Interview Guide - Probation & Youth Offending.


Ace your probation or youth offending interview

Whether you are applying for a role as a probation officer or a youth offending officer, you’ll likely face similar questions at interview. To help you prepare, we’ve drawn together a list of some frequent questions with some suggestions on how to answer them. We hope you find them useful.

What relevant experience do you have for the role a probation/youth offending officer?

Any probation or youth offending officer candidate must have a good working knowledge of the criminal justice system. If this is your first probation officer role, you’ll need to show you have enough knowledge and that you would be right for the role. You’ll want to demonstrate your:

  • Understanding of the criminal justice system and Probation’s role

  • Experience as a probation officer or related role

  • Ability to relate to specific real-life examples of supporting offenders

Can you explain your approach to reducing reoffending?

A strong aspect of your role is to reduce reoffending. Express what reoffending models you already adhere to and the successes you’ve had along the way. You’ll want to explain, in detail, how you help empower people to make positive changes in their lives. What guidance do you give them and what resources do you use? Here, you might also wish to highlight your knowledge of the local area. What diversionary activities would you recommend and how would you work with other criminal justice agencies and connected organisations? If you have any experience of restorative justice, here’s your chance to say so.

Probation officers must handle clients who find it difficult to control their behaviour. How do you cope?

Being a probation officer means dealing with a broad range of individuals, who may have difficultly expressing themselves or misplaced anger. At interview, you’ll need to be ready with an example of how you have diffused a situation and show:

  • Your ability to handle volatile behaviours

  • Your communication skills during tense situations

  • How you remain in control

As a probation or youth offending officer, you will have your own case load of clients you’ll need to keep track of. How will you do this?

As a probation officer, you’ll have lots of clients and case files to keep track of. You cannot simply state that you are organised. You need to demonstrate how you have adapted your organisational skills to work in criminal justice. You might even want to go also reference any training you’ve received. Also, explain which computer software programs you are familiar with.

You could also be asked several generic criminal justice interview questions, where you’ll need to tailor your response to your role. These could include:

  • What do you know about working for us?

  • Can you tell me about your journey into criminal justice?

  • What is happening in criminal justice policy that could affect your work?

  • Can you give an example of something you are proud of in your career?

  • How would you know that service users are getting a service that is effective and that they are satisfied?

Our interview guide will tell you everything else you need to know...