Top Correctional Officer Interview Questions with Example Answers [2020]

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.

Search Correctional Officer Questions:


  • 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: 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: 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: How do you treat the prisoners?
  • Question Overview: You want to know that the candidate will treat the inmates with respect and humanity. This is not a job for someone who wants to be a disciplinarian or who wants to exert power over others. The best correctional officers are those who are motivated by a desire to rehabilitate and help the inmates.

    Sample Answer: I treat everyone with respect. I'm there to help everyone complete their time and get out of there in one piece and, hopefully, as a better person for the experience.

      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: Will you engage an inmate who is fighting a correctional officer in a pod.
  • Question Overview: You want to know that the candidate will not hesitate to intervene in a situation that is dangerous or out of control. The candidate should be able to explain how they would assess the situation and determine whether they should intervene.

    Sample Answer: I would try to get everyone out of the pod first, then I'd try to get the inmates apart. If that didn't work, I'd have no choice but to get involved.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A willingness to intervene
    • - A sense of duty to protect fellow officers and inmates
    • - The ability to assess a situation and make a decision

  • 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