Are you getting ready for an important firefighter interview?
If you have made it to the interview stage, you have already beaten a large number of candidates. However, the way you perform in the interview is likely to determine whether or not you get the job.
It takes strength, commitment, and motivation to work as a firefighter. The interview is your chance to show that you have both the skills and character traits to do the job successfully.
So, let’s take a look at some key firefighter interview questions that are likely to come up and the best way to answer them.
Tips on Answering the Questions Well
It is important to demonstrate that you take the interview process seriously. Try to relax and make yourself comfortable, and answer the interview questions honestly and openly. Make sure that you remain focused throughout the interview and stay calm and composed.
Firefighter interviews are timed, and you may find that there is time remaining when you finish all the questions. This gives you the opportunity to revisit certain questions and provide extra information. You may want to provide examples from your personal or professional life that highlight your suitability for the job.
Answer each question completely and to the best of your ability. However, it is also important to be as concise and specific as possible. Also, make sure that you listen to the question carefully and answer it accurately. Feel free to ask for the question to be repeated if necessary. And make sure that your answers are clear so that the interview panel can record them.
Firefighter Interview Questions
Your interview will usually take place in front of a panel of firefighters. One person will usually lead the interview, while there may be additional questions from several other people. It is important to focus your attention on the person who is asking the question while also making eye contact with everyone.
What steps have you taken to prepare for a career in firefighting?
This is a typical opening question that is used to find out about your background while breaking the ice. You can use this question to steer the interview in a direction that you are comfortable with. The answer should highlight a combination of your strongest skills and abilities and how you have developed them.
What attribute do you think is the most important to a firefighter?
This is a fairly simple question and is designed to help ease you into the interview. Attributes to highlight include courage, integrity, honesty, and teamwork. Explain why these are important and how you demonstrate them in both your professional and personal life.
Can you explain the daily responsibilities of a firefighter?
This question allows the interview to gain an insight into your understanding of the firefighter role. If you have done your research well, this question should be easy to answer. Make sure that you tailor your answer to the advertised job description and resist the temptation to embellish.
Are you ready to adapt to the unusual schedule of this job?
Firefighters are often required to work for multiple days on duty, followed by multiple days off work. There are often very long shifts and unusual working hours. This can take a strain on both the firefighters and their families if they are not prepared for it.
It is important to demonstrate that you are familiar with these demands and are prepared for them. Explain the steps that you have taken to prepare yourself and those close to you for this challenge. This can include special hobbies that allow you to unwind when you are not working and support from a partner.
Do you believe that loyalty and pride are important to be a firefighter?
This general question is used to assess your general personality and how you work with other people. It is obvious that the answer to this question should be a resounding yes. You need to illustrate your answer with an example that clearly shows your loyalty and pride.
What developments do you predict in firefighting over the next few years?
This question is related to your training and the type of work you do to maintain your aptitude as a firefighter. Your work and training are sure to expose you to new developments in the field. You should highlight a deep-rooted interest in learning more about firefighting, including any future developments.
Describe a situation where you would feel justified disobeying a direct order from your captain
Firefighters are trained to follow direct orders without question, and disobeying a direct order is a cardinal sin. However, there may be times when disobeying a direct order is justified, especially if the order can cause harm. You need to be very careful when answering this question and highlight that there needs to be an exceptional reason for disobedience.
How can you help maintain good morale and positive relationships within your crew?
Firefighters spend a lot of time working very closely together, and it is essential to establish a strong bond. In tough circumstances, firefighters need to be able to trust each other with their lives. Therefore, it is essential to quickly establish good relationships and maintain them.
However, no training is provided for this, and it is not included in the job description. Therefore, firefighters need to have strong, soft skills such as communication and compassion. Try to give an example of how you have maintained morale and positivity with colleagues in the past.
What would be your reaction to an angry crowd at the scene of a fire?
Firefighting is one of the few professions where you constantly have an audience when working under tough conditions. It is important to remember that the world is watching and be able to keep a cool head at all times. Outline the steps that you would take to diffuse this type of situation and what the end result would be.
When looking back on your career, which accomplishments do you think you will be most satisfied with?
This question is designed to reveal whether you are focused on goals and accomplishments. While you need to be qualified for the job, employers also look for people who are interested in advancing their career. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about your career plans and the steps you will take to follow them.
What particular aspects of the job appeal to you the most/the least?
It is important to answer this question honestly and give examples to back up your statements. There are no right or wrong answers to this question; the key is answering with conviction. Trying to claim that every single thing about being a firefighter is wonderful will come across as insincere.
It is best to start with the things that appeal to you, backed up by a few examples. When talking about the least appealing things, be honest but choose examples that paint you in the best light. A good example could be seeing other people suffer, but thankfully you are being given the opportunity to minimize that suffering.
What would you do if you found drugs/alcohol in another firefighter’s locker?
Although thankful this situation is unlikely to come up; the question reveals your moral and ethical code. Firefighters work closely with each other and need to establish a strong bond. Naturally, the last thing you would want to do is get one of your colleagues in trouble.
However, there are clear rules that define what your behavior in this situation should be. Start by outlining the rules and your full understanding of them. Failing to report the incident to a superior officer could result in serious consequences to the rest of your crew.
Do you have any suggestions on improving the fire department’s public education programs?
Public education and fire prevention are significant responsibilities for any fire department. This question provides you with the opportunity to prove your familiarity with this role. The goal is to show that you are a thoughtful and well-educated candidate who will be an asset to the fire department.
Need More Great Interview Advice?
Then, check out my guide to Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, as well as the best way to answer questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here or even Why We Should Hire You?
Or, if you’re thinking of leaving your current job, you may need my advice on How to Write a Resignation Letter. And for a much-needed look at the brighter side of the process, I would recommend reading Work Sucks!: A Funny View of a Serious Problem, as well as Good Luck Finding Awesome Coworkers Like Us Again, or How to Quit Your Job Gracefully.
Working as a firefighter requires a lot of bravery, passion, and commitment. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you highlight these traits during the interview. The interviewer needs to be sure that working as a firefighter is your chosen vocation, and the passion will not dwindle.
In any interview, it is a good idea to try and establish a rapport with the interviewer as soon as possible. Doing a little background research into the interviewer to find things you have in common is a good way to do this. You also need to spend time practicing your interview technique, ideally in a role-play situation.
The very best of luck with your next interview.