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10 Tips for Mastering the Police Oral Board

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

Oral boards are the key to getting hired. As a police academy manager and former police chief, I have seen countless applicants bomb their oral hiring board when they were otherwise good candidates. Like many other things in life, proper preparation can make the difference. This article will suggest ten tips to increase your chances for success.

1) Do your research. Study up on your target agency. In this age of the Internet, there is no excuse for walking into an agency without an intimate knowledge of its statistics and key personnel. Some items to glean off of the department and larger governmental entity (city, county, or state – not to mention airport, college, harbor, school district or other setting) websites are: population policed, agency chief executive (usually the elected sheriff or chief), divisions, number of law enforcers, square miles of the jurisdiction, policing philosophy, and mission statement.

2) Be early. As the old saying goes: “early is on time and on time is late.” I had the time that the person arrived for their oral board noted and relayed to me. My thought, along with many other chiefs, was that if the person can’t make it on time (better yet early) for their interview when they should be on their best behavior, they certainly won’t have good time management skills down the road when they are hired and off of their probationary status.

3) Check your appearance. Be sure that you are perceived as a professional. It should go without saying that all nose rings, tongue piercings, and earrings should be removed prior to coming into the area of the interview building. A dark suit with conservative tie and shirt is appropriate with men with similarly suitable business attire for women. Clothes should be cleaned and pressed. Oral board attendees should have their hygiene handled correctly. Special attention should be paid to nails and shoes.

4) Use proper titles. Make sure that you use the right titles when speaking at the oral board. Don’t call a law enforcer an “officer” in a sheriff’s office and vice versa (in that case, it should be “deputy sheriff”). Know the rank insignia for your target agency and the corresponding titles that go with them.

5) Know your elements. Some oral panels, particularly those that interview people who have already graduated from a basic law enforcement academy, quiz the applicant on elements of common crimes. Know your state’s criminal statutes and how they apply to situations. For example, you may be asked to define burglary or be presented with a situation, which comprise the legal components of burglary.

6) Make eye contact. Whether each member of the panel asks questions or only a facilitator speaks for the group, be sure to make eye contact with each person in the room. In the law enforcement world, the eye contact conveys confidence and respect.

7) Sound confident. Minimize the appearance of nervousness or a lack of confidence by practicing to avoid stuttering. Watch your self in a mirror. Better yet, hold your own mock oral panel and videotape yourself. When you watch the tape later, you will catch both good and bad things that you did realize you were doing. Remember, we are our own harshest critics.

8) Avoid creating distractions. Distractions can come in the form of verbal cues (such as “um”, “ok”, and “see what I mean”) or they can be physical (such as tapping a ring on the metal part of the chair). When distractions crop up, they make you appear nervous and detract from the message that you are trying to impart.

9) Plant your feet. Interview panel organizers frequently place the applicant in a swivel chair that also has the ability to recline. When you sit down, be sure to plant your feet and resist the inclination to swivel or rock in the chair. Most panel members perceive movement in the chair as indicators of nervousness.

10) Shake hands. When an appropriate moment comes up, usually before exiting the interview room, stand up and walk over to each member of the panel. Address each by their rank or title and thank them individually for their time while shaking their hand.

These ten tips address some of the more blatant ones problems I have observed while running oral panels. As an applicant, you are granted around twenty minutes to give the panel members a glimpse of who you as a person and they type of law enforcer you would be if employed by the hiring agency.

Your first impression (commonly thought of as the first 15 seconds) as viewed by the panel members is crucial to the success of your oral board experience. Incorporate these ten tips as you thoroughly prepare for a pivotal, albeit brief, piece of the professional law enforcement officer application process.


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    tybabs0926

    almost 4 years ago

    60 Comments

    What is the proper way to answer the following: Would you give your mother/ your superior officer a speeding ticket? What about a DUI? I said I'd let the speeding ticket go but nobody is above the law and a DUI is a DUI, regardless of who it is. Thoughts?

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    ddeangelo

    almost 4 years ago

    176 Comments

    Sir, I Graduated Highschool at clearveiw in 2007, I had taken online classes from 2006 to 2008 for early college prep online, at Ashford univeristy, I grauated in 2008, my accouses in criminal Justice, Currections,and sericity. Three years of my bachliors at AIU online, at the end of 2008-2010. In college, at Agrosity univeristy, online Classes this year, around september 7th. I graduate College, this year comming up, 2011. I can't wait to do a job well done , for what ever department takes, and my bachliors is in Lawenforcement Sir.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    ddeangelo

    almost 4 years ago

    176 Comments

    Have a great Holliday Sir.

  • On_the_lighthouse_max50

    ptig78d

    about 4 years ago

    8 Comments

    From where I stand as a prospective LEO, this information will be most beneficial to me, as I have an interview for a local PD next week. I have perused the internet sites for potential oral board questions so I can get a feeling of the types of questions I may be asked, and this seems to be one of the best! Thank you for taking the time and energy to help me and others in the pursuit of our LEO careers.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    sguy100

    about 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    ok so i have had a pretty bumby child hood and i have always wanted to serve a good cause and I think this is it!!!!!!!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    boster2k

    about 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    thanks

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    useful tips
    thank you

  • Angel_summer_2014_max50

    AKangel

    about 4 years ago

    4986 Comments

    Most excellent information, Thanks

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    cmoody

    about 4 years ago

    84 Comments

    good to know

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    ddeangelo

    about 4 years ago

    176 Comments

    Thank you Sir, Your a very good policemen and your tips are helpful.

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    about 4 years ago

    19380 Comments

    Excellent. Also usefull for any job interview. You got twenty minutes to do your dance. Do it well.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    RinaBonny

    over 4 years ago

    8 Comments

    Good luck for the next one.. Every single success leads to others. It's great!
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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    policedude55

    over 4 years ago

    10 Comments

    awesome tips you really nailed it! I want to say thanks for writing this article. I used the advise offered here, as well as downloaded a police interview prep guide. The result, I totally aced my interview. I knew exactly what the raters on the board were going to ask me before they asked. For those who are preparing for the test, I'd suggest getting the same guide I used found at http://www.policeoralboardinterviewsecrets.com

  • Work_020_max50

    Raven1319

    over 4 years ago

    66 Comments

    Great tips! I look forward to nailing my oral board!

  • Flamehead_max50

    hollemil

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    thak you for the tip on this subjects I am starting school very soon thank you mikeholle

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