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."
Correction Officer Interview Questions
Whether you were caught or not, have you ever committed a crime?
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.
"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 not committed a crime. The closest I’ve come to committing a crime was when I was 5, and I went to the store with my mother. I wanted a stuffed animal, and she told me no, so I decided to sneak it underneath my coat. When we were ready to leave, I was about to walk out the door with it until the last second, and I took it out from my coat and said, "Whoops, I forgot I had this still."Rachelle's Answer
The fact that you remember this story from 7 years old affirms your level of honesty. Great stories like this are what set candidates apart. Nice work!Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"No, I’ve never committed a crime. I grew up in a strict Caribbean household and was taught to always respect myself and others."Rachelle's Answer
Solid start! When it came to being taught to respect yourself and others, were there any lessons that stood out for you? I see an excellent opportunity for a quick story from childhood, where you learned a valuable lesson.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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!Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
How do you get along with other correction officers?
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 fellow officers. 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."
"I have a great sense of humor and know when to be serious as well. Through my experience with different coworkers I have developed very good communication skills and rapport with almost everyone I’ve meet."Rachelle's Answer
Awesome response!Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"During my agility testing, I got to know one of your correction officers. He was a great guy, telling me what to expect during this interview process and on the actual job. He told me he knows 100% all the other officers he works with have his back 100%. That is something I want to be a part of, and I believe I would fit right in with those guys."Rachelle's Answer
Your response shows that you are friendly and easy to get along with. Avoid mentioning that a correction officer told you insider info on the interview process, as the interviewers may not like that (depends on the environment). Also, you will want to beware of statements that are geared towards a single gender. I have reworded this for you below.
"During my agility test, I got to know one of your correction officers. He was very encouraging about the process and gave me excellent insight into the day-to-day workings of being a correction officer. He told me that he knows each one of his coworkers has his back, 100%. I look forward to being part of a work environment where people watch out for each other."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes (3) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What are your salary expectations?
Before your interview, make sure you have researched the median salary for the position (and location). You can look at salary reviews on Glassdoor.com or Payscale.com.
Always make sure you give a salary range, not just a number. Providing a range allows you to negotiate down the road if you are given an offer. However, if you just tell the employer you are looking for $50K it doesn’t leave room for negotiating later on. Also, make sure the lowest number of your range is something you are comfortable with!
Another great option is to tell the interviewer what you are currently earning and tell them that you are seeking a competitive offer. Use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus health benefits. I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
"I am new to my career as a corrections officer and am looking for a fair range, given my blend of education and training. I understand that the average range for this role, in our state, is $40-$45k/year. Do you have a particular number in mind?"
"I understand you have to work from the bottom to get to the top. It said on the website $46-63K. I would be happy with the minimal starting out."Rachelle's Answer
Avoid undercutting yourself. Try to back your ask with reasons why you are worth what you are :)
"It mentioned on the job application that the salary range for this position is $46-63K per year. I am new to a career in corrections and understand that I will have to prove myself to gain peak compensation levels. With that said, I bring solid education in a skilled trade and am in great physical condition. I am confident that you would present a fair wage that reflects all of these details."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I am new to my career, and I am looking for a fair range like they pose on the website, which is 60- 65k per year. I understand this is the average range right now for our department. Do you have a particular number in mind?"Rachelle's Answer
You support your answer nicely through research. It's great that you ask the question in return, ensuring that you are on the same page as the interviewing company.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Tell me about a time when you showed your superior officer that you are trustworthy, and responsible.
The interviewer would like to know that you have a history of being reliable and trustworthy. It can be difficult to speak highly of yourself; however, providing a great example of your trustworthiness and ability to be responsible is what will set you apart from other candidates.
"I have always shown trustworthiness and responsibility throughout my career as a correction officer. One specific time I can think of would be when I caught an inmate with a significant amount of drugs. In that particular prison, there was an issue with correction officers assisting inmates to smuggle contraband for a financial kick back. I exercised responsibility and reported it immediately."
"I just completed my training at a local state prison and learned that the best way to show my superior officer that I am trustworthy is to listen to my orders without hesitation and keep my nose clean when it comes to altercations."
"I have the trust of my current boss. I’ve shown him I'm responsible by always showing up for work. I can work on the job site without him and still get the job done in a timely matter."Rachelle's Answer
Perfect example! I have reworked the sentence structure below.
"I have earned the trust of my current boss. I have proven to him that I am trustworthy by always showing up for work on time, and getting my tasks done promptly, regardless if he is on site or not."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I worked as a cashier while I was in college. While my manager was collecting the draws, I realized a few bills hadn't been put in the register. I picked them up and carried them to her office."Rachelle's Answer
Nice! Your manager must have really appreciated your honesty :) Next, be sure to offer a statement regarding how your trustworthy nature will ensure that you are an excellent correction officer.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
How would you handle an inmate who constantly yelled at you and said extremely derogatory things to you?
The interviewer will learn a lot about your character and workplace personality when you answer this question. As a correction officer you will come across inmates who will say anything to get a reaction out of you. Assure the interviewer that you have the ability to keep a level head.
"I am accustomed to this type of behavior now that I have worked as a correction officer for eight years. When I first began this career it did bother me, and I would take things personally, but now I let it slide. If disciplinary action needs to be taken I will follow those protocols; however, I know better than to show any emotional reaction in a situation like that."
"If an inmate said something extreme to me, I would ignore it. I know that as a corrections officer, my reaction will just fuel the fire and nobody will get anywhere. I try to remain professional and poised in all situations."
"I wouldn’t pay mind to it, what I’ve learned in my experience in health care and public service jobs, you see people at their worst most of the time and that’s what your getting reciprocated at you. My job is to always stay professional and level-headed so that no one gets hurt including myself."Rachelle's Answer
Well said. This is a great answer.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I would ignore the inmate. If you engage in acknowledging what they’re saying it will only fuel them to keep on doing it."Rachelle's Answer
Your response is concise and to the point. It's great that you show a level head, unwilling to engage in unnecessary altercations.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Do you have a problem with authority?
As a correction officer, you need to be able to report to a variety of levels comfortably. Using a real-life example is always the best route to take when asked a behavior-based question. If you can, discuss the relationship between yourself and your most recent employer.
"I do not have a problem with answering to authority. While working in prison, you must always answer to your authority figures with the utmost respect as the inmates are always watching. My previous supervisor and I had a very great working relationship, and she is happy to give a strong reference as well."
"I fully understand that there needs to be a level of authority in the workplace, especially in the prison system. I will have no issue with authority. It's necessary, and I embrace it."
"No I do not, I always report to my superiors in the upmost respect, because I expect the same respect back and know that it’s necessary to have oversight and chain of command."Rachelle's Answer
Very well said. Great work :)Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"Of course not, we need to have authority in all situations in life. If we didn’t have authority, we would have a lot more problems in the world."Rachelle's Answer
Solid response; however, I have reworded it just to soften the delivery a touch.
"I do not have a problem with authority. We need people in authoritative roles, in all situations in life."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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."
"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?"
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes (5) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"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.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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."
"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!"
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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!Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I feel as though my kindness may be taken as a weakness. As long as I’m fair and firm, my kindness can be turned into a strength."Rachelle's Answer
This response is a good start! When discussing a weakness, it's also very important to consider what you are doing to improve on this weakness. Try including how you plan to approach this perception using more specific examples and action steps.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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.
"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?"
"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."
"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 NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"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!Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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?"
"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 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 NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"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."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
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?
We conduct early-stage criminal background checks, credit checks, and drug tests on all of our candidates. Is there anything you would like to disclose at this time?
Competition is stiff for this position. Why should we hire you?
Tell me about your post-secondary education and how it relates to your career as a corrections officer.
Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
If you saw another correctional officer doing something inappropriate, how would you handle the situation?
Why are you the best suited person for this job?
How would you address the issue of a subordinate who is consistently late for their shift?
Tell me about a time when it was better to be agreeable in a situation, rather than continue the argument.
Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond your job duties.
What makes you angry?
What role do you believe a correction officer plays in preventing contraband in the prison?
Describe a situation in which you supervised a large group of individuals. What specific steps did you take to ensure that all individuals in your group completed scheduled activities?
Have you ever faced a company policy you disagreed with, but had to enforce anyway?
Have you ever worked in a stressful environment? How did you handle it?