What Are 'They' Looking For During an Oral Interview

Some of the key points that fire departments are looking for in an oral interview candidate.


Low maintenance. Talk to any supervisor or manager (company officer, chief officer, etc.) and I'll be they appreciate subordinates who are low maintenance, for obvious reasons. Nobody wants to have to supervise high maintenance individuals that require more than the average amount of time attending to.

Customer service. The term customer service has never been more critical for the fire service than today. Successful fire departments find ways to ensure their customers feel they cannot live without their services. Unfortunately some fire departments take their customers for granted and end up paying for it in the form of reduced public opinion.

Someone that is a good fit for their culture and department. Of all the above mentioned items, this is probably the most important of them all. You can have the best resume in the world (I know, there is no such thing as the best resume as that is a subjective term), but if the oral board does not determine that you will be a good fit for their culture and department, they're not going to take a chance on you. Fire departments do not hire resumes; they hire people that have positive, can-do attitudes that will make a good fit for their culture and their department.

  • See Steve Live at Firehouse World! Steve will be presenting "Getting Hired as a Firefighter in 2013: How to be the Best You Can Be" and "How to Master the Fire Service Testing Process" during the "Future Firefighter Experience.". He will also be presenting "Dear Chief, Nobody Was More Surprised Than I When…" during Firehouse World in San Diego, Feb. 17 - 21.

 STEVE PRZIBOROWSKI, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, has over 20 years of fire service experience, currently serving as a deputy chief for the Santa Clara County Fire Department in Los Gatos, CA. Steve is also an instructor for the Fire Technology Program at Chabot College in Hayward, CA. He was named the 2008 California Fire Instructor of the Year and is a former president of the Northern California Training Officers Association. He has earned a master's degree in Emergency Services Administration, a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and an associate's degree in Fire Technology, completed the Executive Fire Officer Program and has received Chief Fire Officer Designation through the Commission on Professional Credentialing. You can contact Steve through his websites: www.chabotfire.com and www.code3firetraining.com.