Entry-Level Criminal Justice Jobs: Interview Tips for Applying

The most important part in applying to entry-level criminal justice jobs is the interview.

An interview provides you the opportunity to convey why you’re the best fit for the job. One of the main purposes of interviews is to assess how suitable a job candidate is to the position. Your qualifications may look good on paper, but there are also other aspects of the job that are as important as the skill requirements.

On your part, you also need to make sure that their workplace culture and needs are right for you. An interview is an opportunity for you to get a feel of the work involved as well as the people you’ll be interacting with..

Types of Interviews

A lot of firms and government agencies will typically conduct the initial interview over the phone. Once they call you, make sure to jot down few notes during the call to serve as your reference. Organizations undertake phone interviews because it’s a way for them to weed out candidates that may not be a good fit for the position.

If you manage to impress the hiring manager during the phone interview, you will then be invited for a personal interview. Candidates usually go through a series of this kind of interviews with a number of managers and department heads. This is because organizations want to make sure you’re the right fit for all the job responsibilities the job will entail. This is why naturally, all the potential higher ups you might work with have an input on the decision to hire you.

These personal interviews will typically ask you in-depth questions about your experience,qualifications, education, and training. Expect a few questions on your character or personality as well. Common questions include asking why you think you’re the best candidate for the job, what your strengths and weak points are, or even how you respond to stress or difficult situations.

Government agencies might also run such oral interviews with their candidates. These interviews are often designed to assess your reaction to a set of certain scenarios. The process usually starts with three agents asking questions that will test your decision-making process, interpersonal skills, emotional stability, judgment and knowledge to some relevant issues.

Tips Before Going to an Interview

Once you succeed the interview phase, you’re now a step closer to nabbing the job. In order to ace the one-on-one interview, make sure to use the following tips to help lessen your anxiety and increase your chances of making a positive impression in the interview.

    • Prepare – You should never go into an interview unprepared. Don’t just be familiar with the job description, practice by answering  potential interview question as well. There are numerous of online resources that list typical interview questions. You can then have a friend or family member pose as the interviewer then have them honestly give you feedback. Their critique will show you areas where you need to improve. Practicing is also a good way to relieve your anxiety since preparing helps build your confidence to tackle the interview head on.
    • Be Professional – This is always an essential part of any interview, but one where many people still fail to do. Show up to the interview on time and appropriately. Jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, tennis shoes, and unruly hair may not help project you as competent. Make sure to turn off your phone as well. Act courteously to every person you interact with at their premises. After all, you never know who you might end up working with.

During the Interview

Here are some expert tips on how to ace your way during the actual interview.

    • Sell Yourself with Specific Accomplishments – Don’t be shy to talk about your achievements. Don’t just mention your stellar working record, let them know the work involved and what you made to stand out. For instance, you can talk about particular crime prevention programs you’ve enacted or how you’ve helped increase the output rate from your previous job. When the time to decide comes, the interviewer will remember candidates who specifically told her what they can do for the organization.
    • Show Interest – Candidates who make the effort to engage the interviewer and show interest in the job increases his or her chance of grabbing the job. Don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions about the job duties. Make sure that your nonverbal actions show openness. Smile and nod your head from time to time to show that you understand what the interviewer is saying.
    • Follow Up – Wrap up the interview by thanking the interviewer for his or her time. After which, follow-up with a brief email if you haven’t heard from them within the set period they advised.

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