24 Firefighter Interview Questions To Help You Prepare

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a firefighter is demanding, with a lot of pressure, but it can be a very rewarding role. Interviewers for a firefighter job may ask specific questions to assess how suitable you are for the position. If you have an interview coming up or you're applying for jobs as a firefighter, it helps to know what to expect at the interview stage. In this article, we guide you through 24 firefighter interview questions that recruiters might ask you.

Icebreaker firefighter interview questions

Some interviews go straight into specific firefighter interview questions. Others start with general icebreaker questions. You might not get a mark for these questions, but they give you a chance to relax and ease into the situation.

The recruiter usually explains the interview process to you at the beginning so you know what to expect. Here are a few icebreaker questions that recruiters frequently use:

  • Why do you want to be a firefighter?

  • What do you already know about this fire and rescue service?

  • What do you think are the daily responsibilities of a firefighter?

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make A Great Impression

General firefighter interview questions

In firefighter interviews, you often get some general questions that assess your suitability for the role. Being a firefighter is a demanding and sometimes dangerous job, so recruiters want to be confident that you're able to cope with it. Becoming a firefighter for the first time might also mean a big change in your lifestyle, and you may need to show that you're ready for this.

These questions also help recruiters find out if you have the general qualities needed to be a firefighter. These include a willingness to help other people and the ability to cope with stressful situations. Here are some examples:

  • Give an example of a time when you helped someone.

  • When have you been in a stressful or difficult situation, and what did you do to relieve the pressure?

  • You're applying for a job that changes your lifestyle. How do you plan to cope with this?

Related: 15 Tips On How To Interview Successfully

Interview questions about working with others

A firefighter works closely with team members, the community and other emergency services. Teamwork is important because firefighters deal with dangerous situations. In this role, you may need to work together to stay safe. It's important that you can show that you work well alongside others and can contribute to a team, and are proactive about developing positive working relationships. Recruiters also want to find out how important you consider teamwork to be. This gives them a useful insight into how effectively you can work alongside other people. Here are some examples:

  • Give an example of a time when you have worked with others as part of a team.

  • When have you worked as part of a team to help someone who was in distress?

  • Do you think it is important for every member of a team to work effectively with one another?

Related: 7 Teamwork Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

Interview questions about your commitment to diversity and integrity

In a firefighter role, you work with members of the public on a daily basis and are likely to encounter people from all parts of society. Firefighters are also often part of a diverse workforce, so it's important that you show your commitment to diversity. You want to show recruiters that you treat the people around you ethically and fairly, regardless of who they are.

Firefighters also want to work with integrity and honesty at all times, so recruiters want to find out about past situations in which you've acted with integrity and been accountable for your own actions. Here are some example questions:

  • Describe a time when you have helped to support diversity.

  • When have you been aware of a person who was behaving in a way that went against the values of the team or organisation, and what did you do?

  • Give an example of a time when you have encountered different groups of people and explain how you approached treating everyone as equals.

  • When have you made a mistake that had an impact on others, and what did you do about it?

Related: 9 Sample Diversity Interview Questions And Answers

Interview questions about your commitment to excellence

When you work as a firefighter, it's crucial that you deliver excellent service and maintain high standards. Strong attention to detail is important, whether that's when you're responding to an emergency or when you're completing paperwork.

Recruiters want to see that you're proactive about improving standards and capable of following procedures and instructions so that you can maintain excellent standards. You also may need to show that you can work proactively and independently to maintain high standards rather than always needing instruction and guidance. Here are a few examples:

  • When have you had to follow strict guidelines to complete a task?

  • Give an example of a time when you achieved a higher standard in your work than what was generally expected of you.

  • If you were a manager and one of your team members was not performing to the required standards, how would you address this?

  • Describe a situation when you have had to work outside of the accepted guidelines to solve a problem.

Interview questions about your commitment to development

Firefighters may need to commit to developing themselves. They also may need to be able to encourage and support others to develop. You want to be able to review your own performance and work to improve. It's also essential that you can give constructive feedback and act on feedback from others.

Working as a firefighter also means learning a large amount of information related to your job, such as procedures that you may need to follow. Recruiters want to see that you have a positive attitude towards your own learning and development and that you're committed to progressing and constantly improving your performance. Here are some examples:

  • When have you tried to learn something new?

  • When have you tried to improve the way you do something?

  • When have you changed your behaviour following comments from someone else?

  • What actions would you take if you identified a development need of your own?

  • Give an example of a time when you have acted on feedback.

Interview questions about effective communication

Communication is a vital part of working as a firefighter. You want to be able to communicate well with your team members. But you may also have to give instructions to the public in a clear and timely manner. In this situation, strong communication skills help to prevent injury or harm. Firefighters encounter many diverse groups. This means you may have to be good at changing your communication style to suit your audience.

Communication is about more than speaking and writing. It also concerns your body language and how you show that you're paying attention. Recruiters want to see that you communicate effectively in different ways to different groups of people. Here are some example questions:

  • Have you ever had to act as a mediator between two people who were having a disagreement?

  • How do you respond when you don't know the answer to a question?

What does recruitment for firefighters involve?

The exact recruitment process for firefighters differs between individual fire and rescue services. If you apply for jobs at more than one service, you might want to prepare differently for each interview. Despite this, many fire and rescue services use the National Firefighter Selection Process. This process assesses your ability to do relevant physical tasks such as assembling and using equipment, climbing ladders and working in an enclosed space. You can also expect to attend an interview to assess your experience and your personal qualities and attributes (PQA).

Firefighter interviews typically follow a format of main questions followed by supplementary questions. Supplementary questions are usually based on the answer you give to the main question. This format assesses how well you meet each PQA. Because of this, it's a good strategy to give honest and well-considered answers. There are several areas that recruiters are likely to assess when you attend an interview for a firefighter role:

  • working with others

  • commitment to diversity and integrity

  • commitment to excellence

  • commitment to development

  • effective communication

How long does the recruitment process take after a successful interview?

If you're successful in your interview, initial firefighter training takes roughly 12 to 18 weeks to complete. This is an intense process covering all the essential skills you need. You may need to go to a special training centre that has all the equipment you need for firefighter training. The training covers topics like hose laying, ladder safety and how to use breathing apparatus.

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