firefighter paramedic interview questions shared by candidates
"There are many risks involved with the fire service, entrapment, suffocation, severe burns, even exposure to communicable diseases that may affect your family. Tell us why you are willing to risk your life and the lives of your loved ones to assist people you have never met before."
-I'm aware of and understand the risks, but I know that through training and following proper protocols (such as wearing appropriate safety gear and PPE) that the risk level can be reduced to a reasonable level. I'm willing to take that reasonable risk because it is a small fraction of a percent of the population that enters this line of work. If people like me don't step up, who will?
1. Why do you want to work in this industry? Bad answer: "I like firefighting. I think it's really cool." Don't just say you like it, anyone can make that claim. Focus instead on your history with the industry, and if you can, tell a story about it. Good answer: "I have always appreciated and admired those who put their lives on the line to protect our communities. My interest piqued in firefighting after I witnessed a post-crash rescue. I heard the calling as I watched the first response team pull civilians to safety. It was then I knew that this is what I was meant to do." 2. Tell us about yourself. Bad answer: "I graduated four years ago from the University of Michigan, with a Bachelor's degree in Biology – but I decided that wasn't the right path for me. I switched gears and got my first job working in a fire department. Then I went on to work in another department and started participating in training courses. After that, I took a few months off to travel. Finally, I came back to start working again. And now, here I am, looking for a more challenging fire and rescue role." Instead of giving a chronological work history, focus on your strengths and how they pertain to the role. If possible, illustrate with examples. Good answer: "I'm a very energetic and well-rounded person who can follow instructions. I am a good communicator and quite a team player. At the last department I was with I initiated medic classes for the firefighters who were interested in learning first-aid techniques. Because it was such a success, the entire department is in the process of getting certifications for all members in different areas of response medical aid." 3. What do you think of your previous boss? Bad answer: "He was completely incompetent, and a nightmare to work with, which is why I've moved on." Remember: if you get the job, the person interviewing you will some day be your previous boss. The last thing they want is to hire someone who they know is going to badmouth them some day. Instead of trashing your former employer, stay positive, and focus on what you learned from them (no matter how awful they might have been). Good answer: "My last boss taught me the importance of time management – he didn't pull any punches, and was extremely driven. His no-nonsense attitude pushed me to work harder, and to meet goals I never even thought were possible."