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Correction Officer Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
What would you do if an officer next to you was engaged in a physical fight with an inmate?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know that you understand what to do when you see an officer engaged in a physical altercation. Answer this according to the way that you have been trained. Refer to your training manual, and corporate policies, and recite those if possible.
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Top 30 Correction Officer Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
What would you do if an officer next to you was engaged in a physical fight with an inmate?
The interviewer would like to know that you understand what to do when you see an officer engaged in a physical altercation. Answer this according to the way that you have been trained. Refer to your training manual, and corporate policies, and recite those if possible.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"According to my current employment policy, in the event of a physical altercation between an inmate and another officer, I am trained to call code black, ensure all inmates are out of harm's way and then assist."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If you are new to the industry, you should refer to your instinct. It's okay to ask the interviewer what they would prefer that you do if you genuinely do not know.

For example: "I have never been in a situation like this; however, I feel that the best thing to do would be to call for assistance and attempt to hold the inmate back. What would you suggest in a situation like this?"
Anonymous Answer
"If my coworker got into a fight, I would immediately call for back up and order all inmates to get down on the floor."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a pretty good, basic response. If you have further training, feel free to get into more detail.
"If a fellow officer became involved in a physical altercation with an inmate, I would immediately call for backup. Then, I would order all inmates to get down on the floor. Next, I would assist my coworker in restraining the assaulting inmate."
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Anonymous Answer
"The first thing is to call for backup advice of the situation that you have and then go help your co-workers to restrain the inmate and avoid further aggression against my co-worker and safeguard the life of the inmate."
Rachelle's Answer
It seems you have a solid understanding of what you would do. Good answer.
"The first step is to call for backup and advise of the situation. Then, I would go help my coworkers to restrain the inmate, avoiding further aggression. I would also take steps to safeguard the life of the inmate."
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2.
Do you have a role model or mentor?
Having a mentor, or role model, shows the interviewer that you are open to gaining personal, and professional, growth.If you do not have a mentor, be prepared to discuss who you would choose as a mentor if you could.

A mentor can be someone like a leader, motivational speaker, or pastor who you respect. Maybe you listen to a specific podcast or read a particular author's books for personal development.
Whatever you choose, be sure to display to the interviewer that you are open to continued growth through mentorship.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My role model is Tony Robbins. I listen to his podcast every morning because I find him motivating and I like his tougher approach. He's taught me the importance of grabbing life by the horns."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"You can answer this question in a more personal way if you wish: "My role model has always been my mother. She has such a level head and sticks to her decisions once they are made. She taught me everything I know about the importance of discipline and also enjoying life."
Anonymous Answer
"Yes, I do have a mentor. I met him while playing pick up basketball and we had a lot of similarities. After getting to know him, I found out he was in the law enforcement field, so I started doing volunteer services with him and he has been guiding me."
Rachelle's Answer
This example is great! I have reworded it a bit, for the sake of clarity.
"Yes, I do have a mentor. He and I met during a game of pick up basketball. We have a lot of similarities which initially connected us, and I later learned he was in law enforcement. Because of him, I started to volunteer. He has been mentoring me for six months now."
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Anonymous Answer
"My role model is my martial art instructor. He is the one who guides me through my mistakes, no matter how many times I fail. He always encourages me to learn, giving my best shot by seeing the potential in me, and always setting me up for success. He never gives up on me because he believes that I am greater than what I think. He taught me to practice as hard as I can so that when I go to the tournaments, it will be like a regular practice. He guides me to be more proactive in everything I do in life by connecting what I learn in martial and applying in real life."
Rachelle's Answer
Your martial arts instructor sounds like a true inspiration! It is a memorable answer; well done.
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3.
Tell me about an experience where you successfully used de-escalation techniques in preventing a physical altercation.
The interviewer would like to know more about your de-escalation techniques and your confidence when it comes to implementing them. Give an example of a time when you lead a de-escalation and how it was successful. Keep your answer brief but be sure to display that you are comfortable conducting this type of initiative.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Last month I had two inmates who were feuding. It came to a head at dinner one evening when I could see that the two groups had a lot of extra tension between them. I heard rumors from other inmates that a fight was to start that evening. I was sure to bring on additional officers, and we kept the inmates busy with conversation and a lot of unexpected movement. It worked as the fight never happened. We broke their routine which was enough to shake up their plan."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Because I am new to this career I do not have a specific example; however, if I were to experience a potential threat like this I would be sure to follow the regulations and procedures put in place at this facility. Safety is incredibly important for both the officers and inmates and order must be kept at all times."
Anonymous Answer
"I grew up with twin sisters. They would always argue, so I was pretty much their referee. I would break up their fights and take each one off to the side and listen to what their problem was with one another. Then I would find a common ground solution for them both."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is entertaining! It made me laugh, and will likely make the interviewer smile too. Depending on your level of training, you could also mention which de-escalation techniques you have been formally trained in.
"When it comes to de-escalation, I believe the proper steps are to listen, acknowledge, clarify, and discuss choices and consequences with the inmate. Since I am new to my career as a correction officer, my greatest experience in de-escalation comes from growing up around twin sisters. They would always argue, and I was the referee. I would break up their fights, and take each one off to the side and listen, trying to source the core of the problem. Then, I would help them find common ground and resolution. Really, many of the steps I would be taking here in this role."
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4.
Why do you want a position as a correction officer?
The interviewer would like to understand why this career path interests you. If you have been a correction officer for many years, this can be a simple answer. If you are new to the career, then you can talk a little bit about what attracted you to the industry, to begin with.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I was attracted to a career as a correction officer for a variety of reasons. My father was a correction officer and, as a child, I recall seeing him come home in his uniform and showing a sense of pride. His job was to protect. After I left the military, I decided that a career as a correction officer would be the most natural and positive transition for me."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I started my education in Criminology because I initially wanted to become a police officer. When I was in post-secondary studies, I learned more about the career path of a correction officer. I prefer the idea of working with inmates rather than being a street cop."
Anonymous Answer
"I believe this would be an amazing opportunity to get into law enforcement. I love everything about it. What excites me the most is that no two days will be the same."
Rachelle's Answer
Try to dig a bit deeper than variety in the workplace, showing the interviewer that you have a solid reason for being there, and for staying long-term.
"I want this position as a correction officer because every day is a new challenge. It's important to me that I impact the lives of others, helping inmates to get on the right path. I see myself in this fulfilling career for many years to come."
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Anonymous Answer
"I want to become a correction officer because I believe I have the foundation, from the experience I have gathered, through my work experience as a security officer in multiple settings, to deal with the rigors of being in a correction environment. Also, I believe I have the right skill set (such as communication skills, de-escalation techniques/ being able to work under pressure, and making crucial decisions as a team player) for the position and am confident in utilizing them."
Rachelle's Answer
Good! Try to unpack the 'right skill set' portion a bit more, so it becomes more than a general statement. I have offered a revision, below.
"I want to become a correctional officer because I have the foundation from my work experience as a security officer in multiple settings. I am confident in my ability to deal with the rigors of being in a correctional environment. I have the right skill set including patience, endurance, and the ability to command a room."
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5.
Tell me about yourself.
When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This is an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful career in corrections, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local homeless shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am a very active individual who loves to workout and goes to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer!"
Anonymous Answer
"I’ve worked the last six years for a security company, my responsibilities there shifted, I would be assigned to work psych units where I would watch patients that were of harm to themselves or behavioral issues, I would also patrol the hospital campus in a company vehicle and ensure the security of the compound. My most recent job at a state hospital, I am in the position of therapeutic safety officer. My responsibilities would be to actively monitor the environment and well being of all. Bring patients out to hospital trips/ court trips in a secure manner. And supervise patient while they were being visited by family members or friends."
Rachelle's Answer
The bulk of your answer is very helpful to an interviewer. Try adding in a just a bit about your personal side such as characteristics, or volunteer work. I have provided a sample, below.
"I have worked in security for the past six years in tough assignments such as psych units with patients who want to harm themselves. In my most recent position, I am a therapeutic safety officer. My responsibilities include actively monitoring the environment and well being of the patients. I bring these patients to court and other out of hospital trips which requires a great deal of empathy while also remaining ready to take action in a split second. In my spare time, I keep active through martial arts and boxing which keep me fit both physically and mentally."
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6.
What do you fear will be your potential weaknesses as a correction officer inside our prison?
Avoid choosing critical job-related skills as your weaknesses. You want to be honest about what you feel your weaknesses are, but you do not want to make it sound as though you are not a good fit for the role. For instance, saying, 'I've been told I am not a strong communicator,' would talk you out of a job immediately.

Choose to discuss some weaker areas that are easy for you to start improving on right away. Be sure to mention how you are improving on these weaknesses, as well.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I do not fear that my weaknesses would make me a poor fit as a correction officer, but I do know what areas I would benefit from working on. Personally, I am working on my ability to completely let the emotions of my day go when I arrive home. This way I will always come back to work feeling refreshed."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I just recently completed my education in criminal justice and am happy with the knowledge that I gained. One thing my training did not cover was a lot of technical skills. I would like to have stronger computer skills, so I recently enrolled in a 6-week evening course on Excel and Outlook."
Anonymous Answer
"I’m not a very skilled typist. I understand that I’ll have to use computers when booking inmates. I have been practicing typing faster and accurately at home. That way I can be the best I can be on the job."
Rachelle's Answer
Love this response! You have stayed away from an answer that would eliminate you from the competition, and focused on a skill that you are already working to improve. Perfect!
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7.
Are you willing to work long hours, on a variety of different shifts, with a limited amount of notice?
As a correction officer, you may be required to work sporadic, and long, shifts. Assure the interviewer that you are aware of this career requirement. It is absolutely okay to ask the interviewer about the schedule requirements in their facility.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am aware that long hours and a variety of shifts are par for the course with being a correction officer. In my current position my schedule will switch from day to night shifts and I usually work 12 hours per day. Could you share with me the average schedule here?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am willing to work any shifts required of me. I am fully dedicated to growing a successful career as a correction officer and will do what it takes to build a great reputation here."
Anonymous Answer
"As a seasoned security officer that has worked in a correctional setting I am fully aware of the hours required in this line of work, and am willing to work long hours on short notice."
Rachelle's Answer
Clear and to the point. Nice!
Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
Anonymous Answer
"Yes, I am willing to do what it takes to achieve my goal. This is going to be my career, and I know I’ll have to work hard to be the best officer that I want to become."
Rachelle's Answer
100%. Great work!
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8.
You must be physically fit to be a corrections officer. What have you done to physically train yourself for this position?
The interviewer would like to know that you are capable of meeting the physical demands required to be a corrections officer. A fit test will be administered; however, this is an opportunity for you to disclose any concerns you may have regarding the fitness portion of the role.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am fully prepared to complete the fit test. I am in great physical shape. To train myself for a career in corrections, I have attended CrossFit 5 times per week for the last 12 months. I also run 6 to 15 miles every week."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am in peak physical condition. While attending university, I worked as a personal trainer part-time. You can be sure that I am fully prepared to pass the fit test."
Anonymous Answer
"I workout regularly, and have maintained my physical standards that were expected of me during my physical. I also take boxing and martial arts classes."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a great response!
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Anonymous Answer
"In my current job, I work as a framer building residential homes. I’m always on my feet. I am lifting heavy things all day. Working in the heat and the cold can take a toll on your body and how you perform, but I have gained a high level of endurance."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good! I have reworded this to make sure the final sentence is framed positively.
"Currently, I work as a framer, building residential homes. I am always on my feet, performing heavy lifting all day. I work through seasonal extremes as well. All of this hard work has built up my level of endurance, putting me into peak physical shape."
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9.
How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?
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?"
Rachelle's Answer #1
"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?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I feel like it has been going good so far, but my opinion doesn’t matter. The only opinion that matters today is the oral board, and I hope the 4 of you think it’s going good."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is very honest which is good, however, it could be misinterpreted as avoidance. I have added a sample below.
"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?"
Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
Anonymous Answer
"Well, I have never been good at interviews but I feel like the way life has prepared me for a career in corrections has helped me feel more confident."
Rachelle's Answer
I get the idea behind your response, but have massaged it just a bit.
"I would rate my performance as an 8 out of 10. Although I have not attended many job interviews in the past, I believe my passion for corrections had shone through very well."
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10.
Corrections is ever-changing. We seek to hire individuals with a keen interest in this industry. How do you stay up to date on law enforcement related current events?
The interviewer would like to confirm that you have a genuine interest in becoming a corrections officer. Perhaps you read law related books, follow particular journals or subscribe to a blog related to law enforcement. Briefly share with the interviewer how you stay up to date on current events related to corrections or the prison system.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am always interested in learning more about this industry and the changes that are taking place. It's truly fascinating how the law can change, and I like reading up on different case studies. Most frequently, I read The Police Journal. There are also a couple of blogs that I follow including Brian Cain's 'Just a Cop.'"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"While attending school to be a corrections officer, I received a few resources from the professors that I quite enjoy. I also have Google alerts set up so that any changes in the industry are sent straight to my email inbox."
Anonymous Answer
"I follow the county Facebook page. I look every day at the updated list of people who the prison booked that day. I find it a very good teaching tool because it shows me the different violations that are committed in our area."
Rachelle's Answer
Great response! This is a unique way of staying up-to-date and shows that you have a genuine level of engagement already.
"I follow the {police county} Facebook page and visit it every day to see the list of people booked that day. I find this a beneficial teaching tool because it shows me the various violations committed in our area."
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Anonymous Answer
"I have been following a department page on Facebook to keep myself updated with what is happening right now. Also, besides the department, I follow other Facebook pages to find a better way to do the job based on the scenario I watch. I will look for a mentor at my workplace so that I can learn from his success."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds like you take on a nice variety of resources when it comes to educating yourself. Also, a mentor is always a great idea. Nice work!
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