Podcast Episode 04 – 4 reasons why your police application might be rejected

Audio Version


In this episode of ‘Let’s talk police applications’ the main points of discussion are:

  1. Why your application might be rejected before you even get started
  2. The obvious reason your application would be rejected
  3. The reason that you likely had no idea about
  4. The heart breaking reason your application might be rejected


Hello, hello. Welcome back to the Let’s Talk Police Applications Podcast. Russell Kempster here from Prime Motion Training. Thanks for joining me for Episode Number Four, and in this episode I want to chat about something that’s maybe not particularly positive but I think important for police applicants to understand, and that is the reasons why a police application might be rejected. All right, so let’s have a chat about why a police application might be rejected. And there’s generally four different types or four different reasons as to why an application would be rejected. I guess, technically, it’s probably more like three and a half, but you’ll understand as we go through these four different reasons.

Now, the first one may simply be that you have applied, but you find out that you’re actually not eligible to apply. You don’t meet the eligibility requirements. So, for example, you may not be 18 years of age or older. You might not be a permanent resident of the country. Maybe there’s a character issue. You might have an extensive traffic history or some criminal offending that’s made you ineligible. Now, some of those things, traffic and criminal related reasons as to why you’re ineligible, often have a timeframe attached. So in other words, you may have to wait 12 months and not get any more speeding fines, for example, before you would be eligible to apply. If it’s something more serious, obviously, the ineligibility period would be longer.

It could be that you have a medical condition or a health issue that makes you ineligible to apply. You might have been bankrupt at some point. A lot of states and territories won’t accept applications from applicants who have been within a certain period of time. Beyond that timeframe, you may then be eligible. It could be that you’ve had a lack of employment history. Maybe you’ve just left school and you’ve had really no exposure to dealing with the public. So employment history could be a reason why you’re not eligible, and states and territories will often outline what their expectations are around employment history and work history. The other thing could be education level. It may be that you need to have a certain education level to be eligible to apply. And in that scenario in relation to education, it could be that, if you’ve been out in the workforce for a certain period of time, that may negate the need to have reached a certain education level.

So some of these things have exemptions attached, but there’s a few examples of why you might not be eligible to apply for the police organisation that you’re interested in. That would be reason number one why your application might be rejected, you’re simply not eligible to apply. Now, the next one is probably pretty obvious, and that’s where you’ve been unsuccessful. That might mean that you’ve failed to meet the minimum standard or the pass mark on any one of numerous assessments and tests that applicants need to go through to get into the police force. So if you fail an entrance exam or a fitness test, you might be unsuccessful, which would result in your application being cancelled or rejected. Now, the other one that’s probably less understood, and the third one, is that you’ve been deemed uncompetitive.

Now, that means that you may have actually passed certain assessments or tests along the way, and it’s possible that you’ve passed all of them and you’ve completed the application process, but the recruiting people can see that, although you’re passing everything and you’re meeting those minimum requirements, your scores are fairly low compared to other applicants who were going through the process at that time. Now, if those applicants have scored higher than you and the number of applications that are higher than yours in terms of the score and the number of positions available make it clear to the recruiting people that it’s unlikely you’re going to be offered a position because of all the other applicants with better scores, at that point, they may determine that you are an uncompetitive applicant and reject your application on that basis.

Now, that can be, I guess, pretty difficult to deal with, pretty hard to take, and quite upsetting, of course, for an applicant who has passed everything but is told that their application has been rejected. Now, that’s the third one. The fourth one, or really I guess the 3.5 one, is that you’re simply not selected. Now, what I mean by that is that you’ve passed all of the assessments, you’ve passed every test, your application has been accepted, and you’ve been placed onto the waiting list now just awaiting an offer to go into the police academy. Now, they often call that the order of merit or the pool rather, the pool of candidates or the candidate pool, and it’s where all the applicants who have passed everything get placed while they wait for a position or an offer at the police academy.

Now, of course, that will come down to how many positions are available in the next squad intake and, of course, how many applicants are waiting to get into that next squad intake. Now, if you’re on that waiting list and other applicants come along after you with a better score, they will jump the queue. It has nothing to do with how long you’ve been waiting. If they get a better score than you, they’ll jump the queue. And, obviously, the police organisation, like any other company, would want to select the best applicants for the positions. And so here we have what we often refer to as a yo-yo list. If you are waiting on that list and 20 to 25 applicants are removed from the list, then go off to the police academy, that’s great news for you. You get to move up the list towards the top. But in the meantime, if other applicants jump the queue, they could push you back down again, and that squad goes in and you go back up again and then other applicants come along and push you back down again. Hence, the terminology around this yo-yo list.

Now, the really tragic thing is, if you find yourself in that position for long enough where it then becomes obvious to the recruiting people that now they realise your score is not competitive compared to other applicants, it’s at that point, generally after 12 months, that they might decide to reject your application on the basis that they can see you’re not going to get in. Now, what can happen when your application is rejected is that the recruiting people will impose a minimum period where you’re ineligible to reapply. So, in other words, they reject your application, they say, “You’re welcome to reapply, but you have to wait 12 months before you can reapply.” Now, in that scenario, you’ve spent potentially 12 months getting through all the assessments, up to 12 months sitting on the waiting list, and now you’ve got to wait another 12 months before you’re eligible to apply.

Now, of course, I have to throw in here that each of the states and territories can be slightly different in terms of their timeframes and sometimes they create exemptions. But generally that scenario of 12 months, 12 months, and another 12 months could happen and I’ve seen it plenty of times over the years where applicants have found themselves in that situation. And it’s a terrible scenario where an applicant who was unsuccessful at an assessment or a test maybe three or four months into the application journey has their application rejected after that three month period, then has to wait 12 months before they can reapply, and they’re back into the swing of it again with a new application after three months and one year. Whereas the poor applicant who’s passed everything, that took a year, they’ve waited on the list for a year, now they’ve got to wait another year before they can reapply.

It doesn’t seem fair, but unfortunately the system does work that way. And, look, I guess, ultimately, like I always bang on about, as a police applicant, it’s not about passing everything so that you get in, because that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get in. What gives you a better chance of getting a guarantee, of course, is getting the best possible score you can at every single stage. Now, obviously, some applicants will be strong academically, maybe not so great in interviews, or they might be Robo Cop in terms of their fitness, but academically they really struggle to get past the exam. We’ve all got strengths and weaknesses and you just need to try to maximise every single test. But it’s not only the assessments and the tests.

Think about every single aspect of your application, from your character to background checks, to your social media activity, your communication skills in interviews, even your communication with the recruiting people backwards and forwards as you’re responding to their requests for information, et cetera. Everything, everything you do in your application will form part of the assessment that they make about your suitability.

Sign Off

All right, guys. Well, we probably should wrap it up there. Sorry if that was a bit miserable, but I wanted to just cover those three and a half or four potential reasons why an applicant may find their application is rejected. So a really quick summary. You’re not eligible, you’re unsuccessful, you’re uncompetitive, or you simply didn’t get selected and your application’s rejected on that basis. All right, guys. Well, as always, any questions, [inaudible 00:09:14]. Otherwise, thanks very much for spending some time with me. I look forward to catching up again in Episode Number Five. Until then, of course, keep your foot on the gas.


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