Every year, thousands across the country apply to become a full time firefighter. What very few people on the outside know is that this is one of the most competitive jobs in the country in terms of applicants versus the number hired. Only a small handful pass all the recruitment stages and fulfill their dreams.
However, with the right preparation and guidance, you can dramatically increase your chances of standing out.
Here are 5 tips that you can leverage to improve your chances of passing the recruitment process.
Tip 1: Know the role you’re applying for
Understand the role of a firefighter in detail. It is not enough to simply know that a firefighter puts out fires and attends to other types of emergencies. You need to understand the role in detail and should be able to communicate that understanding to the recruitment and selection team. This could entail identifying the key requirements of firefighter, such as the education level needed to apply, first aid knowledge as well as knowing the training process if you progress to the next stage. For big cities in particular, advanced knowledge is needed not only on how to fight fires but also to rescue people from tall buildings.
Tip 2: Have local knowledge
Understand the fire service you are applying to. Read up on what is topical and important to it as well as in the current political environment. Each city’s fire service will operate a little differently, so having an understanding of how they operate and what makes them different will make you stand out as an applicant. For example, if you’re applying to be a firefighter in Queensland, it’s worth noting the recent comments of Zone Commander John Pappas. He said being a firefighter is “not just about physical fitness, we need someone who is of good mental health, is agile and is smart and understands it’s not just about, go towards the fire.”
Tip 3: Know Your strengths and showcase them
Like any job you apply for, it’s very important to understand your strengths, skills and attributes and be able to match them to those of a firefighter. A good starting point is to use the firefighter position description, the key selection criteria and the fire service website to get a head start on this. Some common areas you will need to demonstrate strength in are communication, inter-personal skills and the ability to work individually and within a team environment.
Tip 4: Develop a full knowledge of the recruitment process
Each fire service’s recruitment process involves a physical test, a written examination and multiple interviews. Understanding the recruitment process in depth allows you to prepare carefully for each stage and have the upper hand over the hundreds or thousands of applicants who do not understand it as well. An example of this could be knowing the types of questions you will be asked on the aptitude or cognitive tests by studying past questionnaires to prepare yourself. In this way, you can approach the test in a calm and confident manner to post your best score instead of practicing generic questions only to open the test and find out you have been studying the wrong content, causing you to stress out and ultimately fail.
Tip 5: Communicate with confidence
The more you understand the role of a firefighter and the fire service you are applying to, the easier it will be to communicate that you are the right candidate for the job. The recruiters are not trying to trick you; they want to see if you understand exactly what is required in order to identify whether or not you have prepared for the application process. If you are serious about getting a position as a firefighter, you need to do more than the person standing next to you if you want to come out on top. Remember, every interaction with the recruitment team is being assessed. Make sure you turn every interaction into a positive contribution to your bid to become a firefighter and not allow any interaction to detract from success.
Preparation is key. If you look at each of the five tips, you will notice that they can all be linked back to preparing yourself to prevail. The recruitment process was not designed to be impossible, but to identify the right person who is well prepared and has all the attributes needed to become a successful firefighter. Getting the right guidance means that you won’t waste years of your life due to a lack of preparation in the right direction.
Written By Brent Clayton, Founder and Managing Director of Fire Recruitment Australia.