Q&A Feature: How Do I Become a Firefighter?
Q: Well, I’ve just completed my second oral board interview today with the DFW Airport Fire Department, and I have also made it to my oral board interview with Fort Worth Fire department. So far 2 strikes. What I’m curious is what do they really want to know about you. I’ve done everything that my friends who are firefighters have suggested. I let them know that I’m interested in long term..retirement, the benefits, etc. I thought I had a good explanation as to why I wanted to be a firefighter. Everyone I’ve talked to so far can’t believe I haven’t made it yet. They all tell me that I’d make a perfect firefighter. Especially the ones who already are. What I want to know is what do the boards really want to hear. What advice can anyone who is a firefighter give me and anyone else who is having trouble getting hired on. What do we need to tell them or say to them in the interview to show them we are serious and want the job. The fact that they won’t tell me why they don’t hire me just makes it more difficult. I have no idea what to work on or what to do to improve.
A: BE HONEST!!!! What do you really want? Interviewers can spot canned answers. If I’m on the interview board and you tell me that you want to be whatever the time calls for and blah blah blah, I think I would notice. Be passionate. Is it possible to promote to captain in six years? ASK!!! They will ask you where you see yourself in X number of years. Use that as an opportunity. Find out what you can do to improve yourself for them. They want you for their future, not yours. Yes, your development is important, but they have an open slot to fill. If you are not the most appealing candidate, you lose. Also, don’t be afraid to point out a blemish on your record. Employers like honesty. Disclose all information. If you screwed up in the past, fine. Tell them. Hide it, and your application gets “put in the round file”.