Being a police officer is not easy. To be successful, you must prepare, dedicate yourself, test effectively, prioritize, make informed decisions, perform well under pressure, be in excellent physical condition, communicate effectively, and understand the selection process.
Know the Job
What you see in movies and on TV is not always real life. Educate yourself by going on a ride-along. During a ride-along you will respond to a variety of service calls with an active patrol officer. You will see and hear everything that the officer does during your ride-along. It could be a busy night and you might get exposed to a lot of different situations, or it could be a slow night, and you may be able to ask the officer job-related questions. You may be more excited about the prospect of becoming a police officer, or you may realize that this career is not for you.
Know the Department
Take time to review the department’s website and social media to familiarize yourself with the department and what it offers. Think about what you know about our department and what led you to apply.
Know the Process
Getting a job in law enforcement takes time and patience as the hiring process is long and thorough. The Williston Police Department wants to ensure we hire only the best candidates.
The first step of the hiring process is submitting complete and accurate documents for review. This includes the Williston Police Department Employment Application and your resume with a cover letter.
After these documents are reviewed and it is determined you are a qualified applicant, you will be invited to test.
The first test is the written entrance exam. During the exam, applicants will complete the National Police Officer Select Test. A score of 70% or greater is required to pass the entrance exam.
After an applicant successfully completes the entrance exam, he or she will move on to the physical abilities test. This test is designed around job-related tasks. Applicants must complete the test in under 6 minutes 30 seconds. The test consists of navigating a balance beam and stairs, sprinting, climbing, crawling, running in a serpentine fashion, simulated wrestling with a push/pull/ twist machine, and other job-related functions.
Applicants who successfully pass both the written examination and the physical abilities test will participate in an oral interview. An oral interview with representatives from the Williston Police Department allows for personal contact with the applicant. The interview is an evaluation of the applicant’s communication skills and judgment.
Review what will be required if you are successful and given a conditional offer of employment.
Prepare for your Interview
Your chance to make a good first impression will occur sooner than you think. Officers will be taking note of your interactions, presentation, and even if your vehicle has any equipment violations.
When dressing for the interview, consider your audience and the job you are applying for. Conservative business attire works best. When it comes to appearance, research the agency’s policy. It is in your best interest to walk into an interview already meeting the agency’s appearance and grooming policy.
Prepare responses and questions. When asked to tell us about yourself, this is your opportunity to shine. What parts of your life do you feel contribute to this agency? Regardless of your answers, be prepared for follow-up questions and/or having to defend your initial answers. Interviewers will pay attention to your answers as well as body language, tone, gestures, etc.
Be honest with your answers. Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of a police officer. Be enthusiastic and confident, but sincere. Do not sell short your achievements. Tell the board about your experience with volunteer work, military service, teamwork, or anything you have done to contribute to the community.
Focus on the interview questions and listen to what you are being asked. If you do not understand the question, it is acceptable to ask clarifying questions, or ask that the question be repeated. There are no trick questions. The interviewers are looking for specific answers.
Lastly, finish strong by thanking the interviewers by name.