The last step in hiring candidates in the New York Police Department is the police psychological exam. It’s also one of the most dreaded assessments in law enforcement entrance exams. Almost all law enforcement departments in the US require their candidates to take the psychological exam; some agencies also use the polygraph test and employ drug screening.
Since the psychological exam has the power to make or break your career, many aspirants are understandably concerned about what the exam entails. At Civil Service Success, we work with candidates to prepare them for what the future holds. Here are some facts about the psychological screening of police officers that our experts want you to understand:
Psychological assessments don’t aim to determine your sanity
Perhaps one of the most widely circulated misconceptions about police psychological screening is that it asses a person’s sanity or lack thereof. However, this belief holds no truth.
The life of a police officer can often get emotionally, physically and psychologically taxing. Their job exposes them to horrific crime scenes and tremendous verbal abuse. It takes some specific personality traits to be able to carry out the duties of a police officer efficiently.
The aim of the psychological assessments is to ensure that you have the capacity to deal with police-related stressors. Therefore, you should keep in mind that the test doesn’t reflect the value of your personality. Instead, it only asseses your suitability for the job.
Components of the psychological exam
Since the aim of the police psychological exam is to determine the best person for the job, the test includes several components. Typically, the exam starts off with an evaluation followed by a survey of multiple-choice assessments. Finally, you’ll be required to sit with an experienced psychologist who interviews you.
The likelihood of your hiring depends directly on the results of these components. Candidates are classified according to low, medium or high risk for hiring and acceptable, marginal or unacceptable for hiring.
Traits you’ll be assessed for
Your pre-employment psychological screening will assess you for personality traits that may or may not be suitable for the job. Some of these include:
- Impulse control
- General intelligence
- Emotional intelligence
- Attitude toward sexuality
- Personal bias
When it comes to police work, these particular traits represent how well a person can carry out required law enforcement tasks. Since police officers are held to high ethical standards, candidates with undesirable traits are eliminated from the admission process.
What to expect when you reach the psychologists offer
Prepare to be welcomed by a host of other candidates aspiring to join the police force. After signing the consent form to undergo the process, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire with questions about your personal history.
Questions regarding past drug use, previous employment, strengths, weaknesses and other background-related queries could be a part of the first questionnaire. Once you’re done with this, you may receive several-pages long multiple choice personality assessment. You’d be required to tell if you strongly agree, mildly agree, strongly disagree or mildly with the statements made.
You may find that the same question is printed several times. This is by design to judge your honesty and consistency. Make sure you give the same answers to the same questions throughout the assessment.
The flow of the interview
When you come face-to-face with the senior psychologist, you can expect some introspective questions based on the evaluation form and survey you filled. You can treat this as an opportunity to talk about your responses and clarify your stance.
Make sure that you’re clear about your beliefs. If you stutter or seem confused, it could send the wrong message to your prospective employers. The psychologist will make a report based on your assessment and forward it to the department heads who’ll call the final shots.
How effective is psychological screening?
The police department has been using psychological assessment as a major part of its screening process for quite some time. It seems confident that the psychological exam does its best to shortlist candidates based on a judgment regarding their desirable and undesirable traits.
You can only imagine the damage that could be done in society if an unsuitable person for the job is given a gun and badge. Therefore, psychological assessments hold great value when it comes to ensuring the right people are hired in the police department.
Tips to pass the psychological assessment
The first step in ensuring you do well in these exams is to be yourself. Answer all questions honestly and be very clear about your stance. Surveys often come with hidden tools to identify deceptive attitudes.
If you’re caught faking personality traits that you don’t have, your chances of passing can seem very slim. Therefore, your best bet is answering all questions as simply and directly as you can. Make sure you’re dressed in appropriate business attire and adhere to normal grooming standards.
If you don’t understand a question or part of the process, feel free to request information. It’s vital that you clearly understand what’s being asked of you.
You’re not a bad person if you fail
Truth be told, not everyone is going to pass the psychological assessment. However, rather than thinking about acing the exam, ask yourself if you’re suitable for a role in the police department. If you “fail” the test, maybe you weren’t suited for the job.
Having a positive attitude is going to help you move forward in your career.
Prepare for the test with us
If you’re looking for renowned test preparation centers that can help you realize your dream of becoming a police officer, reach out to us. At Civil Service Success, we offer extensive preparation classes for NYS Court Officer Trainee Exam, NYC Firefighter Exam and Suffolk County Police Test.
Reach out to our friendly customer service today and book your slot at our academy!