Preparing for Firefighter Candidate Interviews
Battalion Chief Paul Lepore
You never know what that connection could be. It may be that they too played high school or college football. Maybe they are from the same part of the country. Perhaps a board member who plays basketball is looking for players for the basketball team. They may have an interest in auto mechanics. It may be possible that you speak a foreign language and your skills may be needed in certain areas of the community. Another benefit of providing personal information about yourself is that once a rater feels a bond with you, he or she is more likely to give you a higher score. It stands to reason that if no connection has been established, you will have to work that much harder for a good score.
Let’s say the department has an opening for a seat on the fire engine. They have decided to hire a firefighter to fill the vacancy. Since fire departments are always inundated with prospective candidates when they give an exam, they have the luxury of hiring whomever they want. This wide range of choice makes it more likely that they will hire someone they like.
If you are going to be put straight onto a fire engine, our choices are more limited since prior training is a must. In other words, the department may be looking for someone who has already put him or herself through a basic fire academy at the local junior college.
If we are going to put the new hire through a fire academy, we can hire someone with minimal experience. Firefighters would much rather hire someone who has similar interests, values, goals and morals. I’m not saying they’re looking for clones. What they are looking for is someone who fits the profile of a firefighter. They have a much better chance of choosing someone compatible by learning about them personally as well as professionally.