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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Become A Firefighter Part 4: The Interview

The day of the interview.

Show up early. Bring a resume, letters of recommendations, and copies of all certificates and licenses. Get a nice case to carry them all. They may not want any of it but it's better to have them and not need them than to have them ask if you have a copy of something and not to have it. Wear a dark suit and have the tie tied correctly.

This is the time for you to shine. Eye contact is a good thing. Sit up straight. If you can, remember the names of the members of your interview panel and use them. Remember to answer the question. In an interview that I had (it was a group interview with the fire chief) we were all asked which is more important for a career as a firefighter. to have a bachelor's degree or to have the ability to take apart a car engine and put it back together? Several candidates failed to simply answer the question. They said both were important. The problem is, that's not what was asked. They just wanted us to pick one side or the other and make a stand. I picked one and backed it up with my reasons. I got the job (although I'm sure that wasn't the only reason).

Remember that the panel is trying to get a good picture of who you are and how well you will fit into their organization. Be confident, but not cocky, and tell them why you'd be great for their department. This is a great time for you to show them how much you have learned about them from your research.

We recently had a young candidate come through our interview boards and when he was asked what he knew about our department he covered it all. Somehow he had even gone over our strategic plan for the next several years (which isn't online) and memorized points from there. He did very well on his interview. You could tell that he really wanted to job.

At the end of the interview make sure that you shake the hands of all the members of the interview panel and thank them for the opportunity. At some departments a couple of points will be added to your score if you do this.

Now go home and analyze what you said in your answers. Is there something that you could have said that would have been better? Remember, if it went well, you still have another interview. If not, you will have more interviews with other departments. Critique yourself and make improvements.

One last thing. Go back to the stations (and shift) that you visited previously (no need to make an appointment) and drop off some ice cream to say thank you for their help. Very few people do this but it makes a great impression.

Next, More Station Visits
Previously, Research


Rachel said...

Somehow, I think the ice cream plays into this more than a little :)

My husband would offer a job to anyone who can score some Baseball Nut icecream after baseball season.

But your points are well-taken. Here's hoping I never have to interview again, because this gave me butterflies all over again!

Now I need some ice cream.

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Ice cream is huge. It's the currency of firefighters.

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