Hiring process - Correctional officer - Guide to preparing for a job interview

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The goal of the interview process is to determine if you possess the ability and personal suitability to perform the duties of a Correctional Officer. The interview includes two types of questions:

  • Situational questions
  • Behaviour-based questions

The interview allows the Correctional Service of Canada to assess the following:


  • Ability to motivate, positively influence and assist people
  • Ability to make recommendations and take appropriate action
  • Ability to communicate effectively orally

Personal Suitabilities

  • Respect
  • Initiative
  • Judgement
  • Teamwork
  • Sensitivity to diversity

Tips for Preparing for the Interview

Situational Questions

The situational questions you are asked during the interview will describe hypothetical situations that you may encounter on the job. You will be asked what you would do in that situation.

Example: What would you do if a co-worker refused to do their share of the work after the two of you had agreed on how the work would be divided?

When responding you should describe, in detail, a series of actions that you would take in that specific situation to help resolve it.

The people interviewing you are called an Assessment Board. Assessment board members use a rating guide. It has sample answers to each question to help evaluate your answers. The rating guide for a situational question is based on behaviours that have been shown to be effective in a given situation.

Behaviour-based Questions

Behaviour-based questions ask how you have handled certain situations in the past.

Example: Tell us about a time when you needed to make a decision, even though you did not have all the information you would have liked to have.

One way to prepare for behaviour-based questions is to practice the STAR method. The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behaviour-based interview question by discussing the specific Situation, Task, Action and Result of the situation you are describing:

Situation — What was the situation? What was the background and context?
Task — What specific task did you need to accomplish?
Action — What specifically did you say and do? What were the actions you took?
Result — What were the results of your actions? What was the impact? What did you learn?

  • Choose a recent example if possible. Older examples may not reflect your current competency level.
  • Choose an example that is characteristic of what can be expected of you on an ongoing basis. While a work-related example is preferable, you may also choose a school-related or community-based activity, if necessary.
  • Focus your description on what you did. Use “I did” statements rather than “we did” statements.

Prior to the Day of your Interview

  • Review the Statement of Merit Criteria that was posted with the job opportunity. It outlines the criteria you will be assessed on.
  • Think about what you have accomplished in your career/studies that demonstrates that you have the skills required to do the job well (i.e., Judgement, Teamwork).

Day of your Interview

Ensure that you have the following documentation ready:

  • Two pieces of photo identification
  • Contact information for two work-related references
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of education and/or equivalency
  • Valid and unrestricted driver's license
  • Proof of certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED) and First Aid

Getting Through the Interview

  • Stay focussed; take the process seriously.
  • Interviews are timed. If you finish all the questions and there is time remaining, you may want to revisit one or more questions to add information.
  • Answer the questions fully and to the best of your ability. Answer the questions as if you are educating the assessment board members, because you can only be marked on the answers you provide, not what you think is already obvious.
  • Be honest and straightforward.
  • Be concise and specific with the details of your answers.
  • Be yourself, try to relax and make yourself comfortable.

Post Interview

  • Ensure that you keep your contact information up-to-date so that the results of the interview can be shared with you, as well as any follow-up requirements.