This is the most important factor in conducting a successful probation interview. You must express an appropriate level of remorse. Don't be phony. Your remorse must be genuine. If you try to minimize the effects of your crimes on the victims or you are not sorry for what you did, you will be penalized.
You must accept responsibility for your actions and their consequences. Do not try to shift the blame to others, especially the victim. If you are willing to accept that you are the reason you are in this situation, you will be judged a suitable candidate for probation. If you do not accept responsibility, you will be penalized. This is often the hardest part for many defendants. Some defendants may be reluctant to accept responsibility. No one wants to accept that they have may done some very bad things, but it is of the utmost importance in the context of the probation interview that you fully accept responsibility if you want to maximize your chances of getting probation.
In many ways, recognition of the fact that what you have been convicted of doing is unacceptable is necessary for the successful implementation of steps 1 and 2. If you can recognize that criminal behavior is antithetical to a peaceful society, then your probation officer will be more likey to give you a break. If you cannot recognize that your conduct with be the cause of more suffering to yourself and others, you will not fare well on probation.
The probation officer will want to know what steps you will take to prevent this behavior in the future. For instance, if you have been convicted of a DUI or drug offense, it is likely that the probation officer will want to know that you have voluntarily started attending AA or NA meetings, even if the court has not yet ordered you to do so. Or maybe you need to check into residential or outpatient rehab. Whatever your particular situation is, you need to start thinking about how you will modify your behavior. The probation officer will not be pleased if you re-offend, not to speak of the court.