Detectives are police officers charged with investigating and solving crime. They will are assigned different unsolved crimes to crack or tie the loose ends.
In this article, we will look at some of the questions you should expect in a detective sergeant interview. You will mostly be asked about your experience, mode of operations, skills, and behaviors, answers that you should have at your fingertips.
Also, remember to work on other necessary interview skills, such as presenting yourself and answering questions.
Take some time and go through the following:
1. Why are You Interested in This Role?
Why do you want to become a detective sergeant? What irked your interest in this particular role? This is an opening question that usually carries a lot of weight. Make sure that you sell yourself in your answer.
I have always been intrigued by how crimes are solved. I watched lots of crime documentaries growing up, which I still find mindblowing. I have been a detective for quite some time and have been at the forefront of solving different crimes, which I find very rewarding. I would therefore like to take it a notch higher and help supervise, schedule, and train other detectives, imparting on them some of the things that I have learned over time.
2. What are the Roles of a Detective Sergeant
Do you know some of the mandates of a detective sergeant? It would be best if you had the job description at your fingertips at all times. Confidently mention the main roles involved in this position to show that you understand the job well.
As a detective sergeant, my main work will be to supervise, train and schedule detectives. I will also manage the crime lab, write reports, ensure the integrity of crime scenes and work closely with other departments or agencies. ( These are the main responsibilities of a detective sergeant. You can mention all the others)
3. What are the Qualities That a Detective Sergeant Needs to be Effective?
What makes a good detective sergeant? The interviewer wants to know if you understand some of the essential skills, attributes, and general qualities a detective sergeant should have. Mention some of the things that have helped you in your career.
A good detective sergeant should have excellent observation, report writing, and communication skills. Given that they are also expected to train and schedule others, excellent leadership skills are also required. Other qualities include attention to detail, courtroom testimony skills, and a positive attitude towards work. ( Remember, there is no cap. Therefore, mention any other role-related quality, if any.)
4. Mention a Challenge That You Encountered in Your Last Role. How Did You Manage It?
Every role comes with its fair share of challenges, others manageable and some quite difficult to manage. As an employee, you are required to try to find solutions. The interviewer is putting your problem-solving skills to the test. Therefore, make sure that he/she is convinced.
When working for my former agency, I had an unsupportive supervisor who was unnecessarily harsh. He did not want to help out when I had problems and kept on blaming me for everything. I tried being at my best but to no avail. When I could not take it anymore, I requested to be moved to a different agency to work in peace.
5. How Do You Envision Your Daily Routine in this Field?
What do you think your daily roles as a detective sergeant will be? The interviewer wants to know if you understand this position and knows the job description. Therefore, before any interview, carry out some research and uncover every little detail you may be asked.
My day will begin early enough. I will attend a meeting with my subordinates and then the other detectives. The rest of the day will involve supervising, training, scheduling, writing reports, managing the crime lab, checking out crime scenes, and reaching out to different departments. ( You can also choose to explain all the activities that you envision yourself doing in chronological order)
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience in This Field?
What are some of the roles you have occupied and incredible things you have done in your line of work? You can also mention some of your accolades or achievements in this field. Remember, the gist of your experience is captured in your work resume and CV, and therefore, be as brief as possible.
I joined the police force twenty-five years ago. After completing my probation, I became an uninformed response officer, then a tutor, and shortly after, a police support unit officer. Six years later, I was promoted to sergeant, which I have held for ten years. I have helped solved over 10000 cases in my life as a police officer and earned several awards, which I have included in my CV. (Mention any other information that you feel is relevant here. Also, mainly focus on the most important parts of your career)
7. Mention a Strategy and Mindset that Works for This Role?
The interviewer wants to know if you already have a strategy that you believe will be effective if given the Job. A strategy is a way of working that guarantees success. To answer the second part of the question, mention a guiding perspective that you believe detective sergeants should adhere to in their work.
I believe that one of the best strategies for any detective sergeant is to incorporate as much technology as possible in their work. It helps in crime scene management, training, and supervision of other detectives and being in touch with other departments. As for the right mindset, always focusing on the results helps a detective sergeant be as accurate and attentive as possible and should therefore be adopted.
8. Mention a Challenge that You Foresee In This Role
What do you think will be the biggest obstacle if you get this Job? You should conduct some research and identify anything in the job description, place of work, or surrounding that may be highly challenging. Make sure that your challenge does not make you look incompetent.
I mainly applied for this job because I was looking for new challenges, which I believe I will manage. The only challenge worth mentioning is that this is a new area I haven’t lived in before. Therefore, I do not understand the locality and may need some time to get to know some of the people around. However, since I love interacting and getting to know new settings, that will not be a problem.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In This Role?
You need to have a source of motivation to wade through the obstacles you may encounter in your line of work. Every Job has its demotivating periods, and without the right push, you may give up. You will also be exposed to many heinous crimes that may make you want to change your mind. Mention where you get your motivation, but make sure that it is not a material source such as money.
Solving crimes and helping victims find justice is therapeutic and gives me the motivation I need in this job. I also took up several habits such as yoga and meditation at some point in life, which have helped me work on my focus and general outlook in life, contributing to my constant motivation.
10. Mention a Strength that Makes You Qualified for this Job
Do you know what it takes to be a good detective sergeant? Do you have the right qualities for this role? Try and think about some of your personal attributes needed in a detective sergeant.
I am keen on details, an attribute that all detectives need. I normally believe that no stone should be left unturned in detective work, a philosophy that I have held in to for more than ten years.
11. How Do You Normally Handle Stressful Situations
As a detective sergeant, your work will expose you to high-stress levels that you should know how to manage. Therefore, your answer should assure the interviewer that you can professionally handle all the stress and pressure of this job. Mention some of your strategies.
Part of my training as a detective involved learning how to handle the stress and pressure of this job. Whenever I am faced with a stressful situation or too much pressure, I break down everything into manageable bits and scenarios. This helps me make the situations manageable.
12. Can You Work with Minimal Supervision?
Nobody likes to follow up on an employee or an adult who knows what they should be doing at all times. As a detective sergeant, you are required to work with minimal supervision. Therefore assure the interviewer that you will be productive with as little supervision as possible.
I can successfully work on my own and deliver overwhelming results, something that my former captain loved. I don’t believe in being supervised and pushed around to perform. I have mastered the art of working both independently and in teams with minimal supervision.
13. Are There Situations Where You Have Had to Fire Your Weapon? Tell Us
You will mostly be called to a scene once the crime is over, so it is rare to fire your weapon as a detective sergeant. However, some situations may demand that you defend yourself or prevent another crime during your investigation. Mention these to the interviewer.
In the years that I have served as a detective, I am happy that I haven’t had to fire my weapon. However, if I ever found myself in a situation where firing is necessary, I would go ahead since I am confident in my ability to react properly. ( You can also mention a situation where you had to fire, if any, and even suggest that the interviewer reviews the case files and supporting documentation)
14. What Is Your Interview Style?
When solving a crime, you are required to interrogate witnesses or suspects. You will interview them and look for loose ends, which calls for strong interview skills. Mention an interview-style and explain why you feel that it is effective. We advise that you settle on one that has always worked for you.
I normally use a qualitative interview approach when obtaining information that would help me solve a crime. I find it highly effective given that it feels more like a conversation than an interview with my subjects. It does its job and lives to a detective’s main work, which is to obtain as much information as possible.
15. How Flexible Is Your Schedule?
This is an important question that the interviewer must ask, given that crimes happen all around the clock. Can you work over the weekends, holidays, and weekends needed upon? Your answer should show that you are highly flexible.
I consider myself a flexible individual. I usually spend most of my free time indoors, so I am always willing to help when called upon. However, all I ask for is to be informed early enough to get in the right mental frame and cancel any plans, if any. ( You can also tell the interviewer that you do not mind working during weekends holidays provided that those days will be accounted for later)
16. You Must Have Faced Lots of Ethical Dilemmas in Your Work. How Will You Withstand Them in This Role?
The interviewer is putting your integrity to the test. You will come across people willing to give hefty bribes for you to cover up cases or “misplace” important pieces of evidence. You should therefore tell the interviewer how you intend to deal with such situations.
I am a person of high integrity. I have been in lots of such situations, given my line of work. However, my answer has always been a resounding NO to anything that goes against my moral beliefs and obligations. I would, therefore, say no and stick to the guidelines and policies in my work.
17. What Are Your Career Goals as a Detective?
What do you plan to achieve with your career as a detective? Here you can mention some of the long-term goals that you are committed to achieving?. What personal legacies do you want to live behind?
When I was first promoted to detective, my main goal was to solve more than 5000 cases in the rest of my career and help courts achieve justice and families move on, which I am still working on. My other goal is to inspire those who are to come after me to work diligently and impartially.
18. Have You Had any Additional Training that Has Helped You Become a Better Detective?
The interviewer wants to know just how qualified you are in this role. What are some of the courses or training you have undergone to make your work easier and more effective as a detective? Make sure that you only mention courses that relate to this line of work.
I studied criminology and criminal justice in college, which saw me become a good police detective. I have also undergone rigorous firearm handling and control training, crime scene investigation, self-defense, and patrol procedures. ( You can mention any other training that you have undergone provided that it pertains to your work)
19. What is Your Philosophy as a Detective?
What is your guiding principle as a detective? What do you believe in and follow to the latter? Mention a philosophy that is relevant to your work as a detective and others can learn from.
I have a pretty short philosophy which has helped me crack some of the toughest cases. I believe in leaving no stone unturned. Therefore, I normally question even the littlest details or those that do not seem interesting. I have found out that the answers to most cases that seem unsolvable lie in the smallest details.
20. Why Did You Choose Our Agency?
The interviewer wants to know any you chose that particular agency out of all the possible options. Your answer should therefore reveal enthusiasm and passion for whatever the agency deals with. If possible, give a personal experience.
I am passionate about dealing with children and offering them as much help as possible. Having been raised in the slums, I know the vulnerability that children experience. I, therefore, decided to apply for a job in this antichild trafficking agency to help put a stop to those who take advantage of children’s vulnerability.
These are a few questions that you should anticipate in a detective sergeant interview. Show the interviewer that you are passionate and enthusiastic about your job, and you may start working as early as the next week.
However, do not also forget that things such as dressing and posture may be a deal maker or breaker when it comes to interviews.