Application, Testing and Interview Advice for Fire Control Operators

In this blog, we will share invaluable tips and advice for those applying to become Fire Control Operators provided by former Kent Fire and Rescue Service Fire Officer and recruitment expert, Richard McMunn.

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Fire Control Operator: Application:

The application process has become more in depth over recent years and HR departments seem to favour the Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQA’s) approach.

Within the application they will ask for examples on how you would cover each of the PQA’s.

For example:

“Describe how you are a team player and give an example of an occasion where you have had to demonstrate this skill.”

The best way to complete this is by describing an event that has involved you within that role. Write it as though the person you are informing has no idea on the subject, and by reading it would understand the process you are explaining. Writing in a ‘diary’ context can also help – as in a ‘step-by-step’ direction. The more content you can put in the better, although try not to ‘waffle’ too much with information that is not relevant.

Applications with minimal input will be disregarded.  Make sure you do some homework – go on the website and find out as much information about the organisation as you can. This will give you some understanding of the day to day running and expectations of the company.

Fire Control Operator: Testing:

Audio Typing: This consists of listening to passages read out by an individual or from a sound recording played aloud in the room. The aim of this test is to assess typing speed, spelling and accuracy. It also measures your listening skills and your interpretation of what is being said. The content you provide will be examined. Try to finish the passage where you can but if this is not possible try to make what you have done as accurate and error-free as possible.

Word Comprehension: This is the ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning. It is tested by reading a through a passage and then being asked for a choice of the correct spelling and meaning of a given word.

For example: The man’s presence. 

Could also be written: The man’s presents. 

Both sound the same but the written context is totally different.

Presence = the fact or condition of being present within your immediate surroundings or vicinity.

Presents = gifts that are given to someone.

Number Recall: This again is either verbally given from a representative or a recording played in the room. A sequence of numbers is given – initially a low set of numbers, i.e. ‘2928’. Then, as the test progresses, the length of sequence will increase i.e. ‘29286473’, and so on. These are written down on your test paper. This test is also used to assess listening, accuracy and memory skills.

Check out our other blog for even more in depth information on the Fire Control Operator FCOP Number Recall Test.

Fire Control Operator: Interview:

If you are accepted for interview following the tests, then you will be given a date and time. Arrive at least ten minutes prior to this time. This will show you are prompt and good at time keeping – an essential for an operator.

Make sure you present your self in a smart manner. A uniform is provided at the beginning of your role as an operator which is always to be worn to an exact standard.

The interviews are held in front of a panel. This will usually consist of the officer in charge of the control room, a HR Representative, the training officer and at least one other watch manager. They will have a list of PQA’s. They will ask you to give examples of how you have used these skills and will also ask why you think you would be suitable for this type of role. They could also potentially give you a scenario and then ask how you would deal with it.

You can ask for the questions to be repeated whilst you think on how you can answer them. Even ask if they can give you a few seconds to think on how to give your best answer. As we recommended before, explain your reply in a step-by-step way explaining carefully how your previous experiences have helped you develop these skills. 

Remember that a great deal of the work within a control is data protected so expect to be asked a question regarding this.

Once the interview is completed, and if you are successful, you will then proceed to the medical stage. A date and time will be given for this and attend, as before, promptly and smartly dressed.

We wish you the best of luck!