Some of the information I impart to law enforcement candidates can get a bit lengthy and that’s primarily due to the fact that there’s a lot to learn as you prepare for the hiring process.
The information I’d like to share with you now is very brief, but it’s potentially going to save you from bombing your first, or your next entrance exam.
Honestly, if I can save just a few good candidates from being asked to leave the testing center, or even just one applicant from extreme embarrassment, my time in sharing this information will have been well spent.
Bad News – Good News
I always start with the bad news first, ending on a positive note is just a good thing so here’s the bad.
There will be many, many people that fall victim to a little known, but lethal trick that some agencies employ during their entrance exam testing process.
The good news is, it will NEVER be you, because you took the initiative to be prepared and do some research.
Here’s the setting…
You’ve been welcomed to the testing center, or the city hall or wherever it is that your law enforcement agency is conducting their written entrance exam, and the proctor has you all pumped up and ready to put pen to paper.
He starts the clock and states to you, and everyone else in the room, the following.
“Read the instructions on page one, and begin the test on page two when you’re ready.”
About 30 seconds into the test, the proctor stops the clock and gathers everyone’s attention. “You, you, you and you in the back, yeah, you in the blue shirt, collect your tests and please come up to the front of the room.”
The room is frozen with anticipation, a few are gushing with curiosity, and four people, the “you” that just got plucked from the crowd, are weak in the knees with fear. What the heck just happened and why on EARTH am I getting called to the front?
Thank you and goodnight
Four people are told that they won’t be testing with that agency today, including the guy from the back of the room in the blue shirt. All four are told to place their tests on the table by the door as they leave the room.
Why? Here’s what the instructions said on page one of the test:
“Answer all questions below, by circling T for true, and F for false. Sample questions are found on the page, the actual test questions begin on page two. Review the sample questions below.”
The test offers three or four silly examples, as if you don’t know how to circle a T or an F! Under the sample questions there are a few more lines of instruction that appear in smaller print.
These few lines will have a bit of ambiguous or vague terminology that, as you begin to read, is REALLY disinteresting. The last sentence however, says this:
“You were instructed to begin taking the test when you are ready. You ARE NOT READY at this time. Place your pen or pencil quietly on the desk in front of you and await further instruction from the proctor. DO NOT turn the page, DO NOT begin taking this test!”
OOPS! Four people failed to read ALL of the instructions, as they were instructed to do. SEE YA!
Dirty secrets and tricks
Now, when I share the dirty little secrets or tricks that some agencies do, I almost always include a disclaimer, and this time will be no different. I have always found this to be a very distasteful stunt to use on law enforcement candidates.
I’ve even debated the matter with other police executives and I’m not going to assert that I’m right, I’m simply saying that I don’t care for it and myself, have never employed this tactic.
With that said, I’ve seen it used at exams that I’ve assisted in proctoring. I also feel absolutely terrible for the candidates that get booted from the process, I really do. It was an honest mistake, but now, it’s an honest mistake that you’ll never make.
There are a number of test tricks used by any number of agencies. If you’d like to learn additional test tricks that are designed to flush you out of the hiring process, you may want to watch my video on The 3 Test Tricks.
I’ve compiled three common police exam testing tricks agencies use to flush out candidates. Here’s the thing, these “tricks” are nondiscriminatory. They not only flush out the poor candidates, they also flush out the good.
A perfect instance in which, preparation breeds success.