Should I Put Down My Competition?

In a previous article I explained how you should not answer the question "If we don't choose you for this position, which candidate should we choose?" Basically, don't say someone other than yourself is better for the job.


Closing Statements

In an oral board setting, when the raters have completed their questions, they will usually say something like, "This is your time, is there anything else you wish to add?" It is at this point that you would give your concise closing statement. Usually, this statement will be a recap of what you had just said. For example, "As you can see, I have worked extremely hard throughout my entire career for this position. Given the opportunity, I am confident that through my various assignments, especially those in command positions, as well as my continuing education, that I have gained a breadth of knowledge that will assist the department in the development of its personnel. Also, I will not only continue to improve upon the service the department gives the citizens of our community in providing a safe environment for everyone, but will also improve upon the high standards for which we are known." You can include whatever fits your needs, but as you can see, this is a very short recap of your entire career history and goes directly to the point that you are the person that should be chosen for the position.

When you have concluded your closing statement and the oral board thanks you, and they begin to stand, you should also stand and again look each of the raters in the eye, shake their hand, and thank them by using their rank and name. For example: "Thank you, Lieutenant Swan," then turn and walk out the door with your head pointed forward and your eyes looking towards the horizon. Maintain this posture all the way out the door because you are being observed by the board until the door closes. The reason I bring this to your attention is because I have observed many individuals slouch their shoulders and hang their head while walking out the door because they felt they did poorly during their presentation. Don't let the raters know how you feel as this may--and I repeat may--have some influence on their final appraisal of your entire interview. Besides, you really can't determine how well or poorly you did because you were under so much stress that you probably don't recall every action or question that took place during those last 30 or 45 minutes of your life. How many times have you heard people say when they left an exam, "Boy, I really blew that test!" when in reality they passed it with flying colors; or on the other hand, "Boy, I aced that one!" and later found out they failed. So don't jump to conclusions.

Feedback

Now that you have completed your mock oral, take a deep breath and sit down with the raters and ask them to critique your performance. You may get some hard hits, but try not to take it personally. Remember, this is a learning tool, and you want the raters to be honest with you and help you in improving your presentation. Do not get discouraged. This is the time to change the negatives into positives. Don't say, "Well, that is the way I am and if they don't like it, then too bad because I am not going to change." Uh-uh, wrong attitude--because in reality, it may be the time to change. Remember, we are not the same person that we were when we were first sworn in as police officers. We evolve with time and mature. We must change or grow stagnant.

Be open to any criticism from the raters--that's what this whole process is about--and let them assess you while you take notes. When they have completed their critique, ask questions on how you can improve. For example, if they say there were parts of an answer they did not understand, discuss it with them and figure out a way to improve that answer. If they stated you rambled, determine how you can be more concise with your answers. And if they did not like your appearance or your gestures, make sure you have the answers on ways to improve any concerns prior to the rater's departure. This is your future we are discussing and these raters have taken a lot of time to assist you, so take the time to pick their brains and utilize their experience.

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