When calling at the darkest hour or during an emergency, the first to approach for help is a 911 dispatcher.
911 dispatchers are the first responder to the emergency. They listen to the problem and help people through life-threatening and difficult situations.
A dispatcher answers a call, listens to the caller, communicates with law enforcement, and coordinates with other dispatchers. And with emergencies occurring at any time, dispatchers need to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This makes the life of a 911 dispatcher extremely tedious and challenging.
If you have applied for the position of 911 Dispatcher and are just a step away from entering the job position. Congrats. But wait, Have you prepared for the interview session?
Before sitting on the interview chair, prepare for the common questions so you can excel smoothly and efficiently.
In a dispatcher interview, you’ll need to prove you’ve got specific skills. Those may cover patient care, crisis management, patient education, and more.
To probe your dispatcher superpowers, interviewers will ask behavioral interview questions. These are scenario questions or “situational questions.” See our guide to getting ready
1. What Fascinates You About Working As A 911 Dispatcher?
I am willing to work as a 911 dispatcher because of the compassionate nature of this profession. I find myself a people person. When I read about the duties and work description of a 911 dispatcher, I immediately got inspired by the positive role these individuals can have.
Since then, I have found the urge to enter this career. Also, I am good at multitasking and have skills like collaborating with coworkers, communicating with the public, and completing clerical work. I am excited to enter a career as a 911 dispatcher and help individuals in crises.
2. Why Should We Hire You?
I have the right skills and experience to qualify for the 911 dispatcher role. I have spent 5 years as a call operator and have gained an in-depth knowledge of customer service, communication and problem-solving. I have learned how to manage multiple and complex tasks with patience and am well-trained at toggling between tasks.
3. What Experience Do You Have To Help You Excel In The Role Of A 911 Dispatcher?
I am certified in AED and CPR and have previously worked as an EMT. I am empathetic, a good listener, an effective communicator, and patient, and I can work under pressure.
Moreover, I also have experience working in a call center. During this time, I gained a lot of skills in using switchboard technology, handling multiple calls, addressing callers’ needs, recording calls, and transferring a call. I believe I will prove to be an asset to this company if given a chance.
4. What Do You Think Are The Roles Of A Dispatcher?
A 911 dispatcher is responsible for taking emergency and non-emergency calls to provide information or help. He maintains call logs, records call information, coordinate strategies, prioritizes calls, addresses customers’ needs, provides instructions, and dispatches orders to emergency personnel.
I understand this position is highly competitive and challenging, but I believe in my ability to meet these targets.
5. What Unique Experience Or Qualifications Make You Stand Out From Other Candidates?
My prior experience in a call center has provided me with exceptional communication and technical skills that I can apply to this role. Working as a customer call representative has allowed me to know the tips and techniques of customer handling and project management. This experience gives me a competitive edge over other applicants.
6. How Do You Handle Multiple Tasks? Are You Able To Work Under Pressure?
I am good at multiple-tasking and can successfully handle emergencies at a time. I use my organizational strategy when taking multiple calls to handle a situation. In my previous job as a 911 dispatcher, I had to receive unlimited calls and maintain 5 screens at a time. I take pride in effectively managing various projects simultaneously.
7. What Do You Consider Is The Toughest Aspect Of The Job?
The toughest aspect of the job is being unaware of the situation happening with the patient. A 911 dispatcher works in an extremely stressful environment and constantly has to be on high alert. A 911 dispatcher cannot see or feel the patient; instead, they only hear about what has been communicated on the phone. They only rely on the caller’s information to provide quick help. Evaluating the patient in a stressful environment is one of the toughest tasks.
During the call, 911 dispatchers have to instruct blindly using the information they hear on the phone to make split-seconjudgmentsnt. 911 dispatchers have to calm their nerves and remain compassionate without being able to look into the caller’s eye or in-person smile.
8. Why Makes You Interested In The 911 Dispatcher Job?
I want to be a 911 dispatcher because I want to help the community and am willing to support emergencies. I possess excellent technical skills, and my urge to do meaningful work drives me to work in this profession.
I have previously worked at call centers, so I know how to handle calls and respond to customers. Also, the dispatcher career is fast-paced and challenging. You need to take multiple calls, respond to emergencies and address the needs of the customer. Since I am emphatic, have great communication skills, and have multitasking ability, I am confident that I can perform this job effectively.
9. How Would You Help A Caller Who Is Shouting And Panicking On The Phone?
To address such callers, I would take the help of cognitive restructuring. I would empathize with them and calm them down. I would ask them to provide details of their emergency so I could take appropriate action. After knowing the situation, I would dispatch the right emergency personnel and give details to the caller so they could know what to expect upon arrival. During the call, I would make sure to make her feel safe until help could arrive.
10. In Your Opinion, What Are The Essential Attributes Of A Good 911 Dispatcher?
A good dispatcher is proficient in handling emergency and non-emergency calls. He must be willing and able to respond to callers for their wide range of needs. He must be polite and sympathetic and stay calm while getting all the information from the caller.
He must know how to handle computer-aided dispatch systems and must be able to think and respond quickly with little supervision. Besides these basic duties, a good dispatcher effectively communicates, organizes their time, actively listens, and take good decisions.
11. Are You Aware Of The 911 Protocols And Procedures?
Yes, I am well aware of 911 protocols and procedures. I worked as a dispatcher for five years, and during that time, I gained extensive experience handling emergency response systems. I understand the importance of following protocol and ensuring accuracy when responding to 911 calls. I am also well-versed in computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software, which is essential for efficient dispatching.
12. What Is Your Strength?
My strengths are working under pressure and handling multiple tasks effectively. I am adaptable and detail-oriented and have a good command of managing the most stressful situations. I am comfortable with quick decision-making, communication, and complaint handling. I know how to prioritize calls based on their importance and can effectively differentiate between emergency and non-emergency calls.
Previously, while serving my duty at a call center, I gained extensive experience managing multiple tasks simultaneously while ensuring accuracy and efficiency. I have a good record of emergency management customer service at various institutions.
I take pride in being able to remain focused and provide clear instructions to callers in order to ensure their safety.
13. What Are The Challenges You Face In This Field? And How Would You Handle Them?
911 dispatcher, there are many challenges that come along with this profession. This includes system overload that creates lengthy hold time, abandoned calls, service outages, and ghost calls through malware or software glitches.
One of the greatest challenges for a 911 dispatcher is taking responsibility for having someone’s life in their hands and facing the rapid pace of the job. The job hours are long, and overtime is mandatory. Also, a 911 dispatcher must be ready to work during holidays and emergencies.
In addition, with hundreds of calls daily, 911 dispatchers often need to deal with difficult customers. It becomes important to stay calm and professional while providing the information and help they need.
14. What Kind Of Information Would You Gather From An Emergency Caller Before Sending The Team For Help?
In an emergency, I would ask the caller questions to solicit information needed to send the appropriate response team. This question would include the nature of the emergency, asking questions to determine the severity of the situation- whether the incident is due to a vehicle collision, fire, medical, hazardous material spill, or any other emergency. Then, I would inquire about the details of the location, the number of people affected, and their conditions. Lastly, I would give them a callback number to stay in touch.
15. Tell Me About A Stressful Situation When You Stayed Calm And Acted Professionally.
Being a 911 dispatcher, there has been a lot of times when I had to respond to stressful situations. With experience, I have gained confidence and developed the ability to combat difficult situations.
Once I received a serious call from a reporter mentioning a severe car accident in a locality with several injured individuals. It was a chaotic scene; all I could hear was screaming and shouting.
During the call, I responded calmly, quickly collected all the necessary information, and transferred the details to the appropriate personnel while reassuring the caller. This helped us to reach the site and provide medical assistance to the affected. My ability to work under pressure made a huge impact, and I felt proud of my skills.
16. What Would You Do To Burn Out Your Stress In Times Of Extreme Difficulty?
If I identify that I am overly stressed, I will take all the preventive steps to keep myself mentally strong and healthy. It includes practicing self-care-exercising, yoga, meditation, healthy eating, and relaxation.
I understand that the 911 dispatcher job is extremely intense and stressful. You need to answer the most panic caller at any moment, and your actions can determine someone’s life; therefore, you must be extra vigilant, proactive, and mindful at every call.
17. What Is Your Process Of Prioritizing Calls And Other Important Tasks In The Workplace?
With an influx of calls every day, we prioritize the calls based on their severity and importance. Anything that is life-threatening takes the top priority. If an incident needs quick protocol, we make sure to pay attention to that caller first. Using our instinct and organizational skills helps us tackle the situation more effectively.
18. Describe A Time When You Have Taken The Most Difficult Decision.
Once I had a call from a customer suffering from cardiac arrest. The caller could not communicate the situation over the phone but needed urgent help. It was a complicated situation because there was no clear information communicated. At that time, gathering information and taking actionable steps was difficult.
I immediately took notes of the possible clues. Because the call was coming from a landline, I traced the address and dispatched the emergency team to the exact location.
The decision proved right because the patient was in severe condition but received timely medical care. My ability to assess the situation helped me greatly in protecting the lives of others.
19. What Do You Consider Are The Key Requirements Of This Job?
Emotional self-control and adaptability are key requirements of the job. Every time you need to address the caller’s needs with different situations. You must be adaptable to deal with various situations compassionately and willingly. Being professional is vital to making life-altering decisions.
20. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Do You Think To Apply To The Role Of 911 Dispatcher?
To excel in this role, a dispatcher must know how to multitask in stressful conditions without waiting to be supervised by anyone. They must always demonstrate strong communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills. It is important to understand that this is a challenging and fast-paced work environment, and dispatchers should be ready for the challenges.”
21. What Is Your Ideal Working Environment?
My ideal working environment is one where teamwork is appreciated, talents are used, and challenging tasks are carried out. I thrive in a more dynamic work environment like this, where every situation is unique, and the call taker has to take quick decisions.
22. What Career Aspirations Do You Have?
As a 911 dispatcher, I look forward to developing, enhancing, and using my communication. Problem-solving and crisis management skills in this job. I am excited to gain as much experience as I can over the next years to eventually grow into a position that will allow me to continue to use these skills. I want to achieve these goals by working on different tasks and projects. To be able to manage a team effectively and take on small leadership roles, eventually working my way up.
23. Share Your Greatest Accomplishment As A 911 Dispatcher.
One of my greatest accomplishments was when I was able to provide help without getting the required information. Using my instinct and problem-handling strategy, I successfully identified and released the medical team to the spot.
One day, I had a caller who informed me that his wife was terribly injured in a car accident, and without being able to know any other details, the phone disconnected. I immediately track their locations, notify the nearby hospital and dispatch the team. The situation was very intense and nerve-wracking, but my timely and accurate decision safe her life.
24. Do You Have Experience Using Call Recording Software?
Yes, I have extensive experience using call recording software. In my last job as a 911 dispatcher, I used different software to record all incoming and outgoing calls for the purpose of quality assurance. Call recording is very helpful for dispute resolution and in tracking call conversions.
I am well familiar with using different software, such as Call cap, Air call, and Cube ACR. I’m confident that I can learn to use your company’s software and become an expert.
25. Tell Us About A Time When You Deliver Excellent Customer Service.
There were many times when I went beyond delivering quality customer service. Once I received a call from a woman, who had been accused of domestic violence. Her voice was shaking and asking for help. I immediately sent the emergency team to the spot and saved her.
I take pride in providing accurate and timely service to those in need, and I am dedicated to upholding the highest professionalism and customer service.
As a 911 dispatcher, the job demands handling high-stress emergencies. Interviewers are looking for candidates with strong communication skills that can calm callers and gather the necessary information to relay to emergency responders. You can also expect several situational scenarios assessing your ability to multitask under pressure and handle frightened, anxious, or angry callers.
You will likely be asked several general questions to start the dialogue or after the meeting. It’s common for interviewers to ask why they should hire you at some point, so be ready with specific details and examples that highlight your desirable qualities. Most of the interviews, however, will center on inquiries specific to the industry, allowing you to share stories and examples from your past employment. Begin preparing with this common interview questions and sample answers.