What is the Police Oral Board Interview and How to Pass It

The Police Oral Board Exam-What and How to Pass It?

I am sure if you are reading this you have either been to an oral board interview already, are getting ready to go to one, or you are interested in becoming a cop and want to know what an oral board is and what it’s like. ou may be hoping you’ll even get lucky and get some tips on how to do well during the interview. I will try to do all of those things here for you.

Police oral board interviews are some of the most nerve racking activities you will do when trying to become a police officer. Many people tend to be nervous when they walk in the door and see the oral board panel sitting there. You are before a live audience and it’s time to perform your best!

What is an oral board interview?

It’s a live panel of people, usually 3-7 people (sometimes only 2 in small agencies) that ask the applicants a set of questions they will rate and score based on your answers. These scores are compared with the required passing score and against other applicants. In some agencies, you can  be removed from the application process for not passing the oral board interview. It’s a must pass segment of the application process. You usually are seated in a room across a table from these people. Theyproceed to ask you questions in turn and  listen to your responses, take notes, and score your answers to the questions.

So how can you perform well with these boards? There are a few things that can help you do well and get a better score or make a better impression on the panel and I will cover those here.

First thing is to dress accordingly.

That means for men, a suit and tie (conservative style) and women should wear a pants suit or dress; whichever they are more comfortable in. Also ladies, a conservative cut is always best. Both male and female, you are dressing to impress, not get a date.

Clean and neat hair (conservative cut), clean fingernails and no gaudy jewelry. No overpowering cologne or perfume. Take out all the facial piercings and if you have tattoos on your arms, wear a long sleeve to cover them.  Nothing makes a worse impression that someone walking into the board in jeans and tee shirt and looking like they just woke up and crawled out of bed minutes before. First impressions are very important, so make a good one.

When you walk in, say hello and reach out to shake the first members hand. If they take it, shake the hand of each board member and introduce yourself. Your name is good enough–shake hands, “Andrew Jones”. They will more than likely introduce themselves by name. TRY TO REMEMBER HOW THEY INTRODUCE THEMSELVES; if they use a title and name or only their name–remember as this will come in later.

Sit down in the chair provided and place your hands on the table in front of you in a comfortable position. Don’t put them down in your lap and don’t pick your nose or ear. Just try to relax and be comfortable (as much as you can that is).

They will tell you what they are doing and how the oral board will be done. If they provide a pencil and paper, use it. Use it to write down the points of the questions they want you to answer. In some oral board interviews I have been a part of, they will purposely ask multi-part questions and see if the interviewee writes things down to keep track of the points and then answers them in the order they were asked.

What kind of questions will be asked? Well it varies from department to department, but they are generally structured to see if you have any knowledge of law and procedures, and to see if you will tell the truth. Also, some are designed to see if you will keep the departments interest in mind over other things.

Here are a few questions you should expect to be asked from the panel:

1. Why do you want to be a police officer?
2. If you witnessed another officer steal something what would you do?
3. If you stopped the Mayor for drunk driving what would you do?
4. If you stopped a family member what would you do?

Those are just a few common ones. Answer questions in the order they were asked. When they give you a scenario and ask you to tell them what you would do, answer from the beginning to the end and don’t jump around-answer chronologically.

In Conclusion

Don’t panic. Although the interview is really stressful, if you prepare your answers for the questions, you’ll do fine. In order to guarantee yourself a top score on the oral exam,  you must practice,practice, and practice some more. You want to be able to answer the questions without a lot of pauses, and uhms.

If you need a list of the top  most commonly asked police interview questions and answers, visit Police Oral Board Interview Secrets

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