Here is a little role-play test to examine your understanding of the role-plays (interactive exercises) and the appropriate course of action you should take:
a) You are a newly appointed Customer Service Officer. You walk into the role play room, as you enter you are greeted by the role actor walking towards you, pointing and saying “Hello, my name is James Bacon, I hope you are going to do something about the security guard.”
- Interrupt them so you can firstly introduce yourself?
- Politely ask them not to point?
- Politely request that they take a seat and then ask them what the problem is?
- Ask the role actor politely to be seated and then introduce yourself?
- Politely introduce yourself as James Bacon and ask what the problem is?
The correct answer is number 4.
You must always be polite and at this time it would be timely to ask them to be seated, then introduce yourself. You are a newly appointed Customer Service Officer, and the reality is you have never met any of characters played by the role actors so an introduction is necessary.
An introduction would be your full name, your position (Customer Service Officer) and confirmation that you work at the Centre.
You must never interrupt a role actor as this is deemed provoking and demonstrates little respect for the role actor (not good!). Although you could ask them politely not to point, it would not be the most appropriate action to take at this time. It doesn’t score you any marks!
A broad question, e.g. ‘what is the problem?’ is not advisable as the role actors opening statement provide the opportunity to ask a more precise question. A precise question would be to ask ‘what would you like done or to happen to the security guard?’ More precise and decisive questions score higher on the scalar than brood and vague questions.
You play yourself during the role-pay exercises so you should give your own full name. The person you are meeting is call James Bacon. You would be surprised how many candidates misunderstand this!
b) You read in the brief that your manager has asked you to meet with James Bacon, customer, whom is unhappy with T. Jones, a security guard. Your manager is unable to attend and they want you to deal with the issues raised:
- Explain that your manager is unfortunately attending another meeting?
- Apologise and explain that your manager has a prior appointment?
- Apologise and introduce yourself?
- Just introduce yourself, there is no need to give a reason for your manager being absent
- Apologise and explain that your manager is unable to attend?
The correct answer is number 5.
If the brief indicates that your manager was due to meet the role actor personally an apology is required. You just need to relay the reason for their absence (unable to attend) rather than make a reason up.
The brief did not indicate they were attending another meeting or they had a prior appointment, thus these are not correct.
c) James Bacon, customer, informs you that they are not happy with the way the security guard is behaving:
- Ask the role actor what has happened?
- Request that they explain how the security guard behaved?
- Defend the actions of the security guard, as they have done nothing wrong?
- Ask the role actor what the problem is?
- Ask the role actor to explain which member of the security team is the problem?
The correct answer is number 2. The appropriate clarifying questions is to ask how the security guard is behaving and why are they unhappy?
Again, a specific clarifying question can be asked based on the information given. Broad questions such as what has happened, or what the problem is should only be asked if the role actor actually mentions the words problem or happened. Examples of this are:
“I just want to tell someone what the problem is, or I just want to let someone working at the centre know what happened.
At this stage you are not aware of what actions the guard has taken so defending them would be biased.
Clarification of which guard was involved is not required, as you have been specifically told T. Jones is the name of the guard. Seeking clarification where it is not required will result in the role actor being silent and they will bow their heads to avoid eye contact.
d) James Bacon, customer, then explains that he was in the centre last Tuesday, while present he was spoken to by T. Jones a Security Guard. He is not happy about the guards’ behaviour:
- Ask the role actor to confirm that it was last Tuesday?
- Ask the role actor to explain what happened?
- Ask the role actor why they are unhappy?
- Ask the role actor to explain why they are unhappy and how the guard behaved?
- Ask the role actor where the incident took place?
The correct answer is number 4.
Again, a specific clarifying question can be asked based on the information given.
Once again, you have been informed that the incident happened last Tuesday, so this does not need clarifying.
The role actor did not use the word ‘happened’ so to ask what happened is not an appropriate clarifying question.
You do need to ask them why they are unhappy, but a more precise question would be to also mention the guard behaviour. i.e. why are you not happy with the guards’ behaviour?
It does not matter in this instance where the incident occurred.
So how did you do? Feel free to comment…
This is just a sample of our police A – Z role play training tool – it can be purchased for just £15
This article has been written by former police recruitment manager David Vidgen.