The interviewer wants to learn more about you.Get ready to brag about yourself! What is the one thing in your life that has been the most meaningful to you? Share this achievement with the interviewer, and explain why it meant so much to you. It can be work related or non-work related, and it should be whatever stands out most in your mind as the greatest thing you have done to date.
"I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. Knowing that I have come this far setting an example for my younger siblings is a great feeling!"
The interviewer is hoping you will talk positively about your education just as you would talk positively about your future employer. Now is a great time to highlight the things that you really liked about your education. Start off by telling the interviewer that your education was valuable, and you recognize that you will still need additional training when you enter the field. Next, share the things that you really liked about receiving your education which you felt were valuable.
"My formal education was extremely helpful in understanding the work I wanted to get into. Education, to me, is an ongoing process and I am constantly learning new trade strategies to be a better professional while developing personally."
This question is designed to gain an understanding of your perspective of the job you have applied to. During your college career, you likely had a few key takeaways. What things were you told that impacted you? Did you hear any special presentations that left you with important information about the field? What things tugged at your heartstrings? These are all great things to mention when you hear this question. Be ready to share 3-4 key takeaways that you had from college that helped prepare you for this career.
"While receiving my Bachelor's degree, I learned valuable knowledge from the corrections, criminal justice, counseling, social work or related fields. I learned theories and strategies for effective probation/parole supervision, corrections, social service counseling and case management capacity, This has equipped me with the knowledge and know how to perform this role above and beyond your expectations."
If you have completed volunteer work in a juvenile facility, tell the interviewer which facility you have volunteered at, how long you have volunteered there, and provide a brief overview of the work you have done at that facility. If you have not completed volunteer work in a juvenile facility, simply tell the interviewer that you have not done this or speak to other volunteer work you have done.
"Absolutely! And I have learned a lot in the process. I frequently volunteer in the community and enjoy working with young minds who have fallen off course. I am a big brother in a neighboring town and have volunteered in the recovery process for young juveniles."
We recommend that you review the job description online before arriving for your interview. Come prepared to provide an overview of the position based on the job description by stating 5-6 key duties that the job will entail.
"This role plays a critical part of this integration of criminal offenders after serving their conviction time. It involves interviewing, counseling and guiding clients through an important time in their lives. Our effectiveness can determine whether or not criminals reenter the system or carry on an active, contributing life in their local communities. It is something I look forward to taking part of."
The interviewer wants to learn more about your background.What kind of writing have you done in past parole officer jobs? In school? At other places of employment? Simply share these with the interviewer, and give a high-level overview of what the writing entailed.
"In school, I had to write papers every semester on a variety of topics including everything from general education coursework to specific parole officer related topics. In previous roles, I was responsible for writing casework and investigative reports on criminals returning to the community."
What drove you to become a Parole Officer? What makes you passionate about working with criminals? You may start off by sharing that working with criminals is why you chose to become a parole officer. You might mention that you recognize you have the opportunity to help change someone's life for the better. You may share that you get to be the encourager, the parental guidance, and the disciplinarian when necessary all in an effort to better someone's life. Share what makes you passionate about working in the field.
"I will handle heavily convicted criminals the same way I will handle all people in my work - with the utmost professionalism and genuine care. Each individual is different and I take pride in learning what resonates with each person so I can adapt my communication style to connect with them."
Interviewers like to hear that you continually work on improving yourself and being aware of how you communicate. Think about the ways you have improved your communication skills. Remember those college courses in speech? Remember all those grammar exercises you have done? Perhaps you have taken a professional communications seminar. Maybe you have joined Toastmasters. Or, maybe you have taken training on how to have crucial conversations. Simply share the things you have done to improve your communication skills with the interviewer.
"I am constantly seeking to improve communication skills in the workplace and on my own time. I am an avid reader of books involving communication strategies and personal improvement. I watch TED Talks and YouTube videos comprised of what I consider to be some of the very best communicators. Communication is everything and without it, we all fail."
The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about a career as a parole officer. Take this opportunity to share with the interviewer if a specific life event leads you to a career as a parole officer.
"When I was young, a good friend of mine experienced a life event because of a criminal and I saw first hand how it impacted their lives and the lives of their family. I made the decision then and am carrying it out now to take a career where I could be responsible for monitoring recently released criminal offenders to ensure they are integrating back into life after serving their time. I take great pride in my work and am proud to be interviewing for this opportunity."
The interviewer wants to hear the one unique thing that sets you apart from every other candidate who has applied for this position.Interviewers like to hear that you continually work on improving yourself and being aware of how you communicate. Think about the ways you have improved your communication skills. Remember those college courses in speech? Remember all those grammar exercises you have done? Perhaps you have taken a professional communications seminar. Maybe you have joined Toastmasters. Or, maybe you have taken training on how to have crucial conversations. Simply share the things you have done to improve your communication skills with the interviewer.
"Not only do I have the experience and skillsets for this role, I bring a lot of heart to the position, with I personal commitment to always give 150% to my work every day."
What motivated you to become a parole officer? This makes a great answer to the question. What motivated you to apply for this specific job? This might make another great answer. Knowing that you will serve a community with a high need can be a big driver. Whatever you would most like to accomplish, share it with the interviewer.
"You measure what you manage. For me, it is all about returning criminals to the community with a low reentry rate. I will work hard and smart to integrate criminals back into society with goals of not returning to the lifestyle that put them in the system."
If you are already into your career, you may have already done this, and that's great! Tell the interviewer about your experience by sharing how often you are accustomed to speaking in front of a judge and what types of things you are used to speaking about. If you do not have this experience, that's okay too! Think about those speech courses you took in college, any coaching you have done for sports teams, any presentations you have given for professional organizations, or any clubs that you have led during college. All of these make great examples! Tell the interviewer where you spoke in front of large groups, how often you spoke, and what types of things you have had to speak about.
"One of my strengths is maintaining composure, emotions and behavior in difficult work situations - presenting in front of a court and judge is part of that process. A large part of my work is fact-based and I enjoy communicating those facts in a way that tell a story about a specific individual and their recovery/reentry process."
Be candid with the interviewer and share your experience. This will provide the interviewer with a good idea of what type of training you should be provided after you are offered the job to ensure you are set up for success in the role. Be sure to discuss any past work experience, volunteer experience, or internship experience communicating with criminals in your response.
"I love people, especially the fun of communicating with individuals from varying backgrounds and classes. In this work, you form and maintain strong collaborative alliances with clients, families, staff, community partners, victims, and the public. This is the best part! I take pride in building collaborative and effective relationships with people including offenders, court and law enforcement personnel, and the general public."
Multi-tasking is part of the job, and the interviewer wants to hear that multi-tasking does not daunt you. Start out by sharing that you are used to multi-tasking even in everyday life, and you are able to multi-task well. Then, share how you prioritize work. Perhaps you create a to-do list and rank everything in order of importance. Maybe you color code your calendar. Or, you might use an app on your phone to keep you organized. Whatever your chosen method is, share it with the interviewer.
"In this line of work, we can be doing any number of things at the same time. My ability to multitask helps me do this well. I can be managing interviews with clients, court hearings, investigative reporting and a number of counseling sessions at any one given time. It keeps the work we do interesting nonetheless!"
Interviewers understand that satisfaction is a greater motivator than money, and they want to hear that you are more interested in satisfaction because it shows you are seeking a long-term career instead of just a paycheck. You might say, 'Satisfaction is more important. Waking up each day knowing that I get to go to a job I enjoy is much more motivating than a paycheck is.'
"People like to feel valued and appreciated and make money. I am no different. The reason I do my work goes beyond satisfaction or income. While both are equally important to me, and should be well balanced, my work is a responsibility or calling I feel I have to serve the community."
What is the one thing you learned during your internship that left you with a feeling of conviction? What was the one thing that really surprised you, moved you, or made you thankful you were entering this field? Now is the time to share it! Be sure to explain why you feel this was the most valuable thing you learned.
"My internship experience taught me how to work as a team member, share knowledge and skills, accept, adapt, offer and respond to coaching on performance and skill development needs. These are invaluable skills I learned early in my career that I carry with me today."
Be candid with the interviewer, and share what psychology courses you have taken. Be sure to mention what aspects of the courses you enjoyed and 1 or 2 of your key takeaways.
"Of course! Part of my education included criminal psychology. I took courses to help me understand human behavior and the minds behind people who do bad things."
This question is designed to understand your point of view. Every applicant will have their personal stance on this situation, and it is okay to share yours! Simply share if you are or are not an advocate for education in prison to reduce prisoners from returning, and be prepared to justify your response.
"Education is power, no matter where it occurs. It is a great idea to have formal education while serving time for a crime. It can not only help with a declining return rate, but it can equip criminals for life outside of the prison system."
The interviewer is hoping to hear that you have skills that align with the job description. Take a look at the job description. What skills are listed in the description? Pick 3-5 skills that are listed in the description that you are good at and simply list them for the interviewer.
Openly share with the interviewer if you have ever been convicted of a crime. Remember, the truth will come out in a background check, so it is vital to share the information up front during an interview. If you have been convicted of a crime, share what level of offense you received (misdemeanor/felony) as well as what you were convicted of.
"I have never been convicted of a crime but I understand the complexities of being involved in a crime and it is part of the reason I enjoy doing what I do so much."
Be honest! Share that you practiced answering sample interview questions, read the company website, and reviewed the job description again before arriving. If you researched the agency on LinkedIn or other social media websites, be sure to mention this as well.
"I have been very excited about this meeting as your organization is the leader in this community. I do my research and I read a lot about your organization, the mission it carries out and the people it serves, in preparation for this interview. I like how you take an approach to utilize social media, despite the industry, to educate the public about criminal statistics and mental health."
We are all generous in different ways. What things come to mind right away? Do you volunteer anywhere? How have you helped other people in the past? How have you helped your family in times of need? Simply share how you have been generous in the past, and share that you feel all people are generous in some way.
"I tend to go above and beyond in my generosity. I care where other people don't. I do not look at things as 'not my job'. I truly seek to give all I have in all situations."
With any job interview, it is crucial to understand the organization you are applying to. Understand their rules, what the mission of the organization is, what daily activities they generally do. Know some interesting statistics about the company, like who started it, and what year it was started. Visit their website, and study the organization.
The interviewer wants to hear that you do not allow stress to get the best of you. Start off by sharing that you recognize your role as a professional is to act professionally at all times. You recognize that stress comes with almost any job, and you understand how to manage it effectively. Next, share what you do to decompress. You might share that you enjoy going to the gym each day. You might share that you play softball after work to relax. Or, you might share that going home to play with your kids allows you to focus your thoughts on something else allowing you to relax.
"Most people crumble under pressure or stress. Not me. I have always considered myself to perform at my best under stress and pressure. In this line of work, that ability comes in handy."
Speaking a second language fluently is nice for being able to converse with more people, but it is not always essential. Simply share if you speak any other languages fluently as well as what those languages are. Next, share if you have an intermediate level of knowledge of any other languages.
"Yes, I received 8 years of education in Spanish, in addition to English. I speak both languages efficiently in written and oral communications."
The interviewer wants to learn more about what motivates you and what creates barriers for you at work. Think of an area where you struggle with patience that is not a key responsibility of the role. A great answer would be saying that you have no patience for co-workers who are unethical, and you will report them immediately. This shows the interviewer that you care about the workplace environment and that you care about creating an ethical hospitable environment for everyone to work in.
"In our line of work, patience is a must. It takes a lot to break my patience, but I do not have the patience for giving up. Quitting is too easy and I work with people to put in the hard work to overcome challenges."
If you have a role model, that's great! Share who this person is, and share why they are a role model for you. Be sure to mention how their leadership impacts your work as a parole officer.
"Aside from my family and friends, my boss during my internship has become one of my professional role models and mentors in pursuing my career as a parole officer. They have given me countless great advice and mentor me in situations that challenge me as a professional in this field. I look up to and respect them very much."
Absolutely! You are looking at a role in the people service industry, and the interviewer wants to hear that you plan to help those with so-called minor crimes. After all, a crime is a crime, and no matter how negligible it may seem compared to others, it still needs to be addressed.
"Of course! Everyone fumbles, big or small, and deserves the right support to get back on track. My dedication as a parole officer is consistent regardless of the volume of crime."
What decisions have you mulled over in the past six months? What things kept you up at night? These make great examples when answering this question. Start off by sharing what decision you were trying to make, and share why the decision was so challenging for you. If possible, use a work-related or school-based scenario to show the interviewer that you are accustomed to making difficult decisions in these relatable settings.
"One of the most difficult decisions I have made in the past few months was to decide to pursue other work. I am deeply engrained in the processes of criminals in the system where I work and it is a tough decision to uproot that but one I made to continue to challenge myself and achieve my own personal career aspirations."
Parole officers and probation officers play a role in criminal justice systems by supervising offenders who have been released from incarceration and, often, in recommending sentencing in courts of law.