Oct 10 2012

Police Interview Question The Weakness Question and Presidential Failure


The weakness question is a standard job interview question. It is a question that is poorly answered time and again in everyday job interviews and the police oral board interview.  The combination of anxiety, unpreparedness, and the more intimidating nature of police oral boards does not help the problem.  As an applicant, do not get caught off-guard by this common police interview question when preparing for your interview.  Often interviewees are intimidated by this question because they believe it will give a negative impression to the board.  This is an easy questions to answer.  It becomes even easier once you see how to answer it, add in some practice and you will get top scores. Keep in mind that you can never give a one-dimensional answer to this question.

 Even the most polished speakers can get tripped up on a weakness question.  For example, on September, 20th 2012, Univision journalists asked President Obama what his greatest failure was.  This wasn’t a job interview but it was a hard hitting interview during an election cycle that put the President on his heels.  The President’s answer included talk about his inability to get immigration reform passed and then continued with, “The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside, you can only change it from the outside. “  This answer was a failure in answering a question about your greatest failure.

President Obama could have answered this question with a simple how to from Win Your Badge.  The formula for answering this question is simple, but very effective.  Talk about a weakness that is no longer a weakness.  In effect you discuss something that is relatively minor and show how you have corrected the error all while remaining positive.  Let’s say you have a time management issue and you have been late to work or appointments.  You would say that you had time management issues in the past but now you keep a detailed calendar and schedule to stay on task and make all of your commitments.  In essence you are not talking about a weakness but a past corrected weakness.

My first advice to you is to not use my example above.  Second, make it something genuine to you personally, otherwise it will sound disingenuous or rehearsed.  Next, make it a smaller or more insignificant weakness that in and of itself is nothing major.  Finally, always remain positive and enthusiastic when answering any police interview question.

If I was counseling the President in his situation it would be simple.  If a piece of legislation failed or was unsuccessful then plainly state it.  Let them know you are still behind it and you plan to move forward with your full commitment.  Blaming others and making the disorderly sounding statement he did, shows no ownership and worse no leadership.  It did not come across as positive and lacked enthusiasm; it was simply about blaming the other side.   

I am not taking sides when it comes to politics and I am certainly not picking on the President.  In fact, I cannot wait until the election is over with, the fighting back and forth, even at a distance, gets old.  I just simply want to make an everyday observation that anyone entering a law enforcement hiring process can relate to.  A little preparation and preparedness goes a long ways when you are preparing for your law enforcement career, get started today. 

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