Prison Officer ARC Interview Questions and Answers (Assessment Recruitment Centre)


If you want to become a prison officer, you will need to undertake an assessment centre that includes an interview.

During the prison officer interview, you will be asked questions that specifically assess your motivations for wanting to become a prison officer, the strengths you possess that will help you in the role, and also what you would do in specific situations.

Sample Prison Officer ARC Interview Questions

The following is a list of interview questions we recommend you prepare for, in preparation for the Assessment Recruitment centre (ARC). Whilst they will not all be asked during the prison service interview, they will help to build you confidence during the interview.

  1. Why do you want to become a Prison Officer?
  2. What do you expect to be doing on a daily basis as a prison officer?
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. Tell me a time when you had to make an effective decision under pressure?
  5. How would you deal with a prisoner who was demonstrating threatening behaviour?
  6. Tell me about a time when you adhered to rules and procedures?
  7. Tell me about a time when you showed resilience and courage in a challenging situation?
  8. When have you remained calm and in control whilst under pressure?
  9. Tell me a time when you challenged someone’s behavior that was either in discriminatory or inappropriate?
  10. Explain a specific situation when you undertook a challenging task whilst under pressure?
  11. When have you used the information that was available to make an objective decision?
  12. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated equality or fairness at work?
  13. Describe a time when you had to alter your style of communication to get your message across?
  14. Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team to achieve a task or project?
  15. Tell me about a situation when you treated someone fairly regardless of their situation or circumstances?
Prison officer interview questions and answers ARC

About the Prison Officer Selection Process

The prison officer selection process consists of the following elements:

Application stage: The initial application for becoming a UK prison officer takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. During this time, you will look for a prison officer vacancy that you are attracted to at a particular prison.

On the prison service jobs application website you will find a series of job vacancies from a variety of prisons. Some of the prisons where you can apply for jobs include:


  • HMYOI Aylesbury
  • HMP Grendon
  • HMP Bedford
  • HMP Bullingdon
  • HMP The Mount
  • HMP Erlestoke
  • HMP Moorland
  • HMP Lindholme
  • HMP Exeter
  • HMYOI Feltham
  • HMP Feltham
  • HMP Leyhill
  • HMP Huntercombe
  • HMP Swaleside
  • HMP Gartree
  • HMP Swinfen Hall
  • HMP Belmarsh
  • HMP Pentonville
  • HMP Isis
  • HMP Wandsworth
  • HMP Wormwood Scrubs
  • HMP Woodhill
  • HMP Highpoint
  • HMP Isle of Wight
  • HMP Channings Wood
  • HMP Norwich
  • HMP Stocken
  • HMP Portland
  • HMP Hewell
  • HMYOI Cookham Wood
  • HMP Onley
  • HMP Elmley
  • HMP Standford Hill
  • HMP Long Lartin
  • HMYOI Werrington
  • HMP High Down
  • HMP Downview
  • HMP Wayland
  • HMYOI Wetherby
  • HMP Coldingley
  • HMP Send
  • HMP Hollesley Bay
  • HMP Warren Hill
  • HMP Eastwood Park
  • HMP Dartmoor

Once you have chosen the prison you would like to apply to become a prison officer, you must read the job description including shifts and hours you will be required to work. This is very important, because you need to make sure you can meet the requirements of the prison officer role.

The role of a prison officer is highly challenging, and therefore, you will need to make sure you have the qualities, skills and experience in order to carry out the role effectively.

Once you are comfortable with your chosen role, and you have read the job description and prison officer salary on offer, click APPLY at the bottom of the page.

Prison officer interview questions and answers ARC


Download A Copy Of The Suggested Answers To All Of The Prison Officer Interview Questions on this page!


The Qualities of a Prison Officer Guard

Just some of the qualities needed to become a prison officer include:

  • Confidence;
  • Resilience;
  • Numerical ability;
  • Organisational skills;
  • Discipline;
  • Empathy and compassion;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills;
  • Communication skills;
  • Determination and enthusiasm;
  • Team working skills.
Being a female prison officer

What is the Salary of a Prison Officer?

The salary on offer ranges between different prisons. However, the typical salary on offer for prison officers in England dis between £22,000 and £28,000.

Next Stages of the Online Prison Officer Application Process

After you apply for the vacancy, you will need to go through a short pre-employment screen, where the prison service asks you specific questions relating to your eligibility to work as a prison officer in England. After you have registered, you will be invited to undertake an online prison officer selection test (POST). This test assesses your numerical ability, your behavioural capabilities, and also your accuracy levels. As a prison officer, it is vitally important you can follow rules and procedures.

The Online Prison Officer Tests

There are two stages to the prison officer tests, and these last for 25 minutes and also 30-50 minutes respectively. To find out more about the prison officer tests, and how you can practice, go to our prision officer tests page.

The Prison Officer Assessment Recruitment Centre (ARC)

During the prison officer assessment centre, you will be assessed against your behaviours, your strengths and also your fitness levels to become a prison officer.

We test to see if you have the abilities, behaviours, strengths and fitness to be a prison officer. The ARC last for half a day and you will need to undertake a prison officer interview, a series of role plays, a numerical test, a reading and writing assessment and also a health check and fitness (bleep) test.

Background Checks and Job Offer

Once you have successfully completed the prison officer assessment recruitment centre, and you have undergone a series of background checks, it will be time to commence you prison service training before being assigned to your choice of prison that was selected at the start of the application process!

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