Best Sheriffs Interview Questions
Q – 1 What’s your greatest weakness?
Ans- I’ve never been very comfortable with public speaking – which as you know, can be a hindrance in this field. Realizing this was a problem, I asked my previous department if I could enroll in a speech workshop. I took the class, and was able to overcome my lifelong fear. Since then, I’ve given several safety presentations to school children across the county. I still don’t love it, but no one else can tell!
Q – 2 Sheriff what salary are you looking for?
Ans- I’m more interested in the role itself than the pay. That said, I’d expect to be paid the appropriate range for this job, based on my five years of experience. I also think a fair salary would bear in mind the high cost of living here in New York City.
Q – 3 How to explain your gap in employment?
Ans- My work is important to me, so I won’t be satisfied with any old job. Instead of rushing to accept the first thing that comes my way, I’m taking my time and being selective to make sure my next position is the right one.
Q – 4 Why do you want to work here as Sheriff?
Ans- This is one tool interviewers use to see if you have done your homework. You should never attend an interview unless you know about the company, its direction and the industry in which it plays. If you have done your research, this question gives you an opportunity to show initiative and demonstrate how your experience and qualifications match the company’s needs.
Q – 5 What are your salary expectations as Sheriff?
Ans- This is one of the hardest questions, particularly for those with little experience. The first thing to do before going to your interview is to research the salary range in your field to get an idea of what you should be making. Steer clear of discussing salary specifics before receiving a job offer.
Let the interviewer know that you will be open to discussing fair compensation when the time comes. If pressed for a more specific answer, always give a range, rather than a specific number.
Q – 6 Tell me about a strength you have?
Ans- This isn’t something like “I can benchpress 500 pounds.” What about your character is illustrated in a trait. Are you a hard worker? Are you full of integrity and honor? Do you have a personal story that illustrates that trait in concrete terms.
Q – 7 What are your greatest weaknesses as Sheriff?
Ans- The secret to answering this question is being honest about a weakness, but demonstrating how you have turned it into a strength.
For example, if you had a problem with organization in the past, demonstrate the steps you took to more effectively keep yourself on track. This will show that you have the ability to recognize aspects of yourself that need improvement, and the initiative to make yourself better.
Q – 8 Why do you want be a police officer?
Ans- This question is seeking to clarify why the individual is applying for a position within the department and if the individual has realistic expectations regarding a law enforcement career. As they listen to the candidate’s response, the assessors will be seeking to identify those persons who may be thrill seekers or have ulterior motives.
When responding, broad, idealistic statements such as “I want to make a difference” or “Giving back to the community” should be avoided. Rather, this question should elicit a personalized statement that represents their motivation for applying with the department. For example, some candidates may seek a job that allows them to work outside and to be involved in different activities everyday.
In other instances, the officer may have experienced a negative event such as a family member who died as a result of domestic violence or close friends who destroyed their lives with drugs. When responding, the individual should describe his/her motivation to be an officer and how working in the agency will help satisfy this need.
Q – 9 Why are you leaving your current job as Sheriff?
Ans- I’ve learned a lot from my current role, but now I’m looking for a new challenge, to broaden my horizons and to gain new skill-sets – all of which I see potential for in this department.
Q – 10 Sheriff tell us about yourself?
Ans- This introductory statement serves as a smooth transition into more focused inquiries and provides the candidate with an opportunity to provide the interview board with information that will set them apart. Too often candidates begin their response with a long recitation of their name, age, and other mundane information the assessors already know.
The best response begins with an appreciation for being allowed to participate in the interview followed by a short description of work and volunteer experience and advanced education completed. The goal is to grab the raters’ attention by demonstrating how the individual will make an exceptional officer who adds value to the organization.
Q – 11 Describe a problem situation and how you solved it?
Ans- Sometimes it is hard to come up with a response to this request, particularly if you are coming straight from college and do not have professional experience. Interviewers want to see that you can think critically and develop solutions, regardless of what kind of issue you faced.
Even if your problem was not having enough time to study, describe the steps you took to prioritize your schedule. This will demonstrate that you are responsible and can think through situations on your own.
Q – 12 Do you have any questions or comments?
Ans- This is not the time to ask about salaries and benefits. The candidate should have determined this type of information from other sources such as the department’s website, speaking with the recruiter or staff in human resources.
Rather, the individual should use this as an opportunity to give a 30- to 45-second summary of his/her strong attributes and how he/she will be a valued contributor to the department. Thank the assessors for taking the time to meet with him/her and a willingness to meet at anytime to continue in the selection process.
Q – 13 Why do you want to work as Sheriff?
Ans- I have always appreciated and admired those who put their lives on the line to protect our comminutues. My interest really piqued in law enforcement after I witnessed a domestic dispute and watched the responding officers diffuse the situation. I heard the calling as I saw the officers control the situation and remove one of the parties from harm’s way. It was then I knew that this is what I was meant to do.
Q – 14 Please tell me when were you most satisfied in your job?
Ans- I’m a people person. I was always happiest – and most satisfied – when I was interacting with community residents, making sure I was able to meet their needs and giving them the best possible comfort in a tough situation.
It was my favorite part of the job, and it showed. Part of the reason I’m interested in this job is that I know I’d have even more interaction with the public, on an even more critical level.
Q – 15 What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Ans- The secret to this question is being specific and selecting an accomplishment that relates to the position. Even if your greatest accomplishment is being on a championship high school basketball team, opt for a more professionally relevant accomplishment. Think of the qualities the company is looking for and develop an example that demonstrates how you can meet the company’s needs.
Q – 16 Tell us about a major accomplishment you have made with a team of co-workers?
Ans- Despite the perception portrayed in the media, law enforcement is not about the lone hero. Rather, officers are required to coordinate their activities throughout the shift as they respond to and investigate activities.
During this time, they not only work with a partner, but other officers on their own shift. In addition, they are frequently required to interact with officers in other divisions as a well as other criminal justice agencies, local, state and federal organizations, and private companies.
The successful candidate should be able to describe not only how they worked well with others to successfully accomplish a goal, but also how they played an active part in the process.
Q – 17 What did you like least about your job as Sheriff?
Ans- There was nothing about my last job that I hated, but I guess there were some things I liked less than others. My previous role involved traveling at least twice a month. While I do love to travel, twice a month was a little exhausting – I didn’t like spending quite so much time out of the department. I’m happy to see that this role involves a lot less travel.
Q – 18 How would your friends describe your attitude?
Ans- My friends would probably say that I’m extremely persistent – I’ve never been afraid to keep going back until I get what I want. In college I worked as a program developer, recruiting keynote speakers for major conferences. I usually got one rejection after another – this was just the nature of the job.
But I really wanted the big players – so I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I kept going back to them every time there was a new company on board, or some new value proposition.
Eventually, many of them actually said “yes” – the program turned out to be so great that we doubled our attendees from the year before. A lot of people might have given up after the first rejection, but it’s just not in my nature. If I know something is possible, I have to keep trying until I get it.
Q – 19 How would you describe (needed sheriff and deputy sheriff or your) work style?
Ans- My work style matching exactlty what cashier job requires by: being honest and ethical, maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations, being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations, accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations, being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Q – 20 Are you prepared to work weekends, holidays, unscheduled overtime and night shifts?
Ans- Law enforcement agencies operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a result, employees are required to work shifts and at unusual times. This question is designed to place the candidate on notice they will be expected to work during these times and achieve acknowledgment of this from the candidate. If a candidate is not willing to work these times, law enforcement is not a good career choice.
Q – 21 What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn?
Ans- When I was in college, I took an art class to supplement my curriculum. I didn’t take it very seriously, and assumed that, compared to my Engineering classes, it would be a walk in the park. My failing grades at midterm showed me otherwise.
I’d even jeopardized my scholarship status. I knew I had to get my act together. I spent the rest of the semester making up for it, ended up getting a decent grade in the class. I learned that no matter what I’m doing, I should strive to do it to the best of my ability. Otherwise, it’s not worth doing at all.
Q – 22 Why do you want to work for my agency?
Ans- Here’s where something more than the vague “it’s the best department” is appropriate. You need to be more specific. First hand knowledge of the agency that you have gained from doing ride-alongs or talking to the officers is crucial to helping you to come up with an answer that is truthful and works.
For example, maybe, after riding with a variety of agencies in your area, you were particularly impressed at how officers on a particular shift handled people at calls for police service with dignity and respect which reflects how you want to practice the art of policing.
Or perhaps you found that the agency is heavy into DUI and traffic enforcement, which has meaning for you since a relative died from a drunk driver crash.
Q – 23 Explain the abilities you have in order to work with us as sheriff and deputy sheriff?
Ans- I have the ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem, communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand, combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events), listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences, apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Q – 24 Give us an example of a situation when you had to deal with someone who you perceived was being unreasonable, irate or hostile toward you?
Ans- This is a behaviorally based question that is founded upon the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. These types of questions focus on competencies that are critical for performing as an officer such as conflict resolution, problem solving, teamwork, and integrity.
When responding to a behavioral question, the candidate should provide a three-part response that includes a description of the situation, the action the candidate took in response to the situation, and the results of their action.
For example, in response to this question, a candidate may describe how he/she was working at a fast-food establishment. A customer came in who was very angry and confronted him/her about ketchup being on his hamburger when he specifically asked for ‘no ketchup.’
The angry customer went on to make a number of unflattering comments about the quality of service he had received and the inadequacies of the staff. As customer voiced his complaint, he became very loud and was starting to disturb the other customers.
The candidate respectfully responded, “Yes, Sir. I remember you placing your order and the request. I am sorry for the mix-up. Either the cooks did not see the request or I picked up the wrong items. Regardless, I am very sorry.
I will fix the mistake and include a couple of desert pies for the inconvenience.” Before he left, the customer apologized for being rude and thanked the candidate for his/her efforts to resolve the issue.
There are an unlimited number of responses to this question. But in this example, the candidate spoke of a situation when a person who was angry and acting very hostile. He/she initiated action to address the problem and resolve the conflict. In the end, the result was a happy customer.
Q – 25 What are the skills required for sheriff and deputy sheriff employee in order to success in his work?
Ans- Talking to others to convey information effectively, Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times, Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems, Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do, Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Q – 26 What have you done to prepare for a career in law enforcement?
Ans- Many candidates may not be able to provide a clear-cut answer to this question. For example, they may have known they wanted to be part of something important, but were not sure about law enforcement as a possible career choice. Regardless, they worked hard in school, developed a strong character, and avoided behavior that would be perceived as bad by a potential employer.
As they matured, they recognized law enforcement was a viable career for them. Others may have taken a more direct path including participation in law enforcement Explorers, criminal justice classes in college, and possibly service in the military.
In the end, assessors are seeking to determine whether applying with the department was a passing fancy, to simply get a job, or a step toward a meaningful and rewarding career.
Q – 27 Foolish Mistakes Sheriff Job Seekers Do:
Ans- Hiring managers have identified some of the top mistakes job candidates make. Read on about the worst qualities you can display in an interview and real-life examples.
1. Poor Communication Skills
A candidate who has bad grammar, talks too much, or does not listen is a red flag. Being too open during the interview is a killer, too. You should be candid, but don’t spill your guts with all your personal problems. And think before you speak – one candidate at a drug treatment facility asked if they drug-tested and if there was advance notice.
2. Poor Performance or Preparation
Yes, there are job seekers who don’t prepare or even know what job they’re interviewing for. Physical ticks like lack of eye contact or extreme gestures and movement turned off employers. Other candidates simply flaked out – answering a cell phone, eating a sandwich, or jumping up out of the chair and falling down.
3. Negative Attitude Displayed
Hiring managers are turned off by unenthusiastic, bored or arrogant behavior. Using profanity, acting cocky, or putting down a previous boss will quickly turn off an interviewer. One 37 year-old candidate said the only reason he seeking a job was because his mother wanted him to.
4. Inappropriate Appearance
Improper dress and grooming can jeopardize an interview, too. Ladies, this is not a pick-up opportunity, don’t dress like you’re going clubbing. Guys, jeans and a t-shirt are not acceptable. Countless hiring managers cited instances of candidates who obviously did not bathe. Think that’s bad? Said one employer, “One candidate did not wear shoes to the interview. How you can forget your shoes?” Oh, and please be sober.
5. Lying on Resume or During Interview
Do you have to be told that dishonesty is a no-no? “One guy mentioned his arrest after completing on an application that he had never been arrested,” said one hiring manager. And just in case you weren’t sure, stealing from a prospective employer is also frowned upon in an interview.
Q – 28 Your supervisor gives you a direct order that you know is against department policy. What do you do? What if the order was against the law?
Ans- The purpose of these questions is to measure the candidate’s judgment and moral resolute. When deciding the appropriate response, it is common to be torn between violating department policy and potentially being insubordinate. Operational policy is designed to give officers direction regarding acceptable behavior in compliance with established legal and professional standards.
History is filled with instances of individuals who claimed they “were just following orders.” The correct answer is to advise the supervisor that he/she perceives the directive to be a violation of department policy.
This gives the supervisor the opportunity to clarify the issue or change the directive. If the supervisor insists on violating policy, the officer must decide between refusing and complying with an improper directive. When responding to the follow-up question regarding an order that violates the law, the candidate should always respond that he/she would not follow the order.
Q – 29 What are the main job duties and responsibilities of sheriff and deputy sheriff employee?
Ans- Sheriff and deputy sheriff responsibilities are to execute arrest warrants, locating and taking persons into custody; investigate illegal or suspicious activities; record daily activities and submit logs and other related reports and paperwork to appropriate authorities; verify that the proper legal charges have been made against law offenders; notify patrol units to take violators into custody or to provide needed assistance or medical aid;
Patrol and guard courthouses, grand jury rooms, or assigned areas to provide security, enforce laws, maintain order, and arrest violators; drive vehicles or patrol specific areas to detect law violators, issue citations, and make arrests; take control of accident scenes to maintain traffic flow, to assist accident victims, and to investigate causes; question individuals entering secured areas to determine their business, directing and rerouting individuals as necessary;
Transport or escort prisoners and defendants en route to courtrooms, prisons or jails, attorneys’ offices, or medical facilities; serve statements of claims, subpoenas, summonses, jury summonses, orders to pay alimony, and other court orders; locate and confiscate real or personal property, as directed by court order; supervise law enforcement staff, such as jail staff, officers, and deputy sheriffs; place people in protective custody; manage jail operations and tend to jail inmates.
Q – 30 What are the knowledge elements you obtained from your education, training and work experience would support your sheriff and deputy sheriff career?
Ans- The Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions, laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process, the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words.
Rules of composition, and grammar, human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders, principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Q – 31 If selected, the department will make a huge investment in preparing you to serve as an officer. Why should we select you over other candidates?
Ans- The candidate has no way of knowing what skills the other candidates may possess and should acknowledge it. The purpose of this question is to determine if the department will receive an adequate return-on-investment from the required training they must provide for a new employee. When preparing for this question, view the issue from the perspective of an employer.
Departments do not want to hire an officer only to learn he/she is incompetent, lazy, or are looking to move on to another agency. The candidate should be able to describe how he/she has always been a dedicated and hard worker with other employers.
Candidates who are highly motivated may describe how they continuously seek to enhance their knowledge, skills, performance, and do not expect the department to always provide this development. They may also describe a desire to stay with the department because of ties to family and friends in the community and department.
Q – 32 Why should we hire you as Sheriff?
Ans- Here’s the chance to really sell yourself. You need to briefly and succinctly lay out your strengths, qualifications and what you can bring to the table. Be careful not to answer this question too generically, however. Nearly everyone says they are hardworking and motivated. Set yourself apart by telling the interviewer about qualities that are unique to you.
Q – 33 Why did you leave your last job as Sheriff?
Ans- Even if your last job ended badly, be careful about being negative in answering this question. Be as diplomatic as possible. If you do point out negative aspects of your last job, find some positives to mention as well. Complaining endlessly about your last company will not say much for your attitude.
Q – 34 Basic Sheriff Interview Questions:
► Name a time when you had to choose between one priority and another, why you chose one over the other, and the impact it had on you?
► Why do you want to be a police officer in (city)?
► What do you like about our city?
► Name a time when you went above and beyond in a job you had to do?
► What is the least favorite aspect of your job that you are currently employed in?
► Everyone has something in their background. What is in your background that you would like to make us aware of?
► Some will just be mentioned to throw you off and see how you react.
► Talk about a current event happening in the world today?
► Name the last book you read, and talk about why you liked it?
► Name a time of stress in your life, what was the cause of it, how did you handle it while at work/home, and how did you learn from it?
► Name some issues you think are facing law enforcement today?
► As you know, we have a lot of qualified candidates. What do you have to offer over other candidates?
Q – 35 Police officer/Deputy sheriff Interview Questions:
► Why are you seeking a career as a police officer/deputy sheriff?
► What education & experience do you possess that has prepared you for this career?
► Describe the worst situation you have encountered in a work situation. How did you deal with the problem?
► How do you feel about carrying a gun and possibly having to take someone’s life in the line of duty?
► What are the sources of stress in your personal & work life? How you do manage this stress?
► What is your pattern of alcohol use?
► What types of interpersonal conflict have you experienced in your work life?
► What steps did you take to resolve the issue?
► In what area are your looking for a change or self improvement?
► What personal qualities and traits do you possess that would make you well-suited for a law enforcement career?
► What types of situations cause you to feel discouraged? Anxious? Irritated?
► When have you had to take charge of a situation to quickly resolve a problem or crisis?
► As a police officer, you pull a speeding car. It’s a friend of yours and you think he may have been drinking. How would you handle the situation?
Q – 36 Sheriff And Deputy Sheriff Interview Questions:
► Tell about yourself and why you think you are successful sheriff and deputy sheriff?
► Why do you like to work as sheriff and deputy sheriff?
► What could you do not like to work as sheriff and deputy sheriff?
► What are your future steps after experience you’ll gain from your sheriff and deputy sheriff job?
► As sheriff and deputy sheriff, what training courses or extra education that you think will improve your work performance?
► What salary do you expect you’ll get from being sheriff and deputy sheriff employee?
Q – 37 Another officer and you make a traffic stop in which the driver is subsequently arrested. During the vehicle inventory, a large sum of money is located under the seat. Your partner indicates he is going to keep the money. What do you do?
Ans- This scenario is designed to evaluate the candidate’s ability to identify unethical behavior and demonstrate his/her ability to withstand negative peer pressure. The candidate should direct his/her partner to properly record the money on the inventory and turn it in. If he/she fails to do so, his/her actions will be immediately reported to a supervisor.
Q – 38 Sheriff where do you see yourself in five years?
Ans- In five years I’d like to have an even better understanding of what it takes to be a good officer. Also, I really enjoy being the first to a scene, and I work very well under pressure. Ultimately, I’d like to be in a commander-type position, where I can use my organizational skills and industry knowledge to benefit the people working with me, and those we are there to help.
Q – 39 Why do you want to be a police officer/deputy sheriff/trooper?
Ans- (depending on the type of agency you are applying to) Try to avoid the cliché answers of “I want to serve and protect” or “I want to give back to the community.” Cynical panel members are on the lookout for people who tell them what they think they want to hear.
I advise people, when you picture yourself as an officer, what is it that you are doing? If it is helping small children and being role model because the same thing occurred to you when you were a child interacting with a neighbor who was an officer, then say so.
If it’s because you’ve tried the indoor, office cubicle type of career path and you are looking for a more varied, outdoor type of excitement, then say so. If it’s because you want to help bust drug dealers because your best friend from high school died after graduation from an overdose, then say so.
Q – 40 Describe a time when you did not get along with a co-worker?
Ans- I used to lock heads with a fellow officer. We disagreed over a lot of things – from civilian interaction to who got what shifts to how to speak with a victim’s family. Our personalities just didn’t mesh. After three months of arguing, I pulled her aside and asked her to lunch.
At lunch, we talked about our differences and why we weren’t getting along. It turns out, it was all about communication. We communicated differently and once we knew that, we began to work well together. I really believe that talking a problem through with someone can help solve any issue.
Q – 41 Why do you want to work for our police department?
Ans- This is an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate sincere interest in the department and preparation for the interview. The candidate should be able to give specific reasons how being hired by the agency will fulfill a need for him/her. For example, larger organizations typically offer more opportunities to have a long and diverse career.
As they respond to the question, it is important for the candidates to demonstrate they recognize that they have to ‘pay their dues’ and learn the fundamentals in the patrol division before moving to other units.
Candidates may choose to join departments serving smaller communities because they have family ties to the community and do not have any desire to move to a larger department. In addition, smaller agencies do not provide the same opportunities to specialize as larger departments, but officers are more likely to be involved in a variety of activities every day.
Q – 42 What motivates you in Sheriff?
Ans- I’ve always been motivated by the challenge – in my last role, I was responsible for training our new recruits in firearm care, and wouldn’t stop teaching until each recruit passed the course. I know that this job is very fast-paced and I’m more than up for the challenge. In fact, I thrive on it.
Q – 43 Why should I hire you as Sheriff?
Ans- I’ve been a law enforcement officer for the past five years – my chief has said time and time again that without me, the department wouldn’t function as well as it currently does. I’ve also taken the time to educate myself on some of the non-standard techniques that may come in handy while on duty.
I can react quickly in hectic situations, and can handle the responsibilities of a leadership role. What’s good enough for most people is never really good enough for me.
Q – 44 What do you think of your previous chief?
Ans- My last chief taught me the importance of time management – he didn’t pull any punches, and was extremely driven. His no-nonsense attitude pushed me to work harder, and to meet goals I never even thought were possible.
Q – 45 Tell this panel about yourself?
Ans- This is an open-ended statement, usually posed in the beginning, and it gives you a terrific opportunity to create that great first impression. It is also the point at which many people turn the panel members off. In the words of my good friend and recruiting guru Commander Mark Anderson, of the Altamonte Springs, FL, Police Department: “Tell me the time, don’t build me a clock.”