Have a “You Attitude”

man pointing

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re looking for some help with an upcoming interview. More than likely, you’ve also been unsuccessful in at least one firefighter interview up to this point. Don’t worry. Most people don’t get hired at their dream fire department after just one interview. Moreover, going through the struggle of overcoming some failures on your way to getting hired will build character and add to the appreciation you will feel when you finally do get hired. This blog will explain how having a “you attitude” might be just what you need, to help you prepare for your next firefighter interview.


When I was in college, I had a business professor who once said, “being successful in business is easy as long as you have a “you attitude”. When she said this, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. Neither did anyone else in the class when she asked if we had any idea what she was talking about. So she elaborated. 


She explained that business is just a series of relationships, and the best way to facilitate successful relationships in business is to always be mindful of what the other side of the relationship is looking for. This is the “you attitude”. Basically, if you want the other party to do something for you, ask yourself what you can do for them first. If you can maintain an awareness of what your counterpart is interested in, you can then assist them in achieving their goals. Once you’ve helped them achieve their goals, they will be much more likely to help you achieve your goals. 


This philosophy also applies to finding success in firefighter interviews. Too often, candidates go into an interview and answer questions with no regard to the “you attitude”. They do all the right things: make good eye contact, exude confidence, and tell great stories. But without the “you attitude”, all of that can still miss the mark in a firefighter interview. Having a “you attitude” during your interview will constantly make you ask yourself “what does the panel (and the department) want from a candidate?”. The answer to that question will change slightly from department to department, but overall it’s pretty simple. They want to hire someone who genuinely wants the job. They want to hire someone with good intentions, who respects the firefighting profession and truly wants to be an asset to the department; and there’s no better way to embody those traits than by having a “you attitude”.


The Takeaway

Interviews don’t have to feel stressful. Just take a deep breath, and remind yourself to keep a “you attitude”. Think about what the department, and the interview panel are looking for. Keep a humble demeanor, and let your personality come through.