Understanding Common Interview Questions For Firefighters
By now you probably realise that there are certain testing components that you need to undertake before becoming a firefighter in Australia. One of those is the interview. There are common interview questions for firefighters that are asked by all fire service around Australia and New Zealand.
We’ll explore some of these in more detail and help you to understand the type of answers that the testing panels are looking for and why.
Why You Should Prepare For The Interview
Most people find interviews quite daunting in general. And, the interviews for firefighters are no exception.
That’s why it’s really important that you prepare well, before going into an interview with whichever fire service you’re applying to. In fact, most fire services around the country offer advice on how to prepare for the interview.
Fire and Rescue NSW has an entire PDF that you can download that tells you exactly how to prepare for the interview. It tells you the purpose of the interview and what they’re looking for in the answers that you give.
***something to note is that everyone has access to this***
Fire Rescue Victoria has a section on their website that also explains what is involved in the selection interview. It briefly explains how the questions are aimed at determining your skills, knowledge, and attributes for situations that you’ll come across as a firefighter.
You’ll find similar sections on the websites of the fire services in other states as well.
What The Common Interview Questions For Firefighters Are Aimed At
Firefighter entry interviews around the country are generally conducted in front of a panel. These panel members include both operational and non-operational staff of each fire service.
Each fire service will have a selection of interview questions that are both behavioural and scenario-based. It really helps if you understand the type of questions that are asked and the sort of answers the panel members are looking for.
In general, your answers to the questions will determine whether you have the knowledge, skills, experience, and values to become a firefighter. Your answers will also determine how you’re going to respond in stressful situations and how calm you’re likely to be under pressure. Plus, what you say will also reflect how well you’re going to work within a team environment.
Therefore, it’s a waste of time to go into an interview without being fully prepared. Not too many people will be able to answer the questions well without having practiced beforehand.
In fact, in their PDF guide, Fire and Rescue NSW suggest that you develop soundbites. These are common sentences or phrases that you should include throughout your interview.
Using The STARLA Method When Answering Questions
You're about to discover the only formula you'll ever need for crafting answers that make you a hit with your Interview Panel.
Although the STARLA method of answering questions is preferred by FRNSW, you can’t go wrong if you learn this method and use it when applying to other fire services around the country. The method consists of structuring your answers, especially for scenario-based questions, in the following way:
- S = Situation – Describe a situation that you were in that relates to the question.
- T = Task – Describe the task you were required to perform or the problem you needed to find a solution to.
- A = Action – Describe the action that you took in this situation.
- R = Result – Describe the result of your action.
- L = Learning – Describe what you learnt from this experience.
- A = Application – Describe how this situation can be applied to your role as a firefighter.
If you learn this method of answering questions, it will allow you to supply a comprehensive answer to any question that you are asked.
Examples Of Common Questions That You May Be Asked
While it’s impossible to determine the exact questions that the panel may ask you at the interview, we can give you a number of example-type questions. This will at least give you an idea of the type of questions that you may be asked.
- What experience do you have in working as a team?The aim of this type of question is to determine your ability to work as part of a team. This is crucial to being a firefighter. In asking this question, the panel will be interested in your real-life experiences where you were required to work in team situations.
- Have you worked in situations that were stressful and a matter of life and death?This type of question is aimed at determining how well you work under stress. Your answer should include any situations that you worked in where you were placed under extreme stress or where people relied on your quick actions.
- What was your inspiration for becoming a firefighter?This question is looking to determine the reason you’ve decided to become a firefighter. Specifically, the panel is looking for answers that indicate your values, your ability to work in a team, and your desire to serve the community.
- How have you prepared for a career in firefighting?In this question, the panel is looking for answers that demonstrate any type of experience you’ve had in serving the public and working in a team situation. Your answers can include both paid and volunteer work that you may have been involved in.
- Explain a situation where you had to persuade someone to do something they didn’t want to do.The aim of this question is to get you to relate real-life experiences that you’ve had that would help you as a firefighter. Your answers will show the panel that you have the skills necessary to handle difficult situations.
How To Make A Good Impression During The Interview
Making a good impression in the interview is important. The panel members want to get to know who you are and what’s important to you. Take particular note of the following:
- Dress professionally and make sure you’re well-groomed.
- Arrive early at the interview. This provides a subtle clue about your attitude and behaviour.
- Avoid taking your phone into the interview.
- Be enthusiastic when you greet the panel members.
- Make eye-contact when answering the questions.
- Convey positive body language and appear confident.
- Use professional language throughout the interview.
- Most importantly, be honest.
Final Thoughts – Important!!!
The interview is an important part of the selection process in your firefighter application. Therefore, it’s really important that you’re well prepared.
Even if you did well in all the other tests, there is a possibility that you may fail the interview if you don’t prepare for it. It’s an integral part of the selection criteria because it demonstrates the type of person you are.
Therefore, make sure you familiarise yourself with & practice answering the type of interview questions in the most comprehensive way possible. You might even consider practicing with your family or friends until you’re comfortable with answering these types of questions.
I think the biggest KEY takeaway is that you need to be able to interview in the top 5% so this in most cases will take some effort and guidance.
If you have an upcoming Interview and you want to ensure you put your best performance forward click here to book in for a chat about how we may be able to help.
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