Thread: First Interview
01-13-2014, 09:23 PM #1
- Join Date
- May 2013
Hi everyone, on the 18th I am going to be having my first firefighter oral interview. I am very excited, but this will only be my 3rd job interview ever. Does anyone have any advice on questions they might ask, or just advice in general? Anything at all would be really helpful. Thank you!
01-13-2014, 09:49 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
practice with someone
record yourself to hear what your answers sound like
use any life experiences that you have done, school, church, volunteer work, whatever
01-14-2014, 05:18 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
- Henrico, VA
Research the department you are interviewing with.
01-21-2014, 06:15 PM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
The fire department interview is one component of the hiring process. It is usually weighted more than any other part. Often the other phases of the hiring process are pass/fail, and the interview is 100% of your overall score. It is therefore often the most important phase of the exam process.
- Many interview questions have no clear-cut right answers, but do have definite wrong answers often will result in automatic failure.
- The best way to do well is to learn about the types of questions that are commonly asked, and prepare well thought out responses.
- Competition is fierce. Frequently there are 100 applicants per job opening. One wrong answer will often eliminate you.
Many fire departments only require that a candidate be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Theoretically, a candidate could get hired on that alone. However, with the competition so fierce, completing EMT training, taking fire science courses, and graduating from a basic fire academy will greatly improve your chances of getting hired.
*The most important key to success on the interview is for you to present yourself as a person that the firefighters would want to have on their crew. Having a good resume is important, but not as important as being the person the firefighters want to spend a 24 hour shift with (and the next 30 years of your career). The crew is like a family, and you need to fit in and be liked.
To improve your interview scores:
- Practice doing mock interviews.
- Enlist the help of firefighters, as they had to go through this process and will have useful tips.
- Hire a private interview coach.
The following are excerpts from Smoke Your Firefighter Interview to highlight the thought process behind two common interview questions.
Tell us about yourself
The purpose of this question is for you to discuss your personal life.
- Do not talk about your qualifications – that is already on your resume.
- Do discuss your life experiences and personal interests and hobbies.
- Share information that tells the rater what kind of person you are.
a. share where you are from
b. what you do for fun
c. accomplishments that you are proud of
Hopefully they will learn something about you that they can relate to, which can result in a higher score.
Why do you want to be a firefighter?
The purpose of this question is to learn your motivation behind wanting to become a firefighter.
- Put a lot of thought into this question beforehand, and prepare yourself with several reasons that you can easily deliver to the panel.
Your top reasons should be things like:
a. You enjoy helping people
b. You are a team player who likes to solve problems in the community
c. You would like to be a community role model
d. You like challenges and problem-solving
e. You enjoy learning and look forward to mastering the different levels in the fire service
f. You like to work with your hands as well as your brain
g. You are interested in medical calls and would enjoy being an EMT
- Way down the list should be the salaries, benefits, and free-time. It will not look good if those are your primary reasons for wanting to be a firefighter. If they are, you should probably consider another profession.
- Do not “recite” your answers. You need to sound natural. This comes from having spent plenty of time going over your questions and answers.
- Do not used “canned” answers that simply repeat what someone has told you to say. It is critical for you to speak from your heart!
- Demonstrate enthusiasm for the fire service. This will strike a chord with the raters, who are usually also firefighters. Let them know you will really appreciate and respect this career.Paul Lepore
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