Why You REALLY Want To Be A Firefighter – Firefighter Interview

become a firefighter

Welcome to this video on Your Firefighter Oral Interview. I’m going to be discussing today the question of why do you want to become a firefighter? You’re going to be asked that by the Interview Panel on probably 99% of all of your firefighter interviews. There’s two areas that I want to cover in depth that you’re going to need to address and to be able to articulate and have a conversation about with the Interview Panel. Now, I want to preface this by saying I’m going to be giving you a lot of material here so you’re going to need to condense your answer down into a two or three-minute burst.

As I give you this information, as you study this, I want you to learn this information. I want you to be able to have a conversation with that panel. I don’t want you to memorise some answer that you’re going to spout off. That just doesn’t work anymore. You’re going to need to give all of your answers in a conversational way.

                                                      The only way to do that is to truly know in your heart why it is that you want to be a firefighter. Then, keep that answer to no more than three minutes, and you’re going to hit it out of the park. The first thing is your story. The interview panel wants to know who you are, and they want to know why and what made you decide being a firefighter is the career for me. I’m going to talk about, a little bit, about my story and what happened to me. Hopefully, that will resonate with you and give you an idea of how you can formulate your story. Everybody’s story is different, and I’ll go into that to a little bit more depth in a second.

                                                      The next thing or the actual reasons why you want to be a firefighter, and I’m going to cover a whole gamut of different reasons that I bet you didn’t even think about. Let’s start with your story. You want to just briefly tell the interview panel why it is and what happened to you, because usually, there’s some significant event in everybody’s life that cause them to want to become a firefighter. I know it did for me. Now, there’s a number of you out there who have wanted to be firefighters since you were little kids, and that’s great. You could say, but when you got older either as a teen or a late teen, maybe you wanted to confirm that this is what you want to do. You did something either right along, or you were exposed, maybe there was an incident somewhere around that confirmed the fact that, hey, you were there. You saw this going down, or you saw … You had went on a ride-along, and you go, “You know what? This is what I want to do because of this.”

                                                      That’s the thing that I want to tell, that I want you to explain to the interview panel because it’s great, so you have been wanting to do it since I was a kid. All right, but some time in your life, when you become an adult, you’re going to reaffirm what it is that you want to do. There’s going to be an instance or an incident that caused you to reaffirm that. For me, I was an auto mechanic for almost eight, almost nine years before I got hired on the fire department, but at age 20, I was working full-time for a shop. I decided, “You know what? I’m going to start my own shop.” I had it for about a year, and I didn’t have enough money in the bank to keep it going, and I had to close it down after a year. I was devastated. I thought to myself, “Gosh, what am I going to do?”

                                                      I hated cars. I mean gosh, I hated cars with a passion. I knew that I couldn’t be a mechanic and work on cars the rest of my life, so I had to go out and get a job and work for someone else again. It was awful. It was the lowest point in my life. I had hit rock bottom. It was horrible, and so I got a job as mechanic at this shop. A firefighter came in with his Corvette, and I ended up working on that. We struck a conversation, actually started becoming friends a little bit.

                                                      He asked me one day, he goes, “Hey, Have you ever thought about becoming a firefighter?” I’m just like, “No, I never thought about that. I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to become a fire fighter.” He goes, “Well, why don’t you come and do a ride-along because we’re always looking for good people who know how to work with their hands, and maybe it’s something you might be interested in. If it is, then I can help you, help guide you and show you what to do and show you the classes you need to take and be a coach and a mentor.” I said, “All right.” I went and did the ride-along. I rode for 24 hours, and we had calls during the day. We were up all night. I think we had maybe a dumpster fire and even a car fire and a bunch of medical calls overnight and a traffic collision. The next day, I got up to go home, and this captain friend of mine goes, “So, what do you think?” I go, “God, this is the job for me.”

                                                      That was the beginning of what made me decide, my personal story of why I wanted to become a firefighter, because I got to work with my hands every day. I got to help people. Now, let’s go into the reasons, okay? These are some of the reasons now. I get to work with my hands. I get to work with some incredible people that have a tonne of knowledge. You get to figure out complex problems, and you get to make decisions based on trying to figure out those problems. Most of all, you get to help people, and you get to make a difference in people’s lives every single day. That’s what this job is about. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives. On top of that, every day is different, but yet, every day has routine. As humans, we need routine in our lives.

                                                      If we didn’t have routine in our society every day, we’d have total chaos and mayhem, so we do need that routine in our lives. What you get everyday by cleaning the station and doing work around the station and all of those things. However, a lot of us need excitement in our lives too, so we get that balance of having the routine that we need to function as human beings, yet we get the excitement of going into situations that we don’t know anything about, and we get to solve complex problems and maybe make life and death decisions. Now, one minute you might be out in the street working with a pedestrian who got hit by a car to the next minute, you’re in a building on a fire alarm activation. Maybe you’re in somebody’s house the next minute on a medical call. Then, you’re over at an apartment building for a medical incident. Then, you’re going on a traffic accident. Then, you’re going to need to go on a structure fire response or maybe walking up a high -rise, or you’re going to a brush fire and maybe a hazardous material is released.

                                                      You get to deal with a variety of different things every day. That’s what makes the job enjoyable and exciting. The job is very challenging. I can say you’re physically challenged. You’re mentally challenged by the problems you have to solve, and you make complex decisions out there. Again, those are some of the great reasons that I love this. I get to work with my hands. I get to work with tools and equipment because I’m a mechanical guy. I love cars and all that. I don’t hate cars anymore. That was back in my 20s, but I love cars now, and I love working with tools and equipment and doing all those things, and I get to do that on a daily basis as being a firefighter.

                                                      Hopefully, those are some of the reasons that you can see that really rounds up this job. It’s challenging. It’s rewarding. You get to work with great people on a daily basis. You get to exercise a high level of honesty and integrity in your job, which is really a phenomenal thing. Then, all the different things you’re doing everyday like, say, all the different types of calls that you’re going on, the different types of decisions you’re making, the challenges that you have that really keeps your mind and your body working, especially you’re being challenged physically. Then, the routine. That is really a necessary part of your happiness and your joy, is having that routine mixed in with the excitement and the unknown challenges of the day.

                                                      I want you to talk about your story a little bit and maybe keep that to a minute or two just like I did and have a conversation about it with the panel. Then, go into the reasons like I did of why I love being a firefighter. If you’re never been a firefighter before, go, “These are the reasons why I want to be a firefighter.” If you are a firefighter, just say, “These are the reasons why I love being a firefighter,” even though they may ask you the question, “Why do you want to be a firefighter?” Well, go, “Here are the reasons why I love being a firefighter.” Then, you could turn that answer to more conversational. You can make it to more your advantage because you have some of that experience even if you’re a reserve firefighter. Say, “I love being a firefighter because as a reserve, I get to experience this, all these things that I just talked about.

                                                      I really hope that, that served you well. I really hope that help you. I’ve seen folks answering this question of why you want to be a firefighter on YouTube and on videos and things, but they don’t actually talk about all the reasons why we love doing this job. I hope I gave you a couple of reasons that are going to, I don’t know, spur the creative juices in your mind. Maybe you’ll find and figure out some other reasons that you can incorporate into your answer. Again, I hope this serve you.  I’d really love to meet you one day. I really wish you good luck. Thanks again for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

Brent Clayton

After becoming a Firefighter, I developed a massive interest in the Fire Services Recruitment and Selection Processes. I've been working since 2007 to learn everything about how Fire Services Recruitment works. I've tested and refined proven methods to help people get the edge over the competition. Today, over 100 of my former students are living their Firefighter dream.

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