Top Correctional Officer Interview Questions with Example Answers [2022]

Prepare for your Correctional Officer interview by going through these most asked Correctional Officer interview questions. Additionally, get access to sample answers and interviewer's expectations.

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  • Question: What would you do if you found that one of your coworkers was bringing drugs into the facility?
  • Question Overview: The best correctional officers are not only aware of the rules and regulations of the facility, they are also aware of the rules and regulations of their profession. They know that bringing drugs into a correctional facility is a serious offense and would not hesitate to report it to the appropriate authorities.

    Sample Answer: I'd turn them in. It's not worth losing my job over.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A sense of duty and honor
    • - The ability to follow rules and regulations
    • - The ability to report misconduct without fear or favor

  • Question: Why do you want to work for us?
  • Question Overview: You want to hire someone who is excited about the opportunity to work for your team. The candidate should be enthusiastic about the work and the mission of the facility.

    Sample Answer: I've heard good things about your facility, and I'm really excited to work for you.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A genuine interest in the mission of the facility
    • - A desire to work with a specific team or supervisor

  • Question: How would you handle overseeing 100+ inmates by yourself?
  • Question Overview: Correctional officers are often assigned to oversee large numbers of inmates by themselves. The best candidates are able to handle the responsibility without becoming overwhelmed or disorganized. They should be able to describe how they would handle the situation, and they should be able to tell you how they would keep track of everything that's going on.

    Sample Answer: I'd make sure I was in control of the situation and knew exactly what was going on at all times. I'd make sure I knew where every inmate was at all times.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - The ability to manage a large number of inmates
    • - The ability to keep track of everything that's going on
    • - A sense of organization

  • Question: What would you do if (name a scenario)?
  • Question Overview: You want to know how the candidate would react in a crisis situation. You want to know that they can think on their feet and make the right decision in a moment of high stress. You want to know that they are not prone to panic or rash action.

    Sample Answer: I would follow protocol and call for backup if necessary. I would try to de-escalate the situation if possible.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - The ability to remain calm and think clearly
    • - The ability to make the right decision
    • - The ability to follow protocol

  • Question: Would you shoot an inmate if you had to?
  • Question Overview: This is a difficult question to answer, but it's important that you know how the candidate would respond. You want to hear that they would only use deadly force if they had no other choice, and that they would be able to live with themselves if they had to take a life.

    Sample Answer: I would only use deadly force if I had no other choice. I would have to live with myself if I didn't.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - An understanding of the law and the ability to apply it
    • - The ability to make a split-second decision
    • - A willingness to accept responsibility for their actions

  • Question: What does a prison guard do?
  • Question Overview: The candidate should be able to explain the basic duties of a correctional officer. They should be able to tell you what they do on a typical day, how they handle the inmates and what they do to maintain order in the facility.

    Sample Answer: Every day is different. I might be escorting an inmate to medical or court, or I might be helping with a lockdown. I always make sure the inmates are safe and secure.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - The ability to explain the duties of a correctional officer
    • - A basic knowledge of the facility's operations
    • - A sense of the inmate's daily routine

  • Question: Tell me about your self.
  • Question Overview: This is a broad question that can cover a lot of ground. You want to know that the candidate is honest, responsible and mature. They should be able to tell you about their education, work history and personal interests. You should also be able to get a sense of their personality, values and goals.

    Sample Answer: I'm a college graduate with a degree in criminal justice. I've worked at three different facilities in the past five years. I like to read and go hiking on the weekends.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Honesty
    • - Responsibility
    • - Maturity
    • - A sense of humor

  • Question: Why do you want to be a correctional officer?
  • Question Overview: This is a simple question that can reveal a lot about the candidate. You want to know that they are not just looking for a job, but that they are passionate about the work they will be doing.

    Sample Answer: I want to help people who are in trouble. I want to make sure they get back on the right track.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A sense of duty
    • - A desire to help others
    • - A sense of honor
    • - duty and justice

  • Question: What would you do if there is a fight in the dormitory?
  • Question Overview: A correctional officer must be able to respond to any situation that arises in the facility, even if it's not part of the job description. The best candidates will be able to tell you what they would do in a given situation and why.

    Sample Answer: I would break it up as quickly and safely as possible. I'd try to get everyone involved to calm down and then call for backup if needed.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A willingness to take responsibility for the safety of others
    • - A sense of duty and honor
    • - The ability to remain calm under pressure

  • Question: How do you handle stressful situations?
  • Question Overview: Correctional officers are often the first responders to an emergency situation, and they must be able to remain calm and collected in the face of danger. They should also be able to explain how they've handled stressful situations in the past and what they did to remain calm.

    Sample Answer: I've never been in a situation where I felt like I couldn't handle it. I've always been able to keep my cool and think about what I need to do.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to remain calm in the face of danger
    • - Ability to remain calm in the face of conflict
    • - Ability to remain calm in the face of uncertainty

  • Question: What would you do if a prisoner was attacking an officer?
  • Question Overview: You want to know that the candidate will defend the other officer and that they will not hesitate to do so. They should also be able to explain how they would handle the situation without escalating it.

    Sample Answer: I would try to calm the inmate down and get him to stop attacking the officer. If that didn't work, I'd use proper restraint techniques.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A willingness to defend fellow officers
    • - A desire to de-escalate the situation
    • - A knowledge of proper restraint techniques

  • Question: How can you be an effective corrections officer?
  • Question Overview: The best correctional officers are those who have a genuine desire to help people. They are not there to punish inmates or to have power over them, but to rehabilitate them and facilitate their return to society. A good answer will show that the candidate is motivated by a desire to help others.

    Sample Answer: I want to be a corrections officer because I want to help people. I want to see them get out of there in one piece and, hopefully, as a better person for the experience.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A genuine desire to help people
    • - A rehabilitative philosophy of corrections
    • - The ability to treat everyone with humanity
    • - dignity and respect

  • Question: How do you feel about working 12 hours shifts?
  • Question Overview: The job of a correctional officer is not a 9-to-5 job. Officers may be called upon to work long shifts, weekends and holidays. The best candidates will be able to explain how they've handled this kind of schedule in the past and will be able to tell you how they plan to handle it in the future.

    Sample Answer: I've worked 12-hour shifts before, and I'm used to them. I'm a night owl, so I don't mind working at night.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A willingness to work long hours
    • - An ability to work weekends and holidays
    • - A history of punctuality

  • Question: Why do you want to be part of the FLDOC team?
  • Question Overview: You want to know that the candidate is not only capable of doing the job but also wants to do it. This isn't a job for everyone, and you want to know that the person you hire will be happy in their work and committed to the mission of the department.

    Sample Answer: I want to help people who have made mistakes in their lives. I want to help them get back on track and become productive members of society.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A genuine interest in the mission of corrections
    • - A desire to help people
    • - A sense of duty and honor

  • Question: Tell me about a time you had to work with a difficult co-worker, how did you overcome working with that co-worker?
  • Question Overview: The best correctional officers are able to work with everyone on the team. They can get along with their peers and supervisors and are not prone to interpersonal conflict. The best answer will tell you that the candidate has a history of working well with others and is able to resolve conflicts without escalating them.

    Sample Answer: I had a co-worker who was always late and didn't do their share of the work. I talked to them about it and we worked out a schedule that worked for both of us.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to get along with others
    • - Willingness to resolve conflicts peacefully
    • - A history of working well with others

  • Question: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Question Overview: This is a classic interview question that gives you insight into the candidate's self-awareness and maturity. A good answer will be honest and will show that the candidate is aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.

    Sample Answer: I'm a hard worker, but I'm also a perfectionist. I can get frustrated when things don't go my way.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Honesty
    • - Self-awareness
    • - Maturity

  • Question: Would you be comfortable working with individuals who have committed very serious crimes?
  • Question Overview: Working in a correctional facility can be emotionally taxing. The officers must be able to separate the inmates from their crimes and treat them with respect and humanity. The best candidates will have experience working with people who have committed serious crimes and will be able to explain how they were able to do so.

    Sample Answer: I've worked with people who have committed serious crimes before, and I was able to treat them like human beings. I think it's important to remember that they're still people, even if they've done terrible things.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A rehabilitative philosophy of corrections
    • - The ability to treat everyone with humanity
    • - dignity and respect
    • - A sense of honor
    • - duty and justice

  • Question: Why do you think we should hire you?
  • Question Overview: You want to hire a correctional officer who is confident in their abilities and eager to work for you. The candidate should be able to explain why they are the best person for the job and how they will contribute to the team.

    Sample Answer: I'm a hard worker and I'm always on time. I've been told that I'm good at diffusing tense situations, and I'm always willing to learn new things.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A strong work ethic
    • - A desire to contribute to the team
    • - A sense of duty and honor