When your name is called and you march into the oral board interview room…
You need to be a powerhouse, a virtual force to be reckoned with, so dripping with confidence that you’re almost mean! So sure of yourself that they’d be simply foolish to not give you a job offer half way through the interview, right?
Well, no, and I’m not trying to trick you, I’m suggesting that I’ve seen this attitude a gazillion times, and it absolutely never works, ever!
Or, how about we take this approach?
Maybe you should be that candidate that SO badly wants the job and you’ve portrayed that burning desire SO well, they can’t help but hire you for cryin’ out loud, if for no other reason other than the fact that you’ve convinced them of your want for this job more than anyone else! Right?
Nope, again however, far too common an attribute in the oral board setting. Panels greatly dislike both types of applicant, and we don’t hire them.
The not-so-secret, secret ingredient
Not secret? Then why doesn’t every candidate to it, use it, exploit it for all it’s worth? The harsh answer is, they think they know better and that thought is so powerful they act on that emotion, and in the end, it hurts their interview and more likely, ruins it.
Candidates that feel they must do or act in a certain manner during their interview simply aren’t prepared with proper, job winning interview skills.
I say this so often because it’s so true:
“The great majority of law enforcement applicants interview poorly”
Do you know why that is? I do, and the answer is so bland, but so true. Law enforcement candidates interview poorly because they’re people, and people in general interview poorly. Here’s the kicker, and it’s not good news for the law enforcement candidate that’s soon to face his or her own oral board interview.
Poor interview skills are accentuated during the law enforcement interview so much more than in most any other career interview. Bad answers in a law enforcement interview are like bad answers on steroids.
The best analogy I can think of is, it’s like the difference between a paper cut, and an amputation. The ingredient is basic and can be learned by most any law enforcement applicant. At the start of your interview, during it, as it’s winding down and when it ends, be likable.
Elements of Likability
Implementing the tenants of likability are easier for some people than for others, as for some, it just comes naturally. You’ve met people like these, you just like them the moment you meet them.
This is rather rare in our population. For the most part, people size one another up before they form an opinion, and this you can and must use to your benefit and advantage when you sit down at your oral board interview.
The good news is, most anyone can learn the elements of, and learn to display a nature of likability.
Likability is comprised of:
- Being conversational and appearing at ease
- Positive facial expression and smiles
- Being a good and thorough listener
The emphasis on likability can’t be overstated. The benefit of presenting likeableness, being liked and winning the affection of the oral board panel members carries with it, irreplaceable and substantive positive consequences.
When we interview a candidate, he or she can give absolutely textbook perfect answers, but in the end, if we don’t like the candidate and perceive them as unfriendly, there’s a better than not chance, they’re not getting a job offer.
Conversely, as we interview you, and you present as a nice, reasonable, intelligent person and, most importantly, we like you, two things happen.
We are FAR more likely to work a little bit to help you answer our questions. You see, if you’re a person that we like, we truly want you to give us good answers because we are fully desirous of giving you a high score.
If we don’t like you, your answer is your answer and quite frankly, we won’t care how badly you flub an answer.
On the other hand, when we like you, if your answer isn’t what we’re looking for, we may prod you a bit in order to more or less allow you the time you need to figure out what we’re looking for.
For example, when a panel member rewords a question, particularly if you don’t ask him or her to, that’s a pretty good sign that the panel member rewording the question, likes you.
They’re simply asking the question in a different way, in an attempt to get the correct answer, because they WANT you to give the correct answer.
The second very positive benefit that is often afforded a well-liked candidate that is never afforded the others, might surprise you, but it’s very true and I’ve seen it many, many times throughout the years.
Panel members are far more likely to give you a bit of leeway on a number of the answers you provide that don’t quite hit the mark. You’re almost guaranteed to land a high score on a mediocre answer if we like you, than you would on the same mediocre answer if we didn’t like you.
Make no mistake however, likability in and of itself won’t land you a job offer, but combined with proper law enforcement interview preparation, you’re going to be one tough applicant to beat.