1. #1
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    Jan 2006

    Default Oral Interview Questions

    I am currently in the hiring process for a local department in my area, and I have made it to the oral interview. I was wondering if there is a list of common questions that are asked that I can prepare for, if so what are these questions.
    I am from Wisconsin and I am finishing up my Associate Degree in Fire Science this month. I have FF I, and II, EMT-Basic, and some other smaller certifications. I am Currently on a volunteer department and work a full time job as a heavy duty tow truck operator. I have one underage drinking ticket and an obstructing ticket for provideing a false DOB, both are directly related. I am taking a couse to make the underage drinking ticket go away and the obstructing ticket is under a deffered prosecution, which means as long as I dont get in any trouble within the date of agreement (December 06) it will be dropped from my record. What are my chances of receiveing this job?

    I am preacticing for the interview to do my best. Other than those two offenses my record is clean. Those were two stupid things that I did that I learned a big lesson from.

    Anay other suggestions that will help my pursue the carrer of a lifetime would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    JayDudley's Avatar
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    Jan 2006

    Default Questions??

    Adam...go to www.aspiringfirefighters.com and follow the prompts.
    Good luck!!
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  3. #3
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    Oct 2002
    New Jersey


    Here are a few:

    1.Tell us about yourself.
    2. Why do you want to be a firefighter? When did you decide on this career?
    3. What is the job of a firefighter? Are you qualified?
    4. What have you done to prepare for this position?
    5. What are you bringing to the job?
    6. Why do you want to work for this city or agency?
    7. What do you know about this city or agency?
    8. What do you like to do? What are your hobbies?
    9. What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
    10. What would your employer say about you?
    11. What are the attributes of a firefighter? What is the most important one to you?

    How Would You Handle the Following Scenarios?
    Drinking or drugs on the job?

    13. Stealing on the job?
    14. Conflict with another employee?
    16. An employee crisis at an emergency?
    17. Sexual harassment?
    18. Racial situation?
    19. Conflicting orders at an emergency?
    20. An order that could place you in great danger or be morally wrong?

    21. What do you say when you don't know an answer to a question?
    22. Are you on any other hiring lists? What would you do if another city called you?
    23. When can you start if we offered you the job?
    24. How far do you want to go in the fire service? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    25. What are the quality traits of a firefighter? Which one is the most important to you?
    26. Have you ever been in an emergency situation? Tell us what you did?
    27. What word best describes you in a positive way? A negative way?
    28. How do you handle conflict?
    29. Why would we select you over the other candidates?
    30. Do you have anything to add?


  4. #4
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    Dec 2002


    Go to the testing tips pages at www.firerecruit.com. They have a long list of questions. Some a little outdated and redundant, but very thorough. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area



    NVetro has graciously posted the 30 sample oral board questions from our web site. Now here's how to put them into use.

    What tools can you use to practice and rehearse your oral board answers? Right, a video camera. You need to see how you look in action. But you are trapped with a video camera. Mirror? Sure standing in front of a mirror is good. But you are missing the most valuable tool of all. A hand-held tape recorder.

    I received a call from one of our candidates. He has made it to a few oral boards and one Chief’s Oral without success. He has been invited to the San Diego oral board and wanted to set up a private coaching session. In just a few moments I was aware of something critical. Then I asked him if he was using a tape recorder to practice? Like most people (99.7%), he hemmed and hawed and finally said, “Well, no. But, I’m thinking about it.”

    Even though he had our Entry Level program that hammers and hammers the point home that you have to use a tape recorder and hear how you sound, he still didn’t get the message. His answers were garbage. Many applicants want this job so bad they will do almost anything ethically and morally to get it. I guess that doesn’t include using a tape recorder to get your timing, inflection, volume, where to cut out material, get rid of the uh’s and other pause fillers, or to find out if you really sound like Donald Duck. You need to get married to your hand-held tape recorder. You need to hear what the oral board is going to hear out of your mouth. It’s narrows the distance between you and the badge you’re looking for!

    What is the first thing a candidate says when he hears his voice on a tape recorder? Yep. That’s not me. Yes, it is McFly. You need to get married to a hand held tape recorder and practice everywhere you go.

    This is usually a guy thing. Guys think about their answers in their head and write them down. Then they think their answers are going to come out of their mouths like magic in the oral. Trust me, they don’t! The brain and mouth don’t work that way.

    Try this. Take 3X5 cards and write down your oral board questions. Practice your answers with the tape recorder. If you hear something you do not like when you play it back, turn over the 3X5 card and write it down. The next time you go after that question, turn over the card first and see what you don’t want to say.

    Let me tell you how critical this really is. If you’re not using a tape recorder to practice, practice, practice, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and over learn your material until it becomes second nature to you, you might as well not show up for the interview. You are wasting the oral boards time and your time! Seek out another career. Understand you still have to interview there too. The above candidate has already lost some great opportunities. Had he been faithfully using a tape recorder to prepare for his oral boards, he probably could have had a badge already.

    Some will say, “Well, if I practice it too much it will sound canned.” NO it won’t! It sure will be planned though. Practice makes permanent. “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” One practice session with a tape recorder is worth 10 speaking out louds. After practicing, you will get to a point where your answers will get into your subconscious. That’s where the magic begins. You can’t be fooled.

    Be advised that your competition knows the value of using a tape recorder. They are catapulting past you if you’re not using one too.

    Instead of posting messages on bulletin boards asking others where they’re at in the testing process for this city and I’m in the top 40 on this list or whatever, start asking your self this question: What am I doing that can best prepare me for the most important part of the hiring process? . . . The oral board. Because if you can’t pass the oral board, or score high enough on the list, you don’t get the job. Never! Ever! Ever! Now, where’s your tape recorder?"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


  6. #6
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    Oct 2002
    New Jersey


    CaptBob: I appologize, I did not know they were from your website. I was given them by a friend in a word doc.

    They are really good questions, use them

  7. #7
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    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area


    Quote Originally Posted by NVetro View Post
    CaptBob: I appologize, I did not know they were from your website. I was given them by a friend in a word doc.

    They are really good questions, use them
    No worries. I know cities who use our same copyrighted list for their oral board questions, word for word.

    There is more that goes along with the 30 sample oral board questions here: http://www.eatstress.com/thirty.htm

    Captain Bob
    Last edited by CaptBob; 05-04-2007 at 10:42 AM.

  8. #8
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    CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    For what its worth. My experience is that you cant really prep. for most questions because they are constantly changing to keep original.

    There are a few of them you can get ready for- Tell us about yourself, strengths/weakness, thief, stealing, tardiness, etc.

    For me, when someone ask me a situational question, I take the recommended 2-3 seconds to think and fall back on a real life experience.

    Example- Descible a conflict between you and anohter person. In my mind, I bring up the location, players and outcome in my head. Then all of us walk through the story and outcome.

    I dont know if I helped you here or not, but it just works for me. PM if you have any qiestions.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 05-04-2007 at 10:42 PM.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2005


    Yes, you absolutely CAN and should prepare for situational questions. If you are asked a question that you have never heard on an interview then you didn't do your research.

    Situational Questions
    Situational questions are designed to see how a candidate will respond if
    faced with adversity. The following are common areas of potential conflict:
    1. Moral issues
    2. Ethical dilemmas
    3. Legal issues
    4. Societal obligations
    5. Violations of established policies and procedures
    6. Interpersonal conflicts

    Most candidates focus too hard on what they think the board wants to hear
    rather than saying what’s really on their mind. Here is a typical example:
    Moral issue: As you watch the engineer back up the rig, you see him
    accidentally strike a car. As you approach, you observe him trying to rub out a
    deep scratch on the vehicle that he hit. When he notices you watching, he tries
    to make light of it, and tells you not to worry. You tell him that you feel it’s
    important that he bring it to the captain’s attention. He explains that it’s an “old,
    junky” car. He adds that in the fire service, everyone sticks together, and asks
    you to “cover” his back on this one.

    Most candidates misinterpret the point of this question. They are confused
    by the “brotherhood” of the fire service, and believe that firefighters are willing
    to lie for the good of a co-worker. Nothing can be further from the truth, since
    a true firefighter doesn’t lie, and will refuse to cover anything up.
    The best way to answer a situational question like this is to determine how
    you would handle it in your everyday life. Let’s say you and a friend are leaving
    the parking lot of a restaurant, when he accidentally backs into another car.
    He leaves a dent, but tells you he doesn’t plan on doing anything about it.
    What would you do and why?

    No matter how loyal a friend you are, I don’t believe you’d be willing to turn
    your back on the fact that he just damaged someone’s vehicle. You will most
    likely persuade him to try to locate the owner of the vehicle or call the police. If
    he refuses to do either of these things, you will probably encourage him to at
    least leave a note for the owner of the vehicle. You might remind your friend
    that leaving the scene of an accident, no matter how minor, is illegal and
    would be considered a hit and run.

    For some reason, many candidates believe that firefighters can get away
    with doing something immoral, unethical and/or illegal.

    There are some common rules of thumb when dealing with moral issues.
    In every situation, it’s imperative to do the right thing. In this situation, the right
    thing would be to step up and take a stand against the action. Remember,
    even though an action may be legal, it can still be immoral. It’s a firefighter’s
    duty to make a moral decision whether it is for himself or a co-worker. A
    candidate would be expected to know this and respond accordingly.

    Firefighters do not operate in “gray” areas. If something is wrong, it is wrong.
    Even if there’s only a perception that it may be wrong, it is usually wrong.
    Perception often ends up being reality. It is important to maintain the dignity of
    the fire service. Firefighters are a rare minority of people whom the public
    allows into their homes without a second thought. It is incumbent on all
    firefighters to protect and honor this privilege.

    Ethical questions deal with something that may not be illegal, but either go
    against society’s rules or the cultural rules of the fire department. Ethical
    dilemmas are often related to violations of departmental policies and
    procedures. Policies and procedures are often written as a result of either
    personal injury to a firefighter or civilian or damage to equipment. In almost all
    cases, they stem from a monetary loss that the fire agency has suffered in the

    An astute rater will ask a candidate if organizational policies are important.
    A savvy candidate will undoubtedly nod his or her head yes, and assure him
    that a firefighter should not, under any circumstances, violate the rules.
    If, on the other hand, a candidate believes it’s acceptable for a firefighter to
    violate a policy because it seemed insignificant, it stands to reason that he will
    violate similar policies once he or she becomes a firefighter.

    Departmental policies and procedures are meant to be followed. Let’s say
    a rookie firefighter decides that a policy is insignificant and elects to ignore it.
    Now let’s say an injury or accident occurs as a result of the broken policy. The
    probationary firefighter will be expected to outline a memo to the chief about
    the circumstances surrounding the incident. Predictably, the fire chief will want
    to know why a departmental policy was violated. He will be expected to provide
    the city manager or board of fire commissioners with an explanation.

    Imagine the frustration of the fire chief having to explain why a new firefighter violated a policy, and what the consequence of his action will be. Since a probationary employee has no civil service protection and no union representation, a serious infraction could result in his termination.

    From an organizational standpoint, you cannot have members follow only
    the policies and procedures that they feel are important. This would result in
    an organization that lacks discipline and would eventually collapse. The fire
    service has adopted many of the military’s policies and procedures. This is
    why the fire department is considered a paramilitary organization. If it’s assumed
    that a soldier would never violate a policy or procedure, why not assume the
    same with a firefighter?

    In most situations, the moral or ethical dilemma wouldn’t personally involve
    you. The dilemma would be for the firefighter who is either asking or implying
    that you should look the other way. You know what you would do if you were in
    your fellow firefighter’s shoes. You would take the high road and do the right
    thing. Your challenge will be to convince your comrade to do the right thing.
    Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s the only way to go.

    Legal issues are usually pretty clear-cut. Most candidates understand the
    importance of taking action when a situation is illegal. Candidates who don’t
    understand this will not usually fare well during the interview.

    Societal obligations, however, are usually in the “gray area.” It can be much
    more difficult to decide between right and wrong when it involves an action
    that comes close to crossing the line of good judgment.

    In this situation it’s important to investigate and gather the facts. If it appears
    that there has been some type of wrongdoing, you need to make it clear that
    you would step in and address the situation. The panel does not expect you to
    suggest there be an in-depth investigation. Your response could simply be that
    you would address the fact that something was wrong, and would refer the
    situation to your captain.

    Interpersonal conflicts not only create an uncomfortable working
    environment, but erode crew unity. There are numerous situational questions
    that are designed to determine how a candidate deals with these conflicts.
    While people deal with interpersonal conflicts every day, conflicts in a fire
    station can be magnified because firefighters live, eat and sleep in close
    quarters for extended periods of time.

    The purpose of these questions is to determine which candidates will get
    along with others. Candidates who grew up in large families and those who
    played team sports have an advantage in this area since they are used to
    dealing with many types of personalities.

    When confronted with an interpersonal conflict, it is important to approach
    the individual and attempt to clear the air. A savvy candidate will suggest
    asking the other firefighter if he or she is doing something that needs to be
    changed. Instead of assuming that the other firefighter is off base, it is important
    to ask (and listen) and then do what you can to improve the situation.
    Whatever the cause of the irritation, it is important for the candidate to be
    humble. As you root your way down to the source of the conflict, it may be that
    you are not meeting the standard. It may also be that you are not perceived as
    being a team player...

    If you are interested in downloading 85 of the most commonly asked fire department interview questions check out the link below

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief

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