Every minute you put into perfecting your interview is necessary and worth it. In our last post we addressed why these myths aren’t true now, let’s talk about what to do instead.
MYTH #1: Its best to memorize your answers to common questions.
It’s not possible to practice 101 possible questions. Practice a few common questions until you feel comfortable answering them but, don’t practice reciting them word for word. Instead of memorizing dozens of answers, prepare a bank of information you can tailor for several different questions. Example: Practice telling a story of a time you excelled as a leader. Then, be prepared to use that story to answer questions such as: What is your number one strength? Or Tell me about a time you work as part of a team? Or What qualities can you bring to this department?
Make sure you’re answers are sounding natural and not robotic. Try recording yourself for a more accurate evaluation.
MYTH #2: The interview board will ask specific questions to get all the information they want.
You need to identify what information, stories, and character traits best sell you for the position and be prepared to share them. A helpful way to do this is by creating your ideal interview. Write down five questions you wish the interview board would ask you. Think of questions that allow you to easily share your most significant achievements and highlight your top qualities. Then, write down your answers. This is likely the information you need to figure out how to share. Now add a few random questions to the mix and try to include the bank of information you just came up with in your answers.
MYTH #3: Your answers are the most significant and most important factor in your interview.
We talked about the impact your nonverbal cues and reputation have on your interview. Take the time to watch this video from Amy Cuddy, then work on your body language. Now is also an excellent time to make sure your social media accounts will earn their respect.
MYTH #4: The interview board will hire the candidate with the most skills and experience.
Remember, everyone has life experience. It may not be pulling hose, but I guarantee you have team experience, leadership experience, physical fitness experience, problem-solving experience. The list goes on. Research your department and know precisely what types of experience they value most. And never doubt your ability to get hired based solely on fire experience.
MYTH #5: The interview panel holds all of the power and therefore dictates what you’re able to share.
Our tip here aligns closely with myth #2. Identify what your interview needs to know and tailor your answers to include it. If you pay attention to interviews on the nightly news, you’ll notice that any experienced interviewee already knows what they want to say. They will push their agenda regardless of what questions the host asks. This isn’t done by changing the subject rather, by carefully constructing your answers to both answer the question AND include the information you’ve already determined is a priority.
As we said before doing this right takes training and practice. That is exactly why we’ve created the Firefighter Interview Training Course. We realized that it isn’t always the best candidates that get hired but instead the candidates that interview the best. We don’t want you to get passed up (even though you’re the best person for the job) because you didn’t know how to execute an interview.
Mike and Rob,
TopScore Interview Coaches
P.S. The process is proven. Here is what a few other students had to say.
"I start academy on Feb 4!!! Thank you for helping me through this journey and coaching me. It made all the difference." -Megan
"This is my second time to go through Friscos' process. Yalls training has made the difference, this time I passed the interview and am on my way to a dream job."-Justin
"Words cannot begin to explain how grateful I am.” -Kevin Sepian