NFPA has estimated a total of 1,115,000 volunteer and professional firefighters in the United States in 2018. There was female participation in this service as about 745,000 volunteer firefighters, and 370,000 career firefighters were women.
The numbers have increased in the past two years, given the call for duty has become a pressing problem with frequent disasters.
2018 was a year when the country was shaken by an unusually high rate of storms and calamities. The country experienced a total of fourteen events that included two tropical cyclones, two winter storms, eight other storms, droughts, and wildfires. The climate disasters cost the economy a loss of billions of dollars and require all hands on deck in the firefighting departments.
2019 topped the previous record by reaching a total of 49 severe thunderstorms and 90 natural disasters. NOAA’s analysis report confirms that the count of billion-dollar disasters has been on the rise in the past decade. The country needs more trained firefighters each year, and that’s why more applicants are preparing for the NYC Firefighter Exam in each hiring phase. Since the NYC Firefighter Department is receiving a flood of applications, the selection process has become even more stringent.
Even though applicants can prepare for the entry exam, it’s hard to predict what the interview phase will be like. The only resource prospective applicants have past experiences of professional firefighters who are not serving in the department.
This blog has compiled a guide for the candidates and details a comprehensive list of tips that will help them sail through the process.
What The Interview Wants To Know
Let’s begin with what you’re expected to say when you’re on a call or in the interview room. They want to understand what motivated you to apply for the job and realize what the job entails.
Apart from that, the interview will introspect into your personality. The interviewer wants to verify your performance with the qualities mentioned in the application. They want to assess your nature and see if it fits the job requirements.
A few qualities that stand out are confidence, decision-making power, clarity of speech, and managerial prowess. If you seem like you’re a natural for the job, they’ll hire you. But the trick is in selling your strongest points and being honest throughout. Putting up a façade seldom works. The interviewer can cross-question the fact that you’ve just made up, and if they discover that you were trying to cheat, you’ll instantly lose the chance. Be true to yourself, but market your strengths as invaluable skills crucial to the job.
Share Your Skills
If you filled your application carefully, you’d know how crucial it is to use firefighter/EMT-related keywords and highlight them. Your application, resume, cover letter, and references will speak about those specific skills. But during the interview, you’ll have to answer questions based on those skills. Your interviewer is looking for proof that you’ll provide with your answers and demeanor.
You should be able to speak about any professional experience that you have and is mentioned in your resume. If it’s related to this line of work, your interviewer may be interested in details about the nature of the work you did there. The more coherently you’re able to convince them that you learned from that experience, the higher the chances of winning them.
The interview might give you hypothetical scenarios and put you on the spot to inquire how you’d handle it. They’re looking for how well you can take ownership of crisis situations and delegate tasks to control the damage as quickly as possible. This requires you to have situational awareness of the kinds of disasters that firefighters have to deal with. You should have strong decision-making skills to devise an action plan in high-pressure situations and convincingly market those skills.
Practice and Preparation
Regardless of how perfect you are for the job, it’s your performance in the interview that can make or break your chances of success. The most qualified candidates can falter during the interrogation and give a lousy performance that doesn’t reflect them well. That’s why preparation is key.
Preparing beforehand allows you to train your mind for such situations. You can practice common responses in front of the mirror and see which manner of delivery looks most convincing. Consult our specialists who have been training candidates for the civil services exams for the past 40 years. They can mentor you to glide through the interview questions.
While you’re preparing, make sure to know your facts and gather your thoughts about each category of questions that can be asked. The interview questions are often divided into a competency-based section and personality-related questions. You might need to refresh your memory of past professional experiences mentioned on your resume for the former. Recall the workplace challenges that you faced at your previous organization and how you handled them. Your interview would like to get a feel of how you perform in professional settings, especially when there’s a problem.
The personality-related questions are usually less jarring and more comfortable to answer. There’s no right or wrong, and you know that you know yourself better than them. But be mindful that any information that you provide can be used for or against your case. Make sure you filter out unnecessary details and give only a factual and believable account of yourself.
The Star Technique
This is a useful technique that candidates often use when they’re asked situation-based questions. STAR stands for:
- S: Situation
- T: Task
- A: Action
- R: Result
You begin by describing the situation and the challenge (task) that is involved. Then you explain the action that you took and how it ended (result). A common question that interviewers ask is about when you had to make a tough decision in an emergency. Look at the sample below for inspiration:
- Here are some sample questions to help you get started on your preparation:
- Why do you want to work as a firefighter?
- I suppose you’ve read the job description. Which of the firefighting responsibilities do you think you can handle easily and which ones would be a challenge?
- Describe an instance when you’ve had to address a group or deliver a presentation. Have you delivered any fire safety sessions?
- What are the essential tools for preventing fire hazards in public buildings?
- How would you rate your mechanical expertise? Please quote examples of instances where you’ve used your knowledge to fix something mechanically.
- Have you ever worked as a volunteer firefighter? If so, how did the experience turn out for you? What did you learn?
- What do you believe are the most crucial qualities of a successful firefighter?
If you’re serious about applying for a firefighter job, don’t feel deterred by the bureaucratic impediments in the recruitment process.
We help applicants perform in such challenging situations with grace, as it is the beginning of their civil service work. We offer courses that help guide applicants through the requisites of the application process and succeed in their exams.
If you’re wondering about personal benefits that come with the job, civil servants in the NYC sanitation sector receive an annual pay starting with $47,371, and the Suffolk court officers get $54,131. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity; seize it!
We provide complete exam guidance, make up classes, and exam workshops to best prepare candidates for the exam. Our sessions start in June, so if you want to sign up for our classes, save the date.