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What to Expect From a Police Clerk Interview

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As an office police clerk, your role is significant. You must be able to perform several tasks quickly, because, by the nature of the job you will be constantly handling emergencies, whether they involve situations in which a murder is likely to take place, or someone is attempting a home invasion, or even a suicide. You must be able to sort the department mail and use the radio to dispatch officers sometimes simultaneously. You must be willing to perform shift work while staying awake. Because of the amount and intensity of the responsibility of the position, expect a number of probing questions at the interview for the job.

Multitasking Questions

The interviewer wants to know if you are capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously. According to the Woodland Police Department job description, you may have to answer a number of calls at the same time, answer questions, or route the citizens whose questions you cannot answer to the party who can. In addition, your job also requires you to operate the office radio, and to perform dispatching duties while handling a troublesome situation that demands your immediate attention.

People Skills Queries

Expect the person conducting the interview to query you regarding your people skills. As the Lynnwood Police Department website suggests, as a police clerk you may have to search and take statements from inmates, who very well may already be upset. He may want to know if you can remain calm and pleasant in the face of an inmate who uses abusive language toward you. So, the interviewer is likely to ask you questions regarding the last time you faced a situation involving a rude, belligerent customer or inmate. He may ask you to describe how you were able to defuse the situation.

Typing/Computer Skills Questions

Expect the interviewer to inquire about your typing and computer skills. Police departments desire that you type at a speed conducive to effective performance on the job. The Lynnwood police department, for example, has set a minimum of 40 words per minute. Other departments may have more stringent requirements than that. Also, the examiner will ask you to talk about your experience with Microsoft Word and spreadsheets, the tools that you are most likely to use frequently in the office.

Accounting Related Questions

As a police clerk candidate, anticipate questions on your accounting experience. As the City of Modesto, California, job description indicates, your job will call on you to handle basic financial transactions, including accounts receivables, preparing invoices, and collecting monies for fines, fingerprints and background checks. The interviewer may ask you questions regarding your ability to handle money responsibly and keep accurate records of all funds coming into and leaving the office.

Management Experience Questions

The interviewer for the position is likely to question you concerning your management experience. For according to the Woodland job description, your job may require you to supervise other office staff and volunteers while management is away. Therefore, expect questions concerning your prior experiences as an office manager, whether or not they were successful, and the steps you took to make sure that the office ran in an orderly manner.

Felony Convictions

An interviewer may ask you about any past problems with the law, especially felony convictions. Although the department can access the information quickly through a background check, the representative still may ask you this question to test your integrity. Answer the question honestly. If you made the mistakes before you reached adulthood, include that fact in your answer. Depending on the policies of the department, if you are truthful, they might take your age at the time of the illegal activities into consideration.


Angus Koolbreeze has been a freelance writer since 2007. He has been published in a variety of venues, including "He Reigns Magazine" and online publications. Koolbreeze has a Master of Arts in English from Western Michigan University.