Practice, Practice, And More Practice
For everything we do in life, practice is the pathway to success. Practice, fueled by persistence and guided by research will undoubtedly lead to success in almost every endeavor. This holds true for your Firefighter Interview as well. So, if you’re tired of getting interviews but not getting job offers, then it’s time to put in some practice.
Now I know there are some people out there who are thinking:
“The Panel is just going to ask me questions about myself, and I know everything about me”.
“Why do I need to practice for an interview?”
First of all, you’re not Allen Iverson. Secondly, you probably don’t know everything about yourself (unless you followed the advice in our blog about Researching Yourself). And third, even the most successful people still practice. So put away your ego, stay humble, and follow these tips on how to practice for your next Firefighter Interview.
Ways To Practice
Step 1: Write out your answers
Look up common interview questions and write out answers to them. The only way to write out your answers, is to know your answers. So take the time to research yourself, and truly contemplate who you are and how that positively relates to your desire to be a firefighter. Sign up for the Firefighter Interview Prep course so you get access to all of the resources; including the “Make the Connection Worksheet” which will help you take all of the self-discovery you’re doing and turn it into competent interview answers.
Step 2: Read them out loud to yourself
Take the answers that you prepared in Step 1, and spend time reading them out loud. Focus on what you’re saying and make sure that it clearly describes who you are. It will sound different when you say it out loud than it may have when it was just on paper, so make adjustments accordingly.
Step 3: Practice them in front of a mirror and record them
Now that you’re more familiar with your answers, from Step 2, take time to practice speaking in front of a mirror while you record yourself with your phone or a camera. This step is extremely valuable. Most of the time the way we imagine ourselves does not exactly match up with the way we actually present ourselves when speaking. Recording yourself will expose all of the nervous tics and bad habits you have. Pay attention so that you can fix them before the real interview.
Step 4: Practice with someone else
Pick out a good friend or family member and ask them to sit with you at a table. Try to make it as realistic as possible and role play. Have them pretend to be an interviewer on the Fire Department Panel, and ask you a list of common interview questions. Ask them beforehand to write down constructive criticism. Take their advice and make adjustments.
Step 5: Set up mock interviews with real firefighters
Once you have spent adequate time on your own practicing these responses, reach out to your local fire department and ask to set up a mock interview. Call the main phone number for Fire Administration and someone will be able to point you in the right direction. This practice interview will feel much more real. You will get the chance to sit down with firefighters who have gone through the exact same situation as you, and remember what it was like trying to get past the interview and into the fire house. Just like Step 4, ask them to write down critiques that they can give you afterwards.
Practicing your interview skills is the best way to improve your level of confidence before sitting in front of the panel. Follow these steps to practice your skills and don’t be surprised when you get offered a job after your next interview. Have fun!