Does anyone have any tips at all for passing career interviews? I have no problem with the tests, but when it comes to the interviews I completely tank! Twice now I've gone through interviews in Evansville and I've bombed. Help me!!!
I had the Chief of East Providence Fire Department that explained to me what he looks for in a new hire, especially someone with a fire background. He hates it when someone walks in and trys to throw their certs around. Your going to be a new hire, aka making you Probie again, reguardless of rank years etc in other departments. Your better off going in, looking professional, speaking clearly, and matter of fact, answer their questions politely (sir or maam works wonders) and as thoroughly as possible. Don't try to bs your way through an answer you don't know, ask them to rephrase the question to see if you can get it then, and if not, say I don't know, but sure wouldn't mind learning. Approach the situation and seem willing to work, willing to learn, and ready to be part of their team. Then again, the one time I applied to be paid at Sub Base fire, I was turned down because of the new wave of Vets coming over from Iraq got the only 3 spots available. (their policy was troops/vets over civilians) Made me feel like crap that 3 guys with 0 experience got the job before me, but thats the way I would want it to be, they did their service and deserve the job.
I don't know if interviews there are any different than interviews here, but they tend to be a little more personality and psychology based. The thought process on this is that they can teach anyone with the proper background and abilities to be a firefighter, but they cannot teach everyone to get along and be a team player.
My last interview these were the types of questions that were asked...
Why is discipline necessary and important in the fire service?
If you were given a direct order and thought it was incorrect or unsafe, what would you do?
You have allowed your driver's license to lapse and you are asked to move the rig, what do you do?
Tell us about a time you gave excellent customer service.
Tell us about a time you could have given better customer service.
Questions that sometimes put you on the spot, and almost always make you have to think hard about your answers. They can be tough to prepare for, but with your experience in two other interviews, you should be able to now prepare some answers based on what you know.
First Impressions are key... You must be well dressed Suit and Tie if you have it.. i've had two interviews and been hired both times.. be confident act like u want the Job and your the man for it... not that u have it already though... and Yes Sir and Maam.. Does work wonders.. and Be Truthful... I have been on the interviewing board before and we hired a young man with very lil experiance almost just on first impression... he was well dressed, we yes sir and no sir and was truthful he was very upfront that he wanted the job and was the man for it.. and was very excited to learn... he is now a very good firefighter... he has exceled very well...
Thanks a million guys! I'm waiting to hear from Indianapolis to see if I get to go for a second interview. Interviewing has never really been my strong suit, even for regular jobs. Your advice means alot to me. Thanks again guys!
One last piece of advice... RELAX! I felt that I bombed my first interview, I was nervous, sweating like I've never sweat before just sitting in a chair and was basically scared shitless. My second interview with the same department was a little better and somehow I made it on to the active hiring list with them (guaranteed position), but had to wait until the third class because of where I placed on their list. It worked out for the best because when I was finally called for an interview with my first choice department I decided to just relax and go into it like the job was mine to lose. I answered the questions, I made a joke about how I "Usually have so much to say" when I was struggling for words and by the end of it we were all relaxed and shared a laugh. I felt it was my best interview ever because I was so relaxed and felt so at ease with my panel (even though they were somewhat scary... two chiefs and a training officer), I knew this was where I was supposed to be and convinced them of the same.
Oh and please, before you get up to leave... ask for the job! I actually heard this tip on the John Tesh radio show (yes seriously), and I was told I finished in the top ten of the interviews. I would almost guarantee on top of being prepared (like the other 79 interviews from the list of 375), the humour and ASKING FOR THE JOB are what did it for me.
If you are stumped on a question...ask what Department SOP is on the subject and tell them that you would follow the SOP.
I didnt on an interview for a job I really wanted and lost it, because my experience told me what was the RIGHt thing to do not the thing the Department wanted me to do. Just a thought.
listen for the questions they ask you first. Answer honestly but with a certain confidence that the fire-ems career is what you truly want to do and that you are committed to giving the dept. that accepts you 110%. Dress in a uniform if you have one, otherwise use casual business clothes should be appropriate.
Pray before you go and ask for a "calm assurance".
Remember first impressions are absolutely everthing. Your first 30 seconds in front of a board are the key to the rest of the interview. Are you dress to be a member of that department, cut offs and flip flops will not work, nice hair cut or style, it can be long if you have long hair but it better look clean and professional, remember you are selling yourself, when asked a question pause a moment to make sure your brain heard the question, answer thoughtfully without overkilling the answer, the interviewers want an answer not your doctorate on the topic. Have copy of your orginal application and copies HEAR THIS COPIESof any certs you have, have copies of the major ones not the little ones, but if you do not have much put it all in time, have a resume in the packet and it goes on top with a picture of you.
Sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye when he/she is talking to you, when answering the question look up at the other board members eye to eye. Do not look down at the floor ever, don't slotch or roll your shoulders square them back. Ask yourselve right now HOW BAD DO I WANT THIS JOB? Remember you will now have career you do every single day.
If it is Evansville IN there are several things you MUST include in an interview to get to the next level. Their interview is an oral test of sorts. Every canidate is suppose to have the same questions asked and responses scored on several criteria, hence you have to answer all the questions on all the bases.
First, there is the right answer for there question. Think political here and answer based on the city's policy manual (which is available upon request).
Second, personal experince in the area. Demonstrate a working knowledge or a situational awareness of the question being asked.
Third, is your presentation, i.e. how you conduct yourself under pressure. Remember it is better to pause than to stummer, uh, etc. I suggest bringing in a small notebook to jot down any points prior to answering so that your are stating the answer to the question and not going down a side road. Many questions are designed to lead you in this manner and staying focused is essential.
Fourth, Be sure to clarify the question before answering it if there is a question as to what they are wanting.
I had a friend who was in the human resource department there almost ten years ago and these are the points that she told me to watch for when I interviewed in Owensboro. She stated that many first interviews for civil service or municipalities must follow these guidelines until the final interview. Hope it helps.
Good luck! I have my third interview tomorrow. Well, if time permits...written and agility tests first. It's my first for those. I totally sympathized with you about that first interview. Mine was a panel interview and half the questions they asked, I had no clue what to say! I sweated like a pig, laughed like a dingdong, and at one point found myself clicking my pen! I knew I blew it, so I wasn't surprised when I got my rejection letter the next week. Now, last weekend I had another interview, one on one, and that one went better. I learned a lot about relaxing and being honest without saying too much. I'm really hoping I get to do my interview tomorrow...I'm tired of waiting around for a job!! Hope yours went well!