Why You need to Research Yourself: Part One

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Having success in your firefighter interview relies heavily on your ability to convey who you are to the panel. The only way to be able to do that is to actually know who you are. What are your core values? Are you introverted or extroverted? What three personality traits best describe you? What life experiences have led you to the decision of becoming a firefighter?


How do you expect to explain to an interview panel why you are the perfect candidate for their fire department, if you can’t even answer these questions yourself? Research is the first step in the Firefighter Interview Prep system of: Research, Preparation, Execution. So follow this guide, and you will understand exactly what it means to “know yourself”, and how to tie that into the perfect interview answers.


So who are you? What really makes you, YOU? Sure there are physical traits that set you apart from other people, but the research you need to do in order to get ready for your interview will focus on the intangible qualities that you possess. These include your: core values, life experience, and previous employment experience.

  • Core Values

    • These are the personality traits that guide you through everyday decision making. These include: honesty, loyalty, dependability, adaptability, etc. Knowing your core values is a must. There are a number of free online personality tests. Go take one now.

  • Life Experience

    • Fire departments are looking for well-rounded people who have life experience. This includes: traveling, moving, playing sports while growing up, impactful family experiences, etc. Life experience translates directly to every aspect of the fire service, because firefighters are expected to work together and live together for a significant portion of their lives. Don’t shy away from talking about experiences you have had just because they don’t revolve around EMS or Fire.

  • Previous Employment Experience

    • Every job you had in your past has taught you something.  Figure out what that is and relate it to the fire service.  Since being a firefighter involves running calls and station life, there are endless opportunities for you to relate previous experience to the future expectations of your position as firefighter. Every job has provided you some experience that can be related to your future position, even the jobs you may have hated. For example, a huge aspect of being a firefighter is customer service, customer service is a key aspect of almost every job out there. Find one specific instance when you demonstrated outstanding customer service in a previous job and use that in your next interview. 

The Takeaway

Knowing exactly who you are brings self awareness that is priceless when it comes to answering interview questions. Nothing will give you confidence quite like being crystal clear on your core values and past experiences. So before your next interview, do the research and keep this simple equation in mind for answering interview questions:


Fire Service Values + Your Values/Experiences = Why you are a good fit for the job