How to Dress for Firefighter Interviews So You Get Hired

Studying for your firefighter promotional exam

Now that you have completed your firefighter interview preparation it is time to dress the part for your fire interview. Showing up to your interview looking like a professional is one of the crucial first steps towards making the right first impression and getting your dream job.

Before we move on, congratulations to you! You’ve been invited to interview for the position of firefighter with a fire department that is hiring! This is a big deal and a huge step towards getting your dream job. You’ve aced the written test and passed the physical agility exam. The only obstacle remaining between you and your desired career as a firefighter is the interview. 

For many candidates, one of the most defining, and usually stress-inducing, aspects of the firefighter hiring process is the interview process. As with the testing process, it is important to keep your stress and anxiety levels in check during the interview process. With one chance to make a first impression and a limited amount of time to convince the panel you are the best candidate for the job, it’s imperative to use every factor to your advantage – and how you present yourself matters.

If you want to level-up in your chances of getting the firefighter job of your dreams then an understanding of what to wear and when will get you started on the right foot. Let’s take a look at some tried and true approaches that will have you prepared, feeling confident, and standing out from the pack for your interview.

Dress Business Professional:

Even though you don’t intend on working in a cubicle and sitting through board meetings, business professional is the industry standard for dressing for your firefighter interview. Below is recommended for men and women respectively:

Men: 

  1. Suit (not a tuxedo)
  2. Collared button-up shirt
  3. Tie
  4. Leather belt
  5. Leather shoes
  6. Dress socks (Not white)

Women:

  1. Suit (pant or skirt option)
  2. Collared blouse
  3. Neat hairstyle
  4. Low profile pump

Remember, the interview is a professional setting, so be sure to appear as “the” professional.  Do your research in advance- if there’s a protocol once hired then it should be followed during the interview.  The same is true for things not to do- if beards aren’t allowed for safety reasons then don’t sport one during your interview.

Things to Avoid

Just like there are steps you should take when getting your appearance ready for an interview, there are certain things that you should take steps to avoid. Here are a list of items that you should consider avoiding if possible for your interview:

  1. Visible tattoos
  2. Facial hair (shave your beard)
  3. Flashy jewelry/piercings (take them out)
  4. Too much cologne/perfume
  5. Heavy/unnatural makeup
  6. Ill-fitting clothes (too big, too tight, too short, low-cut)
  7. Inappropriate footwear (high heels, sneakers, sandals)

Fire Interview Grooming

Firefighters typically have strict grooming standards when they are on the job. You want to match that standard for your interview so you look professional and to show you understand the job you are testing for. Here are some tops to get your grooming in line for your interview:

  1. Get a haircut prior to the interview (no more than 1 week in advance)
  2. Nails and cuticles should be clean and short
  3. Light or minimal makeup
  4. Teeth should be clean

It isn’t just about looking like a candidate who is ready to get hired, it is about showing them you understand the position you are interviewing for. Be sure you look professional, have a clean and pressed outfit and have your grooming in line with what is expected of a firefighter. Remember, it is better to be overdressed than under-dressed when interviewing for a firefighter job.