A fire chief runs a firefighting organization. He/ she is charged with supervising and recruiting other officers and firefighters. The following 20 questions will help you out if you are preparing for a fire chief interview.
1. Tell Us About Yourself
This is one of the first questions that are asked in an interview.
Tip #1: Be brief. You do not have to go into all the details.
Tip #2: Focus on your strengths instead of your work and life history
I am a passionate and well-rounded person who is good at taking orders. I am an excellent communicator and team player.
2. Why Did You Apply For This Position?
We all have reasons why we want certain jobs. The interviewer is simply trying to gauge whether your reason should warrant you the position or not.
Tip #1: Give a valid reason.
Tip#2: Try as much as possible not to sound materialistic in your answer
I have worked as a firefighter for the better part of my adult life. I am passionate about saving lives and making the world a better place. I have also held managerial positions in major departments, and therefore, I believe that I can help this department achieve even better results.
3. What Are The Roles Of A Fire Chief?
Do you understand some of the roles of a fire chief? The interviewer wants to know if you are fully aware of what some of your roles will be if you land the job.
Tip #1: This is a simple question. Be precise and straight to the point.
Tip #2: Make sure that you capture the major roles
The fire chief is in charge of managing the firefighting department. He/ she supervises other officers and firefighters in emergency scenes and recruit others for different duties.
4. What Are The Qualities Of A Fire Chief?
This is an example of a basic question that you should expect. Do you understand what makes a good fire chief? That is the answer that your interviewer is looking for.
Tip #1: Mention inherent qualities
Tip #2: Expound more on your answer
Given that this is a managerial position, a good fire chief should have excellent leadership and communication skills. He/ she should always be prepared and ready, owing to the nature of emergencies that the fire department deals with.
5. What Major Challenge Did You Face In Your Last Role? How Did You Handle It?
The interviewer wants to know if you are good enough when it comes to managing situations.
Tip #1: Talk about a valid experience.
Tip #2: The main answer lies in how you handled the situation. Ensure that you mention this.
When I was transferred to my former department, I had problems communicating with the firefighters. However, I decided to call a meeting, which I indicated that nobody should miss and then issued a stern warning and reminded the fighters what our duties were in the first place. I never had an issue with them ever again.
6. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Fire Chief
How does your job look like? What happens during your day? The interview would like to know if you understand what happens around the department.
My day begins at 8. I supervise and ensure that the trucks and the personal protective gear are ready in case of an emergency. I then train or supervise the training division as they keep the firefighters up to date with new methods and skills. I then work out with or ensure that the firefighters work out for at least an hour, supervise the testing of equipment and then go through documents.
7. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
This is self-explanatory.
Tip #1: Talk about major things
Tip #2: Sell yourself
I began my career as a junior firefighter at (mention the place of work). I mainly responded to nearby emergencies that were less fatal. I then rose in ranks to become a senior firefighter before ascending to a leadership position. I have vast experience in handling all types of emergencies thanks to the years I have served with (mention the department or place of work).
8. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
Firefighting is all about saving lives. Therefore, if you are to be the fire chief, you should have clear strategies and the right mindset.
Tip #1: Mention a mindset that is essential to the job at hand.
Tip #2: You should have a strategy that is proven.
Putting out fires and helping in emergencies requires the work of a team. Therefore, a fire chief should heavily invest in teamwork and ensure that everybody feels appreciated to deliver. He/ she should be result-oriented and should channel all his energy into ensuring that the team delivers.
9. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
There has to be a given challenge in any work or role. The interviewer is simply trying to establish whether you are visionary or not.
Tip #1: Think it through
Tip #2: If it is something touching on the former operation of the company, make sure that you begin by applauding them.
Given that all the firefighters in this department come from this area while I am from a different region, it may be quite challenging to connect with them faster at a personal level. However, I blend in fast, and I believe that time will take care of this.
10. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
Most employers ask this question to test your personality. Therefore, think through this.
Tip #1: Do not mention material benefits.
Tip #2: Talk about something that comes from deep within.
My love for humanity is what drives me to do my job daily. I believe that doing my job well saves lives, and therefore, every time I come to work, I am always more than eager to deliver.
11. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned
This is not a trap. The interviewer wants to know some of the lessons that you have learnt in the course of your career.
Tip #1: Do not throw yourself under the bus.
Tip #2: Clearly outline the lesson that you learnt.
During the onset of my career, my boss did not give me clear instructions, and I could not reach him in time. I was, therefore, conflicted on whether to wait on him to clarify or try to decipher what he meant. I settled on the former and ended up making a mistake. I always learnt to try as much as possible to find clarifications before acting out.
12. What Do You Think Of Your Previous Boss?
This is a cunning question. The answer you give will show who you are as an employer and you might lose the chance.
Tip#1: Do not talk badly about your boss
Tip #2: Focus on something that you learnt from him/ her
My previous boss was an excellent time manager. He was passionate and result-oriented. However, he did not tolerate any nonsense, which kept me at my feet all the time. Through him, I got to achieve beyond my expectations.
13. Why Are You Leaving Your Job?
The interviewer would like to know why you are leaving your previous role. Just like the previous question, you have to choose your answer carefully.
Tip #1: Do not badmouth your boss or former working place. Nobody wants such an employee.
Tip #2: Your answer should come out naturally.
My current role has taught me a lot of things, and to be honest, I have really had a successful time. However, I want to push myself further, and therefore, I am looking for a new challenge that can help me acquire more skill sets.
14. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?
This is a common question that most interviewees answer wrongly. The interviewer has no interest in your life. He/ she only wants to know whether you have goals and if you are future-oriented.
Tip #1: Your answer should be tailored to the job.
Tip #2: Do not talk about materialistic goals.
In five years, I’d like to be one of the best fire chiefs in the country. I want my department to top the lists and my workmates to be known and be awarded for the good work. I’d also want to be done with further schooling on safety.
15. Do You Have A Weakness? What Can You Say Is Your Greatest Weakness?
We all have weaknesses, and therefore, do not avoid answering this question.
Tip #1: Do not give a cliché answer.
Tip #2: Give a real example of a weakness.
Generally, I am not the best public speaker, which can hinder me at times. However, I took it upon myself to enroll in a speech workshop and managed to improve. I have given lots of presentations over time. Well, I wouldn’t say that I love public speeches, but at least I can deliver one without anybody noticing.
16. Why Should We Hire You?
The interviewer would like to know why you think that you are the most qualified candidate among the several applicants. He/ she is giving you a chance to market yourself.
Tip #1: Do not say that you are the best candidate for the role
Tip #2: Sell yourself
I have been in this field for the last ten years. My efforts have been recognized day in, day out during my former role. I have also gone through all the training and drills required for this role. I am also responsible and a good leader.
17. When Were You Most Satisfied As A Firefighter?
The interview wants to have an idea of how you gauge success. It would help if you thought through before answering.
Tip #1: Do not come off as selfish.
Tip #2: Make sure that your answer is not materialistic
I love helping people and generally being around kids. I was most satisfied when I saved the lives of 12 school kids who were trapped in a building. All of them came out safe, and every time I look back at that, I grin. It was a humbling and heavily satisfying experience.
18. What Didn’t You Like About Your Previous Job?
You should always be careful when answering questions about your previous jobs. Interviewers are usually very keen on answers emanating from such.
Tip #1: Do not touch on the politics, culture or the financial health of your former employer.
Tip #2: Do not come off as negative.
I wouldn’t say that there was something about my former job that I hated, but some things were less likeable than others. While I love team working, I believe that people should be paired based on similarities and abilities and not randomly.
19. Tell Us About This Gap In Your Employment
This is a question that you should expect. Before calling you for an interview, the employer will have taken a closer look at your CV.
Tip #1: make sure that you do not come out as lazy
Tip #2: make it look like a choice and make sure that it was made for the right reasons.
I always take my work very seriously and do not take any old job. Therefore, I often take my time and select new roles, ensuring that I settle on the right one.
20. How Would Your Former Boss Describe You?
The employer is assessing your personality traits. We all have to want an idea about somebody before getting involved with him/her.
Tip #1: Outline traits that are relevant to the job
Tip #2: Do not oversell yourself.
My boss would probably say that I am a hard worker, owing to the work I put in my role that earned me several recognitions. She even encouraged me and asked recruits to be like me. Even the top management knew out me.
You need to adequately prepare for a fire chief interview. I hope that these 20 questions will help you ace your scheduled interview. All the best!