Step 4: Pick an Agency and Meet the Recruiter
You’ve done some research and are interested in finding out more – a lot more. Now it’s time to talk with recruiters! Though it can be nerve-racking, just remember that you are under NO OBLIGATION when talking with a recruiter. However, you must be prepared and on your best behavior. Your first meeting with a recruiter has the potential for making or breaking the rest of the application process.
• PoliceLink Career Center
• PoliceLink Career Network
• PoliceLink Discussion boards
• 10 tips on visiting a recruiter
• Questions to ask recruiters
The first step to getting a job is finding an agency that is hiring. A good place to start is by checking with your local police department or sheriff’s office where you live. However, don’t rely on applying to just one agency. When looking for a law enforcement job you should apply to as many agencies as you possibly can. Yes, it is time intensive, but your odds of getting an offer go up dramatically with the more agencies you apply to.
A great resource for finding agencies that are hiring in your area, or even out of your area if you’re interested in moving, is the PoliceLink Career Center. The Career Center is a central location where agencies from throughout the country post their job openings for both law enforcement and civilian positions. It is your one stop shop for finding the law enforcement job where you want it.
PoliceLink is the only law enforcement website with local, state, and all federal law enforcement job postings now.
What’s the difference between the PoliceLink Career Center and the Career Network? The Career Center is a place for hiring agencies to formerly post job openings. The Career Network is a place for law enforcement officers to network with each other to ask questions about or to find contacts within a particular agency.
The Career Network is a great opportunity to make contacts within a department. Recruiters will always pay more attention to candidates who have recommendations from an officer currently serving with their department. The Career Network provides a tremendous opportunity for rookie officers and lateral transfers to reach out to others from the area to learn about the departments they want to work for.
Join the "PoliceLink Career Network ":http://policelink.monster.com/community
Were you unable to find someone in the PoliceLink Career network? Try posting a message on the PoliceLink Discussion Boards. Officers throughout the country read and post messages on the discussion boards. Maybe your questions have already been answered there. If not, post your question in a new thread and someone will be sure to give an answer.
For the past few years there has been a shortage of qualified candidates for law enforcement at the local, state, and federal level. Despite this shortage, only a single digit percentage of applicants make it all the way through the hiring process and actually become police officers.
1. 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.
2. SPEAK PROFESSIONALLY.
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.
3. ASK QUESTIONS.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. DON’T TALK JUST TO TALK.
Don’t speak unless you are answering a question, asking a question, or engaging in appropriate dialogue. Don’t talk just to talk.
7. BE EARLY.
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.
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8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
Even though you’ve done a lot of research into the agency you are applying to and law enforcement in general, you probably still have a lot of questions. Here are some things to consider or to ask the recruiter if you don’t already have an answer:
1. What is the timeline for career progress and promotions?
2. Can you explain the various benefits packages?
3. What distinguishes this agency from neighboring agencies?
4. What’s the minimum service time until retirement?
5. How often can I attend specialized training?
6. Does the city/county offer any housing or cost of living benefits?
7. How long is the academy?
8. What is the pay like?
9. Are there any appearance standards (ie, hair length, tattoos, etc.)?
10. What are the next steps?