The Chief Said What?

Many candidates panic when they have to talk to the Chief, especially during a promotional examination.

Many candidates panic when they have to talk to the Chief, especially during a promotional examination. Usually after you have successfully completed the written exam, the Oral Board, or the Assessment Center process, it is the time to face the Chief of your organization. (Some agencies may not have a Chief's interview and will pick an individual according to how they placed (1-2-3) on the eligibility list.

I always gave a Chief's interview because I had other questions regarding the Department that the raters would not ask since they were from outside Agencies and not completely familiar with the Department's inner-workings. This interview also helped me to have a one-on-one conversation with the candidate and gain more insight into who exactly this person was.

If you meet the Chief, this will probably be the most stressful interview of your entire competition. You have been selected from all of the other candidates to discuss your career with the boss.

First of all, feel good about yourself. There are only a few candidates that make it to this step of the promotional process, so remain positive and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

You really looked good for your Oral Board or Assessment Center presentation; you want to look even better for the Chief's interview. Haircut, suit, skirt, shirts, blouses pressed and cleaned; nails trimmed and cleaned; shoes should be polished to a high gloss finish.

If you decide to wear your uniform for this interview, be sure it is in very good shape with no loose threads or buttons missing. Speaking of buttons, make sure they are buttoned. I always was very surprised when an Officer would enter my office and one of their shirt buttons would be unbuttoned. The uniform should be freshly dry cleaned and pressed. Make sure your badge is polished, more than normal, and all of your accessories or medals are properly attached. You should wear a Class A uniform without a hat, and your tie should be clean and fresh. I never did like a clip-on tie for these interviews because the metal clip was always exposed and it detracted from the uniform. If possible, have a matching pen and pencil set in your shirt pocket. Your leather gear should be clean and in good condition along with your duty weapon. As I mentioned before, polish your shoes to a high gloss, or wear uniform dress shoes if possible. If you wear uniform shoes that do not have the ability to shine, then make sure they have a fresh coat of polish or are very clean. Check yourself out in a mirror and add anything else you feel needs to be completed so that you will feel confident and make a strong statement when you enter the Chief's office.

Second, you are probably asking yourself, What is the Chief looking for? Good question! The Chief is looking for persons who will make the perfect match in the organization. He is looking for candidates who:

  • will have the ability to lead the organization into the future
  • who are developing and/or possessing many of the dimensions listed in the previous articles about Assessment Centers
  • who possess high integrity, loyalty, professionalism and are not afraid of hard work
  • who will talk with the administration if they are against a policy, but after they are heard and the decision still stands, will carry out that policy with no disrespect to the administration
  • who because of their abilities, will gain the respect of their subordinates and treat them in a fair manner and with respect (you don't have to be their friends but you are required to be there for them)
  • who will be a leader, mentor, cheerleader, confidant, disciplinarian, and can be counted on by peers, superiors, and subordinates
  • who has good interpersonal skills
  • who can make decisions on their own and is willing to take responsibility for their actions.

Most of all, the Chief is looking for someone who will represent he and the agency in the best manner possible when they interact with the public or the other officers.

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