Updated: Jun 15
6 Key Points to Answer the Interview Question: Why Do You Want to Be a Firefighter?
In a firefighter interview, one question that is almost certain to arise is, "Why do you want to be a firefighter?" This question is an opportunity for you to showcase your passion, motivation, and alignment with the fire service. To help you craft a compelling response, we have outlined six key points that you can include in your answer. By addressing these points, you can demonstrate your genuine commitment to becoming a firefighter and your understanding of the profound impact this role has on both individuals and communities. It is by no means an exhaustive list and we have tried to focus on the big talking points that really impact how well this answer is received by the hearer. If you would like to work on crafting a comprehensive a-z answer consider scheduling an interview coaching session with us.
1. Desire to Serve and Protect: Express your innate desire to serve and protect the community. Highlight your genuine compassion for others and the fulfillment you derive from making a positive difference in people's lives. Emphasize that becoming a firefighter allows you to contribute directly to the safety and well-being of your community during their most vulnerable moments. Many of us have had personal experience or contact with emergency services throughout our lives that led us to this decision to pursue public safety as a career. Incorporating these experiences into your answer is a great way to build rapport with your audience.
2. Admiration for the Firefighting Profession: Share your admiration for the firefighting profession itself. Discuss the bravery, dedication, and selflessness exhibited by firefighters in the face of danger. Mention how the noble actions of firefighters have inspired you and instilled a deep respect for their unwavering commitment to the greater good.
Many of us know people who are firefighters. I always joke that firefighting is the longest lasting cult in the world because 9 times out of 10 the reason someone ever considered the profession is because a firefighter they know told them about and essentially sold them on it. Mentioning firefighters you may know is a good way to show you have some understanding of the lifestyle, culture, and ups and downs of the job.
3. Thriving in Challenging Environments: Emphasize your ability to thrive and gain enjoyment in challenging and dynamic environments. Firefighting presents a unique set of physical, mental, and emotional challenges that you are prepared to face head-on. Acknowledge these demands of the job before you discuss your resilience, adaptability, and capacity to remain calm under pressure, highlighting how these qualities align with the demands of firefighting. (a great segway into these types of statements is "I'm the type of person that x. Or im the type of person that is able to x y z").
4. Teamwork and Collaboration: Illustrate your appreciation for teamwork and collaboration. Acknowledge that firefighting is a highly cooperative profession, requiring seamless coordination and communication within a team. Showcase your ability to work harmoniously with others, highlighting past experiences that demonstrate your teamwork skills. Emphasize that being part of a cohesive firefighting team is an essential aspect of why you are drawn to this profession. Expressing a love of team environment goes a long way to building trust with the panel of interviewers.
5. Continuous Learning and Personal Growth: Highlight your enthusiasm for continuous learning and personal growth. Emphasize that firefighting is a dynamic field where ongoing training and education are crucial for professional development. As no two emergencies are the same a successful firefighter needs to be able to adapt learn and grow with the industry, learn to be adept at many skills, and have the comprehension to specialize in specific rescue skills or crafts (this would be the time to mention the specific ones this dept has in their agency, heavy rescue, hazmat, high angle etc).
Express your eagerness to constantly update your knowledge and skills, ensuring you stay at the forefront of firefighting techniques and practices. Again stating that you are "the kind of person that really enjoys being a lifelong learner".
6. Dedication to a Lifelong Career: Demonstrate your long-term commitment to a career as a firefighter. Explain that you are not merely seeking a job, but rather a vocation that you can dedicate yourself to for the long haul. Discuss your long-term goals within the firefighting profession, such as advancing through the ranks, taking on leadership roles, or pursuing specialized areas of expertise.
In conclusion crafting a compelling answer to the interview question, "Why do you want to be a firefighter?" is crucial to demonstrating your genuine passion and suitability for the role. although this question is often not scored it is weighed heavily when scoring each additional answer. This question is often the first question asked by any interview panel and so in a way sets the tone for the rest of the interview.
By addressing the key points outlined in this article, you can articulate your desire to serve, your admiration for the profession, your ability to thrive in challenging environments, your appreciation for teamwork, your commitment to continuous learning, and your dedication to a lifelong career as a firefighter. Remember to tailor your response to reflect your own experiences and motivations, and let your genuine enthusiasm shine through. As always good luck out there!