Being a Detective is a very demanding job and you must be able to show the interviewer that you are able to handle the physical and mental components of the role. Talk about the actions you take to ensure you are in good physical, and mental, shape and discuss any challenges you may have from old or recent injuries/issues.
"I am capable and fit, both physically, and mentally. I work out at the gym every day and keep myself emotionally healthy through meditation and reading. I have had a knee injury in the past but after surgery and 6 months of physio, I feel great."
Discuss with the interviewer how your career progressed from Police Officer to a Detective. Be sure to talk about any special accolades and recognition that you achieved along the way.
"I started as a Police Officer 9 years ago and was promoted to Detective after 7 years. I was able to achieve this promotion by committing to additional training and proving my ability as a reliable Officer."
Firing your weapon as an Officer/Detective is quite rare. The interviewer would like to know if you have had to do so in the past. If you have fired your weapon you will likely have supporting documentation. Take that with you to your interview, if possible. If you have had to fire your weapon: "I have fired my weapon just once in my career. It was during a robbery and the suspect fired his weapon at my partner. I am happy to have you review the case file and all supporting documentation." If you have not had to fire your weapon: "I have never fired my weapon, I am happy and very thankful to say. If the situation occurred then I would absolutely feel confident in my ability to react appropriately."
"I have fired my weapon just once in my career. It was during a robbery and the suspect fired his weapon at my partner. I am happy to have you review the case file and all supporting documentation."
Take the interviewer through your post-secondary experience. What course did you enjoy most and which did you struggle with? Are these still stronger, and weaker, subjects for you? Talk about how you have overcome the more difficult subjects as well.
"I have a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. I would say that the courses I struggled in the most would be the computing classes as I was not strong, in a technical sense, back then. My best course was victimology as I found it to be incredibly interesting and in-depth. It really taught me about strategy and compassion while working with victims of crime. Since graduating, I have taken additional coursework in computers, and a variety of software programs, so I am now confident in my abilities."
Maintaining focus and attention, even when asked to work around the clock, is very important. Assure the interviewer that you are able to do so.
"As a Detective, I have been asked many times to work around the clock. I am able to maintain speed and wit by reminding myself that there are people relying on me to do my best every minute that I am working."
As a detective, you will be required to work a huge variety of hours that include holidays and weekends. Assure the interviewer that you are able to manage, and accept, these expectations.
"I am very aware of the intense requirements that come with being a Detective. I am able to meet these requirements and be flexible with my availability."
Detectives must possess strong interview skills as this is a very large part of the job. Tell the interviewer how you would define your interview style and why you feel it is effective.
"My most commonly used interview style would be described as a qualitative interview method.This style is incredibly useful because it feels more like a conversation, than an interview, to respondents. However; I am still guiding the conversation with the goal in mind of gathering information from a respondent."
Is there some sort of training or coursework that you would enjoy taking? Talk to the interviewer about any career related training that you would take if you could.
"If I could take any additional training I would like to take training in deeper interviewing techniques. The psychology of it all is incredibly interesting to me and I feel that better tuned interview skills would assist me greatly in any investigation."
As a Detective, you will be asked to interview suspects and victims on a regular basis. Assure the hiring manager that you are capable of this type of task.
"I have many years' experience and training in interviewing and interrogation. I would consider my interview skills to be top notch; although I do realize that there is always more to learn. I am always open to new techniques and further training."
As a Detective, it is very important that you are able to recall small details. Tell the interviewer about your strategy when it comes to your memory and recollection skills.
"I have a very strong memory and am able to recall small details and important information. Throughout my career I have been able to refine this skill even more through memory exercises and committing to writing down small details as they occur, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time."
Are you a natural leader? Do you enjoy leadership and being a mentor? Talk to the interviewer about your capabilities and interest in taking on a bigger role as a leader. This is also a great time to mention any volunteer leadership roles you have taken on.
"Leadership is a very important part of being a strong team member in the Police force. I really enjoy taking on a leadership role and offering help and advice to those who need it. In addition to this, I also volunteer with the Big Brothers program where I am able to mentor and lead young and troubled youth."
Taking a leave of absence is not uncommon in this particular line of work as the stress is high, and the hours are long. Discuss with the interviewer any absences you have taken since the start of your career as an Officer. If you have taken any type of leave, or experienced any type of dismissal, you must be open and honest about it. If there is any supporting documentation that you are permitted to have, bring that documentation with you as well.
Ethical dilemmas will be frequent throughout your career as a Detective. Assure the interviewer that you are able to handle this type of challenge.
"I understand that ethical dilemmas can occur and, lucky for me, I have always worked with incredibly talented Officers and Captains who have displayed appropriate reactions to these types of situations. I am confident in my ability to handle all types of ethical dilemmas that come my way. My integrity as an Officer/Detective is the most important factor in my success and I will not sway from my values."
As a Detective, working unsupervised will be a regular part of your regime. Assure the interviewer that you are able to work productively with minimal supervision.
"My previous Captain was very confident in my ability to work successfully on my own. I am able to work well in a team setting and on my own. Neither scenario is a concern to my productivity."
Are you a person who is easily relied on? Do people consider you trustworthy? How you do see yourself in this light? Tell the hiring manager how you view your level of trustworthiness.
"I do consider myself a trustworthy person and have been referred to as a trustworthy person many times in my career. This is an incredibly important characteristic and I take pride in my reputation as such."
Striving for excellence should be a very important part of being a Police Officer/Detective. Talk to the interviewer about the steps that you take to ensure excellence in everything that you do.
"I absolutely strive for excellence in everything that I do. As a Detective, there is a great amount of pressure, both professionally and personally, to always do my best. I take my duty seriously and continually strive to better myself through additional training and accepting feedback from my peers and Captain."
As a Detective, it is very important to be highly perceptive by nature. Talk to the hiring manager about your skill level when it comes to perception.
"To be perceptive is to have the ability to see, hear, and become keenly aware of situations by using all of my senses. I am highly trained to be a perceptive individual and believe this skill is vital to my success as a Detective."
Do you have an issue with authority? Assure the interviewer that you are more than capable of strong and smooth communication with everyone, including your superiors on the job.
"I am a very strong, and respectful, communicator when it comes to my superiors. I believe that this stems from my strict upbringing as well as my Military background. My current Captain and I have a very healthy relationship and he will attest to that should you speak with him."
Discuss with the interviewer what your long term career goals look like, and show your dedication to get there. Be sure to display to the interviewer that you plan to stay in this new role for the longer term,
"As a Police Officer, my goal has always been to become a Detective in a Homicide Unit. In 5 years I would definitely like to see myself there and leading a team myself. I am absolutely willing to complete any additional training and coursework required to get me there."
As a Detective, you should be focused, decisive, and know what you want. Show the interviewer that you are capable of utilizing these traits and discuss where you are determined to take your career.
"My career goals as a Detective include being the top of my unit and advancing through the ranks quickly. I plan to be an example to those around me on strong communication, leadership, documentation and integrity. I would, of course, like to become Captain one day and understand the work required to get there."
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A detective is a law enforcement agent who is responsible for investigating crimes. Some detectives are members of police agencies, while others work with private detective agencies. As part of their job, detectives look for and collect evidence from crime scenes, interview suspects and witnesses, obtain warrants and arrest suspects. They may also prepare cases and testify in court.
The educational requirements vary considerably. Some police stations and private agencies may accept applicants with a high school diploma, while others require a bachelor's or higher degree. All newly inducted detectives are usually required to complete a period of on-the-job training. Detectives must be very perceptive and have a keen eye for detail, and good judgment. Strong leadership skills and physical strength and stamina are also important.
Expect to undergo a rigorous interview. Prospective employers will want to be 100% sure that you are committed to upholding the law and that you have the skills and aptitude that are important in this role. They will ask you questions about your career goals and what motivated you to want to become a detective. To get hired, you must be able to convince the interviewers that you are the right fit for the job. One way to do this is to think in advance about your replies. You can do this by checking out the questions that are commonly asked at detective interviews. These are listed at Mock Questions.