The fire officer promotional interview is the department’s opportunity to ensure that it’s future fire officers will be in line with the departmental goals and mission. There are five critical things to remember for this part of the promotional process. They are:
5 Things to Remember for Fire Officer Promotional Interview
1. Dress for the position
2. Eye contact is important
3. Answer the question that is asked
4. Provide a complete response
5. Know what makes you a strong candidate
You will be challenged in a variety of ways to ensure that you are the right fit to be promoted to fire officer. The interview will seek to discover what is important to you and then grade you on how these values line up with the organization’s values.
It is important to remember that oftentimes the views of the firefighters in the fire station differ from those of the fire chief. It’s more important to remember that you are being graded by chief officers and not by the firefighters in the station. It would be wise to understand the department’s mission statement and core values and make certain your views and opinions align with these guiding principles.
Dress for the Position – Weeks prior to your fire officer promotional oral interview you should determine what the appropriate dress is. It is common to require dress uniforms or suits and ties. Don’t wait until the day before to lay out your clothes. You want to make sure that whichever outfit you are wearing is clean, doesn‘t look old or worn out, is pressed, and fits! A well-dressed candidate makes a good first impression during the fire department promotional oral interview.
Remember to Make Eye Contact – Look directly at the rater asking the question. Hold their gaze until they finish asking the question. Then shift your gaze to another rater, moving from rater to rater as you provide your response. Don’t quickly shift your gaze if a rater is looking down as you move to make eye contact with them. Continue to look at them for a few seconds in case they look up. As you come to the conclusion of your response finish with the rater that asked the question.
Answer the question that they ask – The questions asked are formatted to elicit a particular response so the raters can evaluate you on several grading dimensions. In order to earn the best score in the fire officer promotional oral interview you must listen carefully to the question and provide a response that addresses the specifics of that question. It is common for a candidate to give a response that they have pre-planned and practiced but does not specifically answer the question asked by the raters. This leads to lower scores so should be avoided.
Provide Complete Responses – Your response should completely address every aspect of the question or situation. Avoid providing vague or generic responses whenever possible. As an example, don’t just say, “I would look for hazards”, instead tell what hazards you would look for, why you would look for them, and how you would mitigate them. Answering questions completely maximizes your score on the fire officer promotional oral interview.
Know what makes you a good candidate for promotion – You have to understand what you bring to the position. If you don’t know what you bring how can you ever convince the raters what you bring? Once you understand this then you need to practice articulating it. Oftentimes the candidate just lists what they have done in their careers and then leaves it to the raters to determine if they are good candidates. Prepared candidates understand why they are good candidates and are able to articulate it in a clear fashion so as to convince the raters that that they are good candidates, maximizing their score in the fire officer promotional oral interview.
The best way to prepare for the oral interview portion of your fire officer promotional interview is to become familiar with the department’s policies and procedures as well as performing a self-evaluation of how you would perform as an officer. Become familiar with issues facing your department and the fire service in general. Read fire service trade journals, internet discussion boards, and initiate conversations with your officers and chief officers.
Best of luck to you. Find more information at AspiringFireOfficers.com.