Firefighter Interview Help: 5 Tips For A Successful Interview

Fire engines at night

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all need a little help sometimes. For a lot of people, the firefighter interview is one of those times. While some may feel prepared for the interview based on their previous work experience, extensive research of the department, and intensive preparation; everyone MUST do these 5 things to exude professionalism and ensure success in the interview. 

  1. Be 15 minutes early, not too early, but not right on time

Punctuality is extremely important. Showing up to your interview at the right time lets the interview panel know that you are professional. Just as importantly, it tells the panel that you value their time because you cared enough about this opportunity to show up 15 minutes early. Showing up right at your scheduled interview time does not allow for any flexibility in the panel’s schedule if they happen to end the interview before yours a little early. If that happens and they come looking for you a few minutes early, only to see that you haven’t shown up yet, you may have shot yourself in the foot. Conversely, you don’t want to show up too early. Anything more than 15 minutes is excessive. In order to make sure you show up at the right time, there are a few variables that need to be considered:

How long will it take you to get dressed?

Is your car, or mode of transportation, reliable?

What is traffic like from your current location to the interview?

Will weather impact that traffic?


Everything and anything that can affect your ability to show up on time should be considered, and mitigated, before the day of the interview.

  1. Bring more than enough copies of your resume

Since you don’t know for sure how many people will be on the interview panel, make sure that you bring more than enough copies of your resume to share. While there is a good chance that the panel will have printed your resume prior to your arrival, you still want to bring extras in case they haven’t. Throughout the interview you will be telling stories about your previous experiences and referencing your resume. Having enough copies of the resume for each person on the panel will give you that professional appearance and help them to be able to follow along while you answer their questions. If you think there might be five people on the panel, bring two to three times that many resumes. It seems excessive, but just do it, and take that variable out of the equation.

  1. Bring two pens and a nice folder with paper to take notes with

These five tips are all aimed at maximizing the professionalism of your first impression, in order to give you the best chance of getting the job. Throughout the course of the interview you may need to take notes or organize your thoughts for one of your answers. Having two pens and a leather folder with paper, will give you the opportunity to do that. 

  1. Strong handshake

There is no secret to this one. Although it’s obvious, it still warranted being mentioned. A strong handshake says a lot about you before you get the chance to actually say anything at your interview. Especially at a fire department interview; you need to have a strong handshake. Hopefully you already have this down, but if not, find a friend and practice your handshake

  1. Thank everyone for their time

As the interview comes to a close, take a deep breath, stand up tall, and thank the interview panel for their time while you shake each of their hands one more time. This is your last chance to be a professional. Moreover, regardless of how the interview went, this will be your last chance to make a lasting impression.


The Takeaway

We have all heard the saying, “the devil is in the details”. Interviews are no different. Especially when you’re interviewing for one of a few positions at a large department, and going up against thousands of other candidates, paying attention to the smallest details can be the difference between getting the job and going back to your job with that private ambulance company. So follow these tips and go get your dream job.