working for an electrical company, my team and I were short on valuable equipment needed to complete a job. The job was in a regional town, roughly 400 kilometres from our company's warehouse, so my employer had no access to local contacts. In searching for a solution, I began asking local tradespeople if they knew of any local suppliers from whom we could order supplies. I connected with an electrician who helped us by contacting his supplier. As a result, we obtained the needed supplies and completed the job with minor delay.'
2. Give an example of a time you provided effective teamwork.
Because teamwork is an important skill for police officers, interviewers may ask this question to understand how well you work with others. Consider the following questions when structuring your response:
What was the purpose of the team?
What was your role in the team?
What did you do to make the team effective?
What was the result?
Example: 'In my last position, two of my colleagues and I gave a presentation on marketing strategies for a business project. We only had one week to organise the presentation, and my colleagues were unfamiliar with the marketing strategies to be discussed. I had knowledge of these strategies, so I led the team and delegated work to suit my team members' strengths. By taking the lead and supporting my team, we completed the preparation on time and delivered a successful presentation.'
3. Tell me about a time when you voluntarily helped someone.
Interviewers may ask this question to understand your values and willingness to help others. Here are several prompts to help structure your response:
What was the situation?
Why did you provide help?
What did you do?
What was the result?
Example: 'One evening, I was driving home from work and I saw a woman on the side of the road with a broken-down car. It was a hot day, and she had children in the car, so I pulled over to help her. She told me one of her front tires was flat and that she didn't have a spare. I drove to the local service and repairs store and purchased a tire for her. Once I mounted the tire onto her car, she was able to drive home safely.'
Interview tips for aspiring police officers
Here are some useful tips to help you deliver a good impression to your interviewers:
Make sure you're prepared: Check that your resume and cover letter are up to date. Researching the police force that you're applying to can also help your preparation.
Dress appropriately: Police forces value candidates who take pride in their appearance. Dressing formally can show your interviewers that you take the position seriously.
Greet the interviewers with confidence: This might involve arriving on time, greeting your interviewers in a friendly manner and shaking their hands. You can also show confidence by smiling and making conversation.
Sit upright: This can convey that you're attentive to the questions and fully engaged.
Listen carefully to the questions: Not interrupting and responding with thoughtful answers can also convey your attentiveness. If you're unsure of a question, asking for clarification can display that you're listening carefully.
Make eye contact: This can help establish a connection with your interviewer. It can also help improve your concentration and show that you're engaged in the interview process.
Speak clearly: There may be occasions when your interviewers are taking notes, so speaking with a clear and audible voice ensures they can hear you. Speaking clearly is beneficial because the interviewer might also assess you based on how clear and audible your communication is.
Research the STAR method: The STAR method helps you structure your response to a behavioural question by discussing the situation, task, action and result. This can help keep your response concise and informative.
Prepare some questions for the interviewer: This can be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge and show your intent. It can also be a great chance to seek clarification on any queries you may have.
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