Correctional officers usually undergo a series of rigorous tests and interviews before being hired by any federal, state or private prison. As part of the assessment process, you will undergo a psychological evaluation (or psych test) to determine your mental compatibility for the job. The psych evaluation tests consist of oral and written examinations that may vary depending on the employer. Here are a few preparation tips to help you pass the psych evaluation.
Know the System
Find out if your law enforcement agency has materials that could help you prepare for the evaluation. Know the evaluation’s general format and rating system to help you feel more at ease on the evaluation day. Learning the categories to be tested ahead of time may not exactly provide you with all the right answers, but helps you get more conversant with the basic components and objectives of the psych test.
Get Reference Material
Purchase additional study and reference materials related to these psychological evaluations to help you prepare. Moreover, be sure to perform background checks on the specific position that you are applying for to help you deal with any tough questions that could be asked during an oral interview.
One of the main purposes of a psych test is to identify any potentially manipulative personality traits. These evaluations are structured to measure validity. Therefore, oral examinations will involve a series of similar questions that are structured differently to determine the candidate’s level of consistency. Carefully listen to the questions; then take a moment to reflect before giving a simple and honest answer.
Control Your Anger and Aggressiveness
The correctional officer psych evaluation also measures on-the-job characteristics, such as, risk-taking and aggressiveness. This is partly due to the fact that a correctional officer’s job involves carrying firearms on a daily basis. In some cases, the psych evaluations may allow for employment, but restrict the correctional officer from carrying any firearms. Any history of professional and personal violence will surface in background checks taken before the psych evaluation. Therefore, be completely honest about any past mistakes and give any measures that you took to address these mistakes.
Ensure Proper Communication
A correctional officer must have excellent communication skills. Practice proper analysis of the facts on any field assignment and learn how to retell them in a concise manner. By verbalizing the story in the mirror or in the presence of a friend, you can minimize any rambling that would complicate the analysis. Correctional officers also require excellent writing and documentation skills. Try enhancing these skills by writing down events as they occurred on a TV channel, or even by watching someone at the mall.
To pass the psych evaluation, you must have excellent problem-solving skills. Train yourself to work under stress to better your work experience. If you have minimal experience in working under challenging situations, simply review real-life scenarios that dealt with difficult situations, such as handling inmates.
A correctional officer must be able to demonstrate the ability to listen to their supervisors and accept correction at all times. If you are aware of any issues prior to the evaluation, you can address them through relevant support groups and control-counseling.
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