How to Make Your Next Correctional Officer Hire

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Last updated at 09-17-2020 9:40:36



More than 1,599 companies advertise 16,002 Correctional Officer jobs on SimplyHired and its partner sites each year. After analyzing job postings and salary information from these companies, as well as direct job seeker feedback, we’ve compiled a list of insights to show you how to attract and hire your next Correctional Officer most efficiently.

Hiring Process

In the past quarter, we’ve seen 5,684 job posts from 1,003 employers in the United States. This is a increase of 23.3% compared to the previous quarter. On average, there are 165 Correctional Officer job seekers for every active Correctional Officer job, which shows that it is an employer's market.

Writing a Job Description

In the past quarter, Security Officer, Customer Service Representative, Delivery Driver, Correctional Officer, Warehouse Worker, Police Officer, Armed Security Officer, Truck Driver, Call Center Representative, and Security Guard seem to be the most sought after jobs amongst the Correctional Officer candidates in the United States. This differs from the last six quarters, where the most popular titles were: Security Officer, Customer Service Representative, Delivery Driver, Correctional Officer, Warehouse Worker, Police Officer, Armed Security Officer, Administrative Assistant, Receptionist, and Retail Sales Associate. If you use one of these currently popular titles in the job description, you'll likely be able to attract a lot more candidates to apply.

For the Correctional Officer candidates who are actively applying to jobs in this same period, we see that 10.6% of the active Correctional Officer candidates have less than 3 years of experience, 16.1% have between 3-5 years of experience, 29.0% have 6-10 years of experience, and 44.3% have over 10 years of experience. The average years of experience has shifted from an estimated 8.1 years to 7.8 years. If you're posting a job in today's market, expect candidates with about the same experience level to apply to your job compared to the last 2 quarters.

In the previous quarter, the most popular skills that employers are looking for include military, leadership, writing skills, communication skills, English, computer skills, bilingualism, law enforcement, supervising experience, and Spanish. Demand for writing skills, Spanish, English, supervising experience, intake, bilingualism, commercial driving, communication skills, military, and law enforcement has significantly increased. If you are looking for a Correctional Officer with a similar skill set, be sure to follow industry best practices in skill requirements.

Job posts with salary information received about 1.7 as many applies as those without it. In the past quarter, less than 63.8% of the job posts displayed salary information. By adding salary information to your job posting, you could potentially increase the number of applicants by approximately 70.0%.

Example Correctional Officer responsibilities

  • Monitoring a facility and its inmates 24 hours a day
  • Assigning specific tasks to individual inmates, establishing daily schedules
  • Contributing information and conclusions to reports and records
  • Enforcing rules and regulations
  • Controlling physical access to certain locations or items


Active Recruiting

When reaching out to candidates, it’s best to understand where to look. We’ve identified hiring trends in states as well as companies regularly hiring for Correctional Officer positions. This should provide a good place to start looking for qualified candidates. According to our data in the last quarter: Georgia, Florida, Texas, California, and Pennsylvania are the states that have the highest demand for Correctional Officers. Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania are where most job seekers are searching for Correctional Officer jobs. If we look at the Correctional Officer to job ratio, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington, Utah, and Alaska have the lowest number of Correctional Officer applicants per job. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, and Iowa have the most active Correctional Officer job seekers per job.

Passive Recruiting

While actively recruiting candidates for your role, you should also post your job to SimplyHired. By posting for free and paying only for the qualified applicants you want, your post will automatically go to a network of job boards to reach millions of qualified candidates. With SimplyHired, it doesn’t end with the post. You can track your applicants throughout the hiring process with our simple and easy to use Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Review Candidates

In the last quarter, we estimate there are 927,347 job seekers interested in Correctional Officer opportunities in the United States. That’s a 7.0% increase compared to the previous quarter with 877,998 active job seekers. Around 10.6% of the active Correctional Officer candidates have less than 3 years of experience, over 16.1% have between 3-5 years of experience, 29.0% have 6-10 years of experience, and 44.3% have over 10 years of experience. The average experience level of the available Correctional Officer candidates is 7.8 years. Active candidates in the Correctional Officer profession most commonly have high school diplomas, followed by associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees. When setting education requirements for your position, aligning with the industry standard makes it easier to find potential candidates. Application rates indicate that Correctional Officer candidates are likely experiencing a market in which applicants have less negotiating power. From an employer perspective, you'll have a greater selection of candidates to choose from and may want to invest in automated screening tools.

Interviewing Candidates

Interview Process

*Self-reported data collected from 15,243 Correctional Officers from 1/1/2020 to 6/30/2020, via online employer reviews for companies including Texas Department of Criminal Justice, CoreCivic, Florida Department of Corrections, The GEO Group, Inc., Department of Corrections, New York City Department of Correction, Missouri Department of Corrections, LaSalle Corrections, Indiana Department of Correction, and Arkansas Department of Correction.

After analyzing post-interview data from Correctional Officer candidates in the last 6 months, we see more than 19.5% of the candidates self-reported being hired within 1 to 2 days. Around 50.4% of the candidates for this job reported being hired within 2 weeks. If your process takes longer than 2 weeks in the recent market, you'll likely lose these candidates to other employers. Most of the Correctional Officer candidates are expecting a background check, on-site interview, drug test, and written test. Most employers do not require a phone call/screening or group interview. If you are trying to hire your next Correctional Officer quickly, consider simplifying and streamlining the hiring process. As for the interview experience, more than 57.6% of the candidates had a good or great interview experience, and more than 40% of the candidates thought that the interview leaned more towards easy.

Example Interview Questions

  • Tell me about a time when you worked with a difficult inmate.
  • How do you handle dangerous inmates?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
  • How have your greatest professional qualities helped you succeed in this job?
  • What do you like most about this career field?

Final Review and Offer

Reference Check

Checking references is a quick and easy way to check for any red flags that didn’t arise to this point in the hiring process. Great insights can be provided by former colleagues and employers.

Crafting an Offer: Salary and Benefits

The average Correctional Officer salary offered by employers increased for 1 out of 6 consecutive quarters in the United States. In the last quarter, we see a decrease of 3% from $41,881.77 to $40,607.55 compared to the quarter before, which is the biggest decrease in the past 6 quarters. For Correctional Officer positions, the most common benefits job seekers reported being offered by employers include: healthcare insurance by 93.7%, dental insurance by 88.6%, vision insurance by 83.3%, paid time off by 82.6%, a 401k plan by 68.0%, discounts by 28.8%, and stock options/grants by 11.2%. While still relatively rare, more and more employers now offer flexibility benefits, including mostly remote, sabbaticals, flexible working hours, somewhat remote, paternity leave, maternity leave, fully remote, and location variety, to attract and retain Correctional Officer candidates to their organization.

Background Check and Drug Test

According to self-reported job seeker feedback, 79.8% of the employers conducted a background check, and 65.0% of the employers conducted a drug test prior to the hiring of their Correctional Officer candidates.


When you’re ready to hire a Correctional Officer, SimplyHired is here to help with your next steps. Our Human Resources Information System (HRIS) provides onboarding tools and other essential HR tools. From document signing to time off tracking, our HRIS will help you seamlessly move a Correctional Officer candidate through the hiring and onboarding process.

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