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Interview Questions to Become a Detective

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Working for law enforcement agencies or private companies, detectives find and analyze information through investigations and surveillance. They look for clues to solve crimes or answer questions on legal, personal and financial matters. Depending on the particular job, they may conduct background checks, search for missing persons, perform surveillance on cheating spouses or investigate crimes. When you interview for a detective position, anticipate questions that relate directly to the job duties and its difficulties.

Why Do You Want This Job?

One of the first questions you may be asked in a job interview to be a detective is why you want the job and what makes you think you should get it. Being a detective is a difficult job that requires specific skills, and you will need to demonstrate that you are better-equipped for the work than other candidates. For example, a detective needs physical strength and stamina. Explain to the interviewer what sports and exercises you engage in regularly to stay in superior physical condition. Also discuss any community service positions, such as club president or treasurer, that attest to your leadership and honesty.

How Would You Deal With...?

A common practice in interviews for detective jobs is asking hypothetical questions. An interviewer will want to know how you would respond to various situations, such as how you would react and what you would do if you found out a coworker was stealing money from your employer. Or, the interviewer might ask what you would do in case of a conflict of interest -- such as if a family friend figured among the suspects. These questions help the interviewer to gauge your judgment, honesty, decision-making ability and integrity.

How Do You Handle Stress?

Detectives may work long hours under stressful conditions. During a job interview, you will likely be asked how you handle stress. The interviewer may also ask you how you handle conflict in both your professional and personal life. She may ask what situations or people make you angry or upset. She may want to know what outlets you use to relax.The interviewer needs to feel confident that you can handle stressful situations and stay calm during a crisis.

Describe Your Investigative Skills

Most detectives have previous experience in their field or in doing investigative work. A good job interviewer will want to know about your previous jobs -- specifically what you have done in those positions to show that you have the necessary investigative, interrogation and interviewing skills to perform your job well. The interviewer may also ask specific questions to determine your knowledge of criminal law and procedures.


Gabrielle Nicolet has been writing and editing professionally since 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University. Nicolet is also a certified nutrition, wellness and weight-management consultant with American Fitness Professionals and Associates.

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