It’s no secret the competition is tight when it comes to testing for the fire department. The biggest challenge candidates face when they get to the interview is standing out against their competition. After all, the oral board could be conducting hundreds of interviews.
Here are a few things you need to know as you prepare for your interview:
- Don’t let your ego get in the way. It is perfectly acceptable and furthermore highly suggested to seek out help. Even if you think you are good at interviews, you probably aren't as good as you think.
- Practice! Mumbling to yourself in the car doesn’t count. Organize mock interviews. Several of them.
- Expect anything. Pondering your answer in the chair is not an option. You should prepare for all types of questions. Download our free interview guide to learn the different types of questions you can expect.
- Go the extra mile. Have you done your ride-a-long? Has your resume been reviewed by a professional? Have you researched the department and city? Have you done interview coaching? Do you know what keywords to use? If you can't answer yes to every question, but your competition can, you are at a disadvantage.
- Arrive early. Many candidates arrive even an hour early.
Here’s a powerful example of how going the extra mile and doing something different than everyone else pays off.
Last year, Mike and I decided to take a trip to a test in the Salt Lake City area. 200 people were testing for possible employment at five different fire departments. For us, it was the perfect place to throw a hundred books in the car and connect with prospective firefighters.
Here is how it shook out. We stood near the door with a single book in hand. As people entered, we wished them good luck on the test and added that after the test we would have resources to help them with the interview.
Soon people began to leave. One-by-one people passed. 30 became 60, and then 150 people walked by.
Only TWO people got books that morning.
Everyone else sincerely believed they were going to be fine with what preparation they had done. I can tell you this, after coaching hundreds of people, we’ve never met someone who is so prepared they wouldn’t benefit from help. These people had no idea what they did not know, and because of that they truly felt prepared. Many times those who do get to the interview will have to learn an expensive and valuable lesson.
Don’t let that happen to you. Get help.
As for the two people that purchased the Firefighter Interview Rule Books, they both followed up with interview coaching and went on to dominate their interviews. Both received job offers within six months! One is currently employed in Arizona and the other in Idaho.
If you are committed to becoming a firefighter, I encourage you to go the extra mile. Practice more than you think you need. Ask for help. And my best advice, commit to interview coaching.