The Mock Oral

I've taken oral interviews before, why do I need a mock oral now? Learn what to expect before you talk to the raters.


Throughout my 17 years as chief of police, I have always advocated that the candidate participate in several mock oral board presentations prior to the real exam. This is the best way to become more comfortable with the testing process. Several of my following articles will deal with the preparation and involvement in the mock oral process.

So let's begin. First of all you must know what to wear to your oral interview or assessment center.

Dress for success, but don't go overboard.

Men, there is power in a good tailored suit, a freshly pressed shirt, and a new tie. Also remember that the shoes you wear should match your suit and definitely should be highly polished. The heels should be in good condition and not worn down. Don't wear patent leather, uniform dress shoes. They have a special need with your uniform--not with your suit. Leave your gold chains, bracelets, and diamond pinky rings at home. I would also advise against any lapel pins during your presentations. As a reminder, be sure your haircut, facial hair and sideburns are within the department regulations, unless you are in a specialty assignment and your supervisor gives you permission to maintain your hair out of regulation. Also, do not wear earrings during your interview. If you're not sure about accessories for your ensemble, seek assistance on the internet, or contact your local men's store. They will be more than happy to discuss your options.

Ladies, the saying "dress for success" applies here and, thankfully, you have many styles from which to choose. According to Ilse Metchek, Executive Director of the California Fashion Association, "Women need to think about how they portray themselves. You don't want the attention to be on your clothing, you want it to be on your work." Keep things simple. Keep makeup to a minimum and in good taste, and utilize soft colors for your fingernails. Again, if you are not sure about accessories and makeup, you can check on the internet or consult your local women's store for assistance.

For both the male and female candidate, be sure your fingernails are properly trimmed and clean. Make sure your hygiene is impeccable. Remember, the last thing you want to show are underarm stains on your suit, shirt, or blouse. You also do not want to emit an embarrassing odor of any kind.

When wearing cologne, aftershave lotion, hand lotion, or perfume, make sure the scents blend nicely. Apply your perfume or aftershave lotion a couple of hours prior to your appointment so it has a chance to dissipate.

Men, get a haircut a couple of days prior to the oral board. If you dye your hair, make sure the roots are evenly colored.

Ladies, if at all possible, have your hair cut and or styled prior to the oral board; and if you color dye your hair, be sure your roots are not showing.

Many of these items sound so basic, you may ask yourself why I am even bringing them to your attention. Well, the truth of the matter is that each of these situations has occurred with several candidates when they appeared before me as a rater on an oral board or during the chief's oral, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. Candidates have appeared with exceptionally bad body odor or heavy dandruff, which created a very poor impression. Other areas that will detract from your presentation are wearing shoes that have scuff marks, worn heels, or shoes that look as though they were polished with a candy bar. Take the time to look, and feel good about yourself, and the dividends will pay off in the future.

You only have one chance to make that first impression

Now is the time to begin preparation for you mock oral board. This is a very involved process if it done correctly, but the time involved will pay off in the long run.

"Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand."
--Chinese Proverb
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