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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Question Overview: This is a trick question. The best answer is no, because you don't want to hire someone who will abuse their power. But you also don't want to hire someone who will let their family get away with breaking the law. The best answer is that you would give your mother a warning and tell her to slow down.
Sample Answer: I would give my mother a warning and tell her to slow down.
Question Overview: The candidate should not be ashamed of their criminal record. They should be honest about it and explain how they've learned from their mistakes and moved on.
Sample Answer: I was convicted of a misdemeanor when I was 18. I was arrested for drunk driving. I learned my lesson and haven't had a drink since.
Question Overview: Correctional officers are not paid as much as police officers or firefighters, but they enjoy many of the same benefits. The best candidates will be able to cite specific benefits that appeal to them, such as health insurance, retirement plans and vacation time.
Sample Answer: I really like the retirement plan and the health insurance. I know I'll be taken care of when I'm older.
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.