Correctional Officer Interview Questions and Answers

If you’re headed towards a career as a corrections officer, you’re probably wondering how to maximize your chances to get the job. Becoming a corrections officer isn’t easy, and there are a lot of hoops to jump through. Some agencies require that you pass a physical fitness test, and almost of them require that you pass a criminal background check. You might even have to pass a medical evaluation.

Going Through The CO Hiring Process

If you’ve made it through the first round of applications, you probably want to know what to expect in the interview so that you can maximize your chances. It’s your first chance to meet face to face with your potential employer.

If you’ve never worked in corrections before, you might not know what to expect. Not every applicant is lucky enough to get an interview. In fact, most people don’t get the interview. If you’re fortunate to get your foot in the door, you want to optimize your chances by preparing properly for the interview process.

Benefits of a Career As a Corrections Officer

There are lots of good reasons to work in corrections. It’s a great job for people who have a lot of patience. You help people at a time when they probably feel helpless. When you act professionally, you ensure that a person receives their constitutional rights and that they’re treated with fairness and justice by the criminal justice system.

There are practical reasons to work in law enforcement, too. If you like shift work with predictable working hours, you get that with a corrections job. If you want a job where you don’t have to sit behind a desk all day, corrections work is for you. The pay is generally good, and it’s work you can sometimes secure without a college education. There are health benefits and sometimes even a pension, which are not easy to come by, anymore.

What the Test is Looking For

When you take your oral test, the corrections officer interview questions test whether you can do the job competently and professionally. They make sure you have the right motivation and personal background to work in law enforcement. They make sure that you can handle the daily decisions you have to make on the job. The interviewers want to make sure that you can communicate, work with others, and accept direction.

Most of the questions you get at the interview are subjective. That means, there’s not necessarily a right answer. Corrections officer interview questions are that way on purpose because they want to test how you think and your thought process in certain situations.

How Many Interviewers

You might be wondering if there is one interviewer or many. The answer is that it depends, but usually there is a small panel of three or four officers and supervisors that review your answers. They rank you and decide if your answers are acceptable or not. Usually, you get the same questions that other applicants get, too.

Responding To Certain Situations – Sample Interview Questions

A lot of the questions you can expect ask you to answer what you might do in a certain situation. For example, they might ask you what you might do if the person who is supposed to take over for you has not arrived thirty minutes after their shift was set to begin.

Another typical question is how you might respond if you found out that a coworker stole something. Another question might ask what action you would take, if any, if you saw a coworker treat an inmate improperly.

In addition to asking what you would do, the interviewers might ask other questions to reveal how you arrived at your answer. They might ask you your reasons for coming to the conclusion that you did. They might play the devil’s advocate and ask you to defend your choice. All of these follow up questions are fair game.

Tell Me About a Time

Other popular interview questions seek to investigate how you behaved in previous challenging situations. They might start with “Tell me about a time…” and then pose a situation that requires thought. One question might be “Tell me about a time that you had a conflict with a coworker. What happened and how did you resolve it?” Another question might be, “Tell me about a time that you had to undertake an assignment and you didn’t have clear information about what to do. How did you handle it?”

They might ask you to talk about times that you handled conflict. This is because you handle a lot of conflict when you work in law enforcement. You might answer questions about report writing. It’s important that all of your answers demonstrate skill and competency is answering these questions.

Other Typical Questions to Expect

At your interview, be ready to talk about any training that you have to work as a corrections officer. If you’ve taken a criminal justice course, this is great information. If you’ve ever done an internship or even served on jury duty, these are good things to mention. You should also be able to answer why you want to work in corrections and why the agency appeals to you specifically.

You can also expect to answer the usual questions about your strength and weaknesses. There are standard questions about what motivates you to be the best that you can be in the things that you do. You can probably expect questions about your strengths and weaknesses and why you feel you’re a good candidate for the position.

How to Prepare

There are a few ways that you can put your best foot forward. Think of answers to the questions mentioned in this article. Also, go to the department’s website and learn all that you can in advance. If you can show the interviewers that you’ve done your research, that can put you at the front of the line. A lot of times the website has information on how to prepare or what to expect during the process.

You can also learn what you can about who you might work for. There might be pictures of the facility where you would work that are publicly available online. The facility might also post a mission statement online. Be sure to memorize the statement so you can refer to it during the interview.


Finally, relax and do your best. Drink a glass of water and get plenty of sleep the night before the interview. Set out your clothes so that you don’t have a crisis the day of the interview. Try to have a neat, clean appearance for your interview.