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Police Oral Board Interview - From Stress To Success

Mar 25, 2008
The image you present in your Police Oral Board Interview is one of the most important elements to consider in any preparations you undertake.

The most positive image to present is one that displays character traits that are universally perceived as positive. Bringing a powerful combination of accepted positive images to your interview is a sure way to make a winning impression that puts you one step closer to your ultimate goal -- becoming a police officer.


Some positive image elements to incorporate into your interview would include showing:

Appreciation - for the opportunity to interview for the position.

Enthusiasm - for the job. Your interest should be genuine and informed.

Empathy - for others and displaying an understanding for the role compassion plays in police work.

Confidence - in yourself and your abilities. Be comfortable with your beliefs and reveal your trust in the abilities of others.

Practice applying these image elements to everything you do, every encounter with another person, and soon, they will become a part of you -- natural and supportive in all your social interactions -- ready to reassure others of your capable nature and social skills.


A number of important actions need to be strictly under your control for the best chances of success in your interview, these include:

Do Not Be Late! Target your arrival to be at least 20 minutes prior to the scheduled interview time.

Walk into the interview room smiling, head up, and with excellent posture.

Make eye contact with each interviewer and introduce yourself -- give a firm handshake -- if the courtesy is offered.
Wait to be seated, then sit when invited to do so, smile and say 'thank you'.

Let the interviewers begin the conversation.

Small talk should be responded to with respectful phrases appropriate to a police department -- yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am -- while keeping additional comments brief and to the point.


Once the interview begins, the positive image you have worked to establish so far must be given depth and reality with effective speaking. Your ability to convey your thoughts clearly and concisely is a powerful factor for success in your interview.

To achieve successful communication, you must:

Control what you say.

Do your homework and be prepared to respond intelligently.
Take Your Time - Think Before You Speak.

Control how you say it.

Your emotional attitude must be kept moderate.
Your tone of voice must convey confidence and self-assurance.
Your pattern of speech must be relaxed and natural.
Your physical posture must be composed, alert, and purposeful.

Successful Speaking Tips


Listen Carefully.
Let the interviewer finish their question.
Look at the person speaking to you, show active listening with affirming nods.
Take time to think before answering.
Give an answer that reflects the interviewers line of thought.
Speak slowly and clearly pronounce your words.


Let your mind wander, forcing you to ask for the question to be repeated.
Interrupt the interviewer.
Answer before giving yourself time to think.
Use poor grammar, slang, or jargon.
Speak too rapidly or too slowly.
Give unrelated or off subject ideas or opinions.


Wearing proper interview attire goes a long way towards creating a positive image. Ideally, your qualifications and character should be the ultimate criteria for judging you as a police officer candidate, but in reality, surface impressions play a significant role.

Putting your best-dressed foot forward is fairly simple and straightforward and can be applied to male or female candidates:

Wear conservative colors--dark blues and browns,and grey.
Wear clean, pressed clothing that fits well.
Wear your hair neatly groomed.
Wear minimal jewelery.
Wear mild cologne or perfume, lightly applied, better yet wear none at all.
Wear black or brown leather shoes in a simple style, clean and polished.
Wear makeup appropriate to daytime business.


Two-thirds of what we communicate to others is through nonverbal 'body language'. Skilled interviewers are trained in interpreting nonverbal communication and consider your body language to be the truest indicator of your character. Learning what nonverbal signals you are sending to others and controlling those signals will help you make the most positive impression possible with your interviewers.

Friends and family are excellent resources for learning your particular, nonverbal communications in certain situations. They can help you see the image your body language presents, especially in stressful situations.

Some nonverbal communication tips you may find useful are:


Show you are alert, interested, and energetic by maintaining good posture.
Show honesty, confidence, and interest by maintaining consistent eye contact.
Show active listening with appropriate gestures--like a nod of understanding.
Show openness by smiling, keeping arms at your sides, hands relaxed in your lap


Appear casual by slouching in your seat, crossing your legs, or sitting at an angle to the interviewers.
Appear fearful by sitting rigidly or at the edge of your seat.
Appear aggressive or confrontational by leaning too far forward.
Appear nervous by tapping your feet or talking 'with your hands'.
Appear dishonest or lacking confidence by looking down or away from the interviewers.
Appear to lack the ability to focus by staring at the interviewers. Staring is considered rude and antagonistic.


A poor first impression can be derived from a number of things, from an ill-timed laugh to tripping into the room. Whether the damaging event was avoidable or not is not important in this situation. The only important thing is taking action to recover control of the interview and yourself.

How does this happen? What can be done to get your interview back on track?

Recovery is simple.

Do not panic.
Maintain your composure.
Take a deep breath and smile.
Make steady, friendly eye contact with the interviewers.
Offer a brief, sincere recovery statement that establishes your commitment to becoming a police officer.
Shake off your jitters and hold your course for a strong finish.

The bottom line in facing your police oral board interview comes down to your ability to present yourself in the most easily assimilated, universally accepted, integrity-driven manner. You should appear professional, polished, poised, and comprehensively able. Your interviewers should be able to visualize you in their department's uniform, enforcing the law in their community, and supporting their department regulations with every action you take and decision you make.
About the Author
Discover the three reasons why 70% of all police applicants fail their exam...and get your free no obligation report: "How To Pass The Police Polygraph." Yours Free for visiting: Police Exam Preparation.
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