Depending on where you are applying, preference usually goes to those candidates with a second language or more. In the United States, Spanish is preferred as a second language where in Canada, French is the preferred second language. If you have additional language skills, ensure that they are highlighted on your resume. You can keep your answer brief and be sure to rate your skills in each language as beginner, conversational, or fluent.
"I am fluent in English and conversational in Spanish. I understand the importance of speaking a second language, and for that reason, I am also taking courses in French. Currently, I am a beginner."
"I am fluent in English and am currently practicing Spanish. I would rate myself as a beginner in Spanish. Are there any other languages you prefer that I study?"
"As an experienced border patrol officer, I understand the importance of speaking multiple languages. I am fluent in English, French, and Spanish. Currently, I am teaching myself Cantonese."
A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and those were accompanied by a note from my doctor. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."
"I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."
On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?
"I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."
"I will rate myself an eight because I value communication but, just like most people, I have things to learn. Some ways that I ensure clear communication are by utilizing multiple methods of delivering messages, and I give ample time for questions before implementing changes."
"I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator, so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure."
Do you feel that you are a sincere person or do you have room for growth? This could be a tricky question as nobody is always 100% honest. Answer to the best of your ability and back your reply by speaking about your ethics.
"I would love to give myself a 10/10 for honesty but truthfully - nobody is 100% honest all of the time. I will give myself an nine because I always do my best to be as honest as possible."
"I value honesty at a ten on a scale of 1 to 10. You can call my references who will support this."
"I put a heavy focus on honesty and trustworthiness in the workplace, as well as in my personal life. Because I strive for complete honesty, I will rate myself as a 10/10. My values are solid."
The interviewer would like to know how you can win your new co-workers over. Workplace relationships are essential to nurture. Talk to the interviewer about how you plan to earn the trust of your new co-workers, should you be offered the position.
"I feel that the best way to earn the trust of my co-workers is to be helpful, always do what I promise, and be honest with them at all times. Strong relationships have to be built on these principles."
"Here are some ways that you can build trust with your coworkers: - Show common courtesy. Say hello, hold the elevator door, bring coffees now and then - Be respectful in your communication, avoid over cc'ing unnecessarily in emails - Avoid being a distraction, and respect the use of their time - Respect their personal space and the line between work life and personal life - Always ask if they have time before diving into a conversation - Try to find the answer to your questions before running to ask a manager or co-worker - Connect with them on LinkedIn but avoid more personal social media platforms - Treat everyone the same, regardless of their job title - Do not complain about your job to your coworkers - Reach out to new employees and make them feel comfortable - Own up to your mistakes and fix them - Be timely with your followups and meet your deadlines "
"Trust is something you earn over time with people. I will lead by example and be transparent in my communications. Trust happens when people deliver on doing what they say they will do. I take the approach of under promising and over delivering to accelerate the trust process. With strong trust, teams can accomplish great things together."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of questions you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
"I do have a couple of questions. First, when would you like to have this position filled? And second, are there any required qualifications that you do not see on my resume?"
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part of working here? - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me? "
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
This question challenges you to think about how you act as a leader in your daily life. Even if you're not leading a team, you can still demonstrate the qualities of a leader! Give an example of how you coached a coworker who was having difficulty preparing for a big presentation. Maybe you gave them confidence in their strengths by encouraging them, or perhaps you offered some helpful hints. You can be a motivator and a confident communicator in any situation at work!
"Just last month I was asked to lead a shift when my superior officer was unexpectedly away. I took charge for two days, and the experience was quite positive. I believe the biggest success factor was that I tried to emulate his leadership style and did ask his help when I wasn't sure what to do. I feel this experience prepared me for a leadership role. I am excited to take on a team lead role again."
"Yes, I do. It's so important always to be leading by example, and you never know who is watching. That applies to stepping foot in the unit or behaving on social media when you are tied to law enforcement. No matter what the situation or where you find yourself, to be a real leader, you act accordingly."
"I feel I'm always leading by example, with or without any managerial authority. I always try to come in a bit early and stay a bit late, pitching in and going the extra mile whenever possible. I feel this makes you just a good teammate and human, not to mention sets you up for a strong career trajectory. That way, when the opportunity for a true leadership role presents itself, I have positioned myself to be top of mind for the promotion."
Are you someone who can handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to maintain pressure in the workplace.
"I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
"I understand that this job is stressful and I feel prepared for that. I will be sure to discuss any excess stressors with my supervisor."
"Stress is part of any demanding job, and I embrace it to the fullest. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."
The interviewer would like to know if you consider yourself a patient individual. Impatience can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in coworkers, so it is essential that you can showcase your ability to remain patient and professional in workplace situations. Patience is indeed a virtue but can be challenging to maintain when it seems that situations continue to push your buttons. Show the interviewer that you possess the ability to keep your cool in challenging conditions.
"I do consider myself a patient person. I would rate myself an eight /10 for patience because I certainly have room to grow, but I do have a very long fuse. If I need a boost of patience in a challenging situation, I will take a step away, count to 10 and then return to the situation. I recently read a book, 'The Power of Patience' by M.J. Ryan which also gave me some excellent new methods for coping with stress."
"I am fairly patient, with other people. I tend to be impatient with myself if I am not finishing a project as fast as I think I should be. But, I am learning to be patient with myself as well. I find that breathing exercises, and closing my eyes for a few seconds can help me regroup."
"I indeed can be patient, but I would say it's more of a learned skill than something innate. That said, I have worked to become more patient and not demonstrate my frustration or impatience with others. I know when others are pushing me, it's counterproductive, so I remind myself of that when dealing with others. Also, I know when I'm running out of patience and am proactive asking for some time to regroup as appropriate. "
The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader. Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with your superior officer from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time. Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading.
"I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all about how you maintain respect for each other despite the difference in opinion."
"Yes, I think it is possible! What makes a great team member is not that they agree with everything but the level of respect and positive thought that goes into the person's communication style. It's okay to disagree you just have to communicate your thoughts professionally."
"I have been lucky enough to have had positive relationships with all of my superior officers. With that said, so long as there is mutual respect, there should never be an issue. I don't need to agree with everything that is said to effectively do my job."
The interviewer would like to know if you are satisfied with your interview performance. Be sure to show confidence in the areas that you know have gone well. If you need to clarify an answer, then you can certainly ask to do so! If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: "I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"If you feel that your performance in the interview is not going well: "I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more that I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."
"I feel confident about our discussion today and am looking forward to the next steps in the interview process."
The interviewer would like to know the driving force behind your choice to be in border patrol. You can give an answer that allows some personal insight if you wish. The interviewer must see that you have a love for this career path. Your passion is what will keep you in this career for years to come. Show the interviewer that you are committed.
"I grew up with a father in law enforcement, and it was a career path that I always knew would be mine one day. Growing up, I loved to see the pride in my dad's eyes when he came home after a shift. I heard stories of him helping people and taking steps to make our community and country safer. I want to do the same."
"I knew that I wanted to be in law enforcement and being a border patrol officer seems to offer the variety that I am seeking. Also, I understand there is more rapid potential for promotion in this field than city law enforcement, for example."
"I chose a career as a border patrol officer after working for the city police for a couple of years. I wanted the change of pace and the regular shifts so that I could spend time with my husband and small children more often."
Stress can often be a regular part of the day to day work experience when working as a border patrol officer. Talk to the interviewer about which areas of your career are the most stressful. Ensure that your answer does not include a factor that would make you appear unfit for the position. (IE: a border patrol officer should not find paperwork to be the most stressful part of the job).
"The part of my career in border patrol that brings me the most stress is when team productivity is behind due to lack of hustle on my teams part. I like to be on time with my schedule and casework."
"I probably bring myself the most stress because of my drive and desire to be and do the best I can be. I manage this by focusing my energy on productive activities that are good for my career."
"Border patrol is an overall stressful career. I believe that the most stressful part of the career comes from the unknown. You don't know who you will come across every day, or the type of danger to which you will be exposed. Although this is stressful, it's also what keeps me on my toes and interested in this career path. I could never work an office job again!"
Do you feed your mind on a regular basis? What kind of literature do you prefer and why? Talk to the interviewer about a book that you are currently reading. If you are not currently reading a book - talk about one that has impacted you the most.
"Currently I am reading 'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday. It is a book about ambition, resilience, and success. I feel that every law enforcement official should read it - it comes highly recommended."
"I am in the final stages of completing my Bachelor's degree so, at the moment, my textbooks are getting my attention full time! Otherwise, I enjoy reading crime-based fiction. My favorite author is Agatha Christie."
"I read a lot of books in my time away from work. Currently, I am diving into the work of Tony Robbins. I find him inspiring, and I like his direct approach."
Perhaps you have led a team at work, been a coach for a youth sports team, or were on the advisory board for a non-profit organization. You should always be prepared to show the interviewer that you have a natural ability to lead others. Whether you have led a group of 500 or a team of 2, you must display to the interviewer that you are capable of handling the responsibility that comes with being a leader and mentor. Talk about your desire to be a leader. Share with the interviewer that you strive to be a role model for others. Explain that you jump at the opportunity to lead groups, encourage your counterparts, and be a face of the organization when challenges arise.
"In my current department, I am the president of the community volunteer committee. I love that I have the opportunity to encourage employee engagement while being a positive influence on the workplace culture. I am a natural leader because I start with leading by example. As a leader, I make myself available to others who need mentor-ship, a bit of assistance in adjusting to their role, or just a listening ear when they've had a tough day. I am confident in my leadership abilities."
"I do see myself as a leader. I currently show my leadership skills by being a mentor to brand new patrol officers, showing them some things they can do to advance their career. Because I am newer to my career but have advanced quickly, I feel that my perspective is valuable for recruits."
"Yes, I see myself as a leader. Not only have I managed a team in two prior roles, but also I believe that leadership does not always equate to management. I am sure to lead at all times by providing the best model of enthusiasm and work ethic."
When you work in border patrol, you will often be asked to change your priorities on a dime. How do you react to this kind of shift in priorities? Assure the interviewer that you can respond in a professional manner when it comes to sudden changes.
"Border patrol is a very reactionary career path, so I am accustomed to being asked to shift my priorities often. It could mean a change in my work schedule, being asked to work overtime, or being asked to attend another more urgent case. I have been able to adapt very well to these frequent, sudden changes."
"In my current role, our schedule is changed on a regular basis and always at short notice. I have been able to adapt very well to these frequent, sudden changes."
"As the senior officer in my unit, I have to respond to some unexpected changes and cases on short notice. I also have to change my plans to incorporate new team member training, or training on ideas, processes, and procedures."
Talking about your most significant accomplishment will give the interviewer a definite idea of where you place your values. It will also show the interviewer more about your personality, how you like to be motivated, and how to coach you in the future. It is okay to brag a little bit when answering this question. Show that you are proud of yourself and your career accomplishments within law enforcement.
"The greatest accomplishment in my border patrol career was being recognized by my peers with the Humanity Award last year. I try to be very involved in my community, and It felt great to be recognized for my dedication."
"I am still new to my career; however, I am very proud of my grades achieved while obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Criminal Studies. I graduated top of my class while working part-time in a security role."
"I would have to say my greatest accomplishment was increasing drug seizures by 25% in the past three years in my post. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to lead by example, and train other junior officers to look more carefully for the signs of drug use and smuggling."
This question is for the interviewer to gain greater insight into your personality and whether or not you will be a fit with their team. Talk about your ability to maintain your cool on the job. This is also a great time to offer up some references.
"I can maintain my cool and do not easily lose my temper. In my current position, I am best known for being even-keeled. If you'd like to call my references, they will attest to this as well. In law enforcement, I believe it is essential to maintain a calm, in-control, presence at all times."
"I have never had a temper; however, I do not hesitate to stick up for myself when needed. I do keep myself in check during stressful situations."
"I lost my temper a couple of times earlier in my career as a border patrol officer. As my career progressed, and I gained more experience, my fuse became longer. I can keep myself in check during my shifts, even in the most stressful of situations."
For obvious reasons, you must have a clean drug history before you can work as a border patrol officer. Your answer should be kept very simple, and 100% honest. If you have taken or sold illegal drugs in the past: "I hung out with the wrong crowd for a brief time in my teen years and was pressured into trying cocaine when I was 19. I didn't like it and had stayed away from drugs since then."
"I hung out with the wrong crowd for a brief time in my teen years and was pressured into trying cocaine when I was 19. I didn't like it and had stayed away from drugs since then."
"If you have never had involvement with drugs: "I have never been involved with drugs, in any way. I was raised to always take care of myself and to never mess around with drugs."
"When I was a teenager I did smoke pot a couple of time and tried mushrooms. I am certainly not proud of the fact but, rest assured, and I have not touched any illicit substance in my adult life. If you need a drug test, I am happy to comply."
For obvious reasons, law enforcement agencies need to be very cautious about who they hire. There is a chance that much of the information you are going to access could be confidential and dangerous if put into the wrong hands. You will be working with the public, and with vulnerable individuals. Assure the interviewer that you are most willing to comply with any form of background check they require.
"I am happy to comply with any background check required. My record is clean, and I have a strong credit history. I do not participate in drug use, either. You can be assured that if you hire me for this role, I will maintain a clean record."
"I have no discrepancies to disclose at this time. If you'd like, I can certainly provide you with additional documentation and identification for your back check process."
"My credit is strong, and my criminal background is squeaky clean. Having been a border patrol officer for the past nine years, I have been very careful to color within the lines in all aspects."
Show the interviewer that you are unique and that you stand out from the crowd! If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived. Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This could include any industry accolades, individual achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.
"You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. I am dedicated to law enforcement and engaged in this career path to the point where I commit myself to taking at least one career development or leadership related workshop every year. I am a competitive achiever and an honest person. You won't be disappointed when you hire me."
"I'm qualified and passionate about border safety. I am excited about the idea of contributing to the high level of safety that our citizens have come to know, and expect."
"In addition to meeting all of the must-have's for this role, I bring additional skills such as being trilingual and having a dual degree in communications as well as criminology. I look forward to adding these skills to your already amazing team."
It's impossible to know precisely where you will be in 3 years but do assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for their position.
"Ideally, three years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within border patrol. I do see a great long-term fit here."
"Three years from now, I would like to be supervising or managing a team of my own. I feel like I am progressing at a rate that will make this a possibility."
"In three years I would like to be seen as an authority in our industry. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work here."
The interviewer wants to put a bit of extra emphasis on the fine line between being a good person and not being caught. This answer should be kept very simple, and 100% honest. If you have never committed a crime: "I have never committed a crime. I was raised to be an honest person and to respect other people, their property, and myself."
"I have never committed a crime. I was raised to be an honest person and to respect other people, their property, and myself."
"If you have committed a crime: "I was a troublemaker in my teen years and was pressured into shoplifting at a gas station when I was 15. I was never caught with it but always felt terrible. When I was older, I went back to that gas station and paid them back."
"I have never committed a crime. I have led a sincere life and am proud of the fact. I was raised in a strict home and was lucky enough never to be tempted by drugs or alcohol as a teen."
The interviewer would like a more detailed breakdown of your law enforcement training and any other education related to your career in border patrol. Likely, this is listed on your resume; however, this is an invitation to give a more detailed breakdown. Be sure to highlight any awards, scholarships, or individual accolades that you may have received.
"I have a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Louisville. I am very proud to say that I graduated with honors, and was even working part-time during those studies."
"I do not have a completed degree; however, I am interested in taking some criminal justice related coursework via online correspondence this year. I understand that not having a degree will affect my pay grade so, for that reason, I plan to earn my bachelor's degree in Criminal Investigation, over the next few years. This, of course, would be in tandem with working full time."
"I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Customs and Border Protection eight years ago. I have been working as a border patrol officer ever since. I feel that my blend of education and experience will provide you the level of expertise that you seek for this position."
The interviewer wants to gauge if you can maintain healthy relationships in the workplace. They want to know more about the dynamics with your coworkers. Think about what you enjoyed about some of your relationships with past coworkers. Excellent communication, sense of humor, and support are all great qualities that make co-worker relationships healthy and harmonious.
"I get along great with my coworkers. I try to maintain a positive attitude and be supportive, whether I am offering to assist someone who is overwhelmed, or if I am taking time to listen to someone who is having a bad day."
"I can get along with a great variety of individuals. I appreciate diversity in experience, and I look forward to learning from everyone on your team."
"One thing I have learned through my many years as a border patrol officer is the fact that it never helps to bring an ego to work. I am happy to work harmoniously with everyone on the team. My references will also attest to the fact that I am easy to approach and get along with."
The interviewer is looking for any indication that you may have a short temper or a tendency to overreact. Show that you can remain professional and composed, even in uncomfortable situations. If you have a real-life example to provide, it's a great idea to walk the interviewer through your reaction and the outcome.
"I have had many insults thrown my way in my career and can say that I prefer to choose kindness over an angry reaction. If someone says something rude to me on a personal level, I can let it slide. I will remind them that my job is to protect others from their poor decisions. Keeping a level head is always the better answer, in my opinion."
"If a civilian called me a racial slur, I would ignore it. I know that as a border patrol officer, my reaction will just fuel the fire and nobody will get anywhere. I try to remain professional and poised in all situations."
"It is challenging not to react when racial slurs are thrown your way. If I have an incredibly non-compliant individual, rather than reacting emotionally, I will find ways to make their day a bit more challenging such as being extra stringent with vehicle checks, or background checks. Anything to make them think twice about their poor choices."
Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who sometimes are called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Law enforcement officers' duties depend on the size and type of their organizations.