Police Officer Hiring Process

The following are the standard procedures used by most agencies when hiring for law enforcement positions. Applicants will go through each of the steps and those who do not any of the elements will be removed from consideration. Those who remain will be scored based upon that the scores that they received during the scored elements of the process. Agencies will then offer jobs to those on the list starting from the top and working their way down.

It is important to have a complete and accurate understanding of the process to increase your chances of getting hired. Also, Failure to follow any of the steps properly can remove an applicant from consideration. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take the Walk-through of the Application Hiring Process

Job Announcement:

The announcement is intended to attract the most qualified candidates. It also informs potential applicants as to the minimum qualifications for the job openings so that only those who meet the minimum requirements apply for the job.
More about the Job Announcement

Application Packet:

Intended to collect all necessary paperwork from the applicant necessary to determine if the applicant meet the minimum requirements, and all documents required as part of the evaluation and hiring process.
More about the Application Packet

Cover Letter/Resume:

Being able to write well is a key element for any law enforcement job. The cover letter and resume are a measure of how well the applicant writes.
More about the Cover Letter/Resume

Written Test:

A standardized test given to all potential applicants. The written exam can be scored as pass/fail, or with a numerical scale. Passing the written test is a requirement of continuing on with the hiring process.
More about the Written Test

Oral Board Interview:

The oral board Interview is where the applicant appears before a group of at least 3 members from the department, other departments, or members of the community, and are asked a series of questions. Each of the members on the board then scores the applicant’s performance. The scoring may be rated on a pass/fail basis, or rated on a numerical scale.
More about the Oral Board Interview

Physical Agility Test:

The purpose of the physical agility test is only to determine if applicants have the physical abilities to perform the duties required by the job. Not every agency uses a physical agility test, and those who do will score it based upon pass/fail.
More about the Physical Agility Test


The purpose of the polygraph is to find out if there is anything in the applicant’s past which would disqualify them from becoming a law enforcement officer. This could include drug use, criminal activity, and other acts of behavior inconsistent with being a law enforcement officer.
More about the Polygraph

Psychological Exam:

The purpose of the psychological is to determine if an applicant is psychologically fit to perform the duties of a law enforcement officer. This is vital to determine that an officer will not be a danger to the public, their team members, and themselves.
More about the Psychological Exam

Background Investigation:

Applicants who make it through the competitive hiring process and are being considered for employment will be given a background investigation. This is to validate all of the information submitted as part of the application process, and also determine if there are any “disqualifiers” which may removed the candidate from consideration. There may be a polygraph and psychological exam as part or related to this process.
More about the Background Investigation

Medical Exam:

Most agencies will have all applicants being considered for employment undergo a medical exam. Passing the medical exam is a condition of employment. The purpose of the medial exam is to determine if the candidate is medically fit for duty or has any medical condition which would prohibit them from performing necessary duties.
More about the Medical Exam

Job Offer:

When an agency has decided to offer a job to an applicant, it will be based upon that all information provided by the applicant during any of the previous stages was truthful and accurate. Failure with this aspect will remove the applicant from consideration and if already hired will be cause for termination. The job offer may be contingent upon still passing a complete background investigation.
More about the Job Offer