Becoming a professional firefighter is one of the most difficult career ambitions in the country. On average there are over 100 people who apply for each position. While the numbers seem staggering, there are many aspiring firefighters who receive multiple job offers. While some may attribute getting hired to good fortune, in reality it takes passion, commitment, dedication and determination to earn the badge of a firefighter.
Currently, I am a shift Division Chief for a Fire Department in Southern California where I am assigned to manage the Special Services Division. In addition to managing the emergency responses for the city my responsibilities include managing the EMS Division, emergency Operations Center and the CERT program.
With 28 years of experience in the fire service proctoring oral interviews and promotional examinations I decided to write several books for those aspiring firefighters. I have conducted numerous seminars at national conventions to teach and mentor both promotional and entry-level candidates alike. My objective in writing these books is to help the aspiring firefighter set a clearly defined goal, laying out the steps to reach it and diligently working to become the ideal candidate and ultimately a professional firefighter.
Gaining insight into the hiring process and seeing yourself through the eyes of an interviewer is a considerable advantage for an aspiring firefighter. If you don’t know what they are looking for, how can you present yourself as the one they want to hire? The one they want to welcome into their firefighter family.
I believe in teaching candidates the reasoning and thought processes behind the interview questions, rather than teaching them “the correct answer.” Every candidate is different and will need to apply these concepts to develop his or her own answers. This way the responses are personal, sincere, and come from the heart.
With so many available candidates, fire departments can pick from the cream of the crop. They will choose those candidates who are obviously committed to pursuing their dream, because they don’t want to waste their time training people who aren’t as passionate about their job as they are.