3 Tips for Firefighter Interview Preparation
Here at Firefighter Interview Prep, we are all about the preparation. While our model of “Research, Preparation, Execution” highlights three aspects of the interview process, we have realized, through trial and error, that proper preparation has the highest correlation to interview success. Follow these three tips while preparing for your next interview.
Remember Your “Why”
Everyone has a different reason why they want to become a firefighter. Remember your “Why”. What motivates you to wake up everyday and grind towards your goals. Is it your family? Your friends? Your pet? Maybe it’s just a personal goal. Whatever or whoever it is, keep that in mind while you are preparing for your interview. Doing so will help you stay focused on the big picture; overall happiness. Getting your firefighter job is an important piece of that puzzle, but so are all of the people and experiences that got you to this point. Getting tunnel vision on “the job” can put so much emphasis on it that you end up psyching yourself out. Remember your “why” so that you can remain calm and confident while you sit in the hot seat.
Remind Yourself of Your Achievements
We all have achievements, but sometimes we just aren’t sure how to frame them to be relevant in the firefighter interview. I distinctly remember going into my first few firefighter interviews and feeling like I didn’t have enough experience yet. However, in hindsight, I actually had quite a bit of experience. I just wasn’t framing it right. When preparing for your interview, brainstorm through all of your past experiences (not just the ones from previous fire jobs). Think of traveling, sports, family, interesting accolades, and odd jobs that you may have had. Then relate them to some aspect of being a firefighter. For example, while talking about a trip you took to Disneyland when you were six might seem like a ridiculous thing to bring up in an interview, think about any trips you have taken alone, or perhaps internationally. Most travel requires: research, planning, time management, situational awareness, and communication. Tie in those traits to a story you have from traveling during your next interview and watch the panel show you genuine interest as they listen to your response. Telling stories is a great way to help you stand out from the rest of the candidates.
You’re Better Off Without ‘Em
This one might sound a little cheesy, but keep in mind that even if you aren’t offered the position after your next interview, it’s not the end of the world. In all actuality, you’re probably better off without ‘em. There are a lot of fire departments out there, and they all differ slightly from one another. If you don’t get the job at your next interview, it might be because you are a better fit for another department. Part of the panel’s job during the interview is to figure out if you are a good fit for that departments’ culture. You might have great experience and a laundry list of certifications, but if your personality doesn’t match that of the department you’re interviewing with, you still might not get the job. If that’s the case, consider that department to have just done you a huge favor. While getting your job as a firefighter is extremely important, your ultimate goal is to be happy. In order to do that, you need to get hired with a department that shares your values and personality. So if they don’t offer you the job, don’t sweat it. Chalk that interview up to practice and move on.
These three tips are aimed at helping you prepare for your next interview by helping you develop the confidence you need to be successful. Having confidence during the interview will allow you to relax enough to be yourself and tell meaningful stories about your past to the interview panel. If you can do that, you will get the job. The best way to get relaxed is to: remember your “why”, remind yourself of your achievements, and know that you’re better off without ‘em. Do these three things before your next interview and you will be able to feel the difference when you’re sitting across from the panel.