Step 5: Meeting a Recruiter
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Wear a suit
Always wear a suit or coat and tie. Wearing business attire shows that you hold yourself to the highest standards, and that is what a recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Many prospective recruits make the mistake of showing up in their every day street clothes. This does not go unnoticed and there is a high probability that your resume or application will end up on the bottom of the pile. If, for some reason, it is absolutely not possible for you to wear a suit then make sure you tell the recruiter before hand so they know.
Just as you need dress professionally, you need to speak professionally. Don’t act around the recruiter how you would act around your friends or family. Don’t use slang or other profane language and stay away from making jokes. Even the most innocent jokes be offensive to some people.
Be prepared with a list of questions you have for the recruiter. This is your chance to get clarifications to questions you might have about the academy, your time with an FTO, or about general career advancement. Make sure your questions are relevant and aren’t already answered through general literature.
Don’t be a know-it-all
Don’t try to impress the recruiter with your knowledge (or perceived knowledge) of law enforcement. You’re there to get information from the recruiter, not to give it. Even if the recruiter is telling you something you already know, listen intently and be thankful for the information.
Listen and be courteous
When you meet with a recruiter there will be opportunities for you to get your questions answered. Don’t interrupt or cause disruptions if the recruiter is speaking to someone else or isn’t answering your question as quick as you would like. Be courteous and wait for the appropriate time to interject or clarify your question.
Don’t use military jargon
Even though you are transitioning to a military-friendly environment, remember that not all cops are former military and may not understand or appreciate certain language, words, or attitudes. Always act and speak professionally in front of a recruiter. Even if you find out that the recruiter served in the same unit as you at some point, be professional and don’t accidentally start talking like you’re boot camp.
Do not be late, especially if you have a one-on-one meeting with the recruiter. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Just drive around the block a few times if you arrive too early, but don’t expect the recruiter to wait around for you if you show up late. And remember, cops are expected to be on call for roll call for every shift, with no excuses. Showing up late for your first meeting with a member of the department is not the way to get off on good start.
Expect tough questions
Why do you want to be a cop? Do you have anything questionable in your past? When was the last time you used drugs? Those are just a few of the questions that you will be asked during your application process. Be prepared to answer them quickly and honestly even as early as your first meeting with the recruiter. Always remember that if you lie, they will find out and your career will be over before it even starts.
Be prepared to state your goals
You should list out your career goals before you even make a meeting with the recruiter. Be true to yourself and be honest, but don’t be stupid. Instead of saying you want the job only to get into law enforcement you will move to another agency at the first opportunity isn’t a good thing to say. Instead, consider saying you are eager to have the experiences only a street cop can get and that you aspire to someday be a federal agent.
Remember you are signing up to be a police officer
The authorities and responsibilities bestowed on a police are very serious. You must always be professional and courteous to everyone you encounter. Your attitude and demeanor must convey the embodiment of these principles to the recruiter.
Next: Applying for the Job
Previous: Picking a Department
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