UK Firefighter Online Interview
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, many businesses and organisations adapted by means of remote/virtual working. This has proven to be beneficial in many ways, especially with regards to recruitment, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you find that your interview is being held virtually rather than in-person.
Each fire and rescue service in the UK may modify the selection process for new recruits in the way that works best for them but one thing that will not differ is the purpose of the interview. The interview is designed to assess your knowledge of a firefighter’s role and, in particular, how you can meet the personal qualities and attributes that are relevant to the role. The majority of questions are usually based around the personal qualities and attributes (PQAs), but you should also prepare for more generic types of interview questions that could cover your background and motivation for becoming a firefighter.
TOP TIP: Read and understand the Firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes before you attend the interview and be ready to provide specific examples of where your skills meet each one.
How long will the interview last?
The interview should last no longer than 1 hour. Usually between 45 and 50 minutes is typical but this will depend on the length of your responses.
What should I wear for the interview?
You will not normally be assessed on your dress but it is strongly advised that you wear a formal outfit.
Here are some tips if your interview is being held virtually:
- Avoid wearing a lot of white – on camera white clothes can appear extremely bright and overpowering
- Avoid wearing a lot of black – this can cause you to look ‘washed out’ on camera
- Avoid excessive jewellery – just as white clothes can appear bright, jewellery can catch in the light and be distracting for the interviewer.
- Avoid contrasting colours, bright colours or clothes with busy pattern as these do not always portray as flattering on camera as they do in person.
- Equally, horizontal stripes can be unflattering on camera.
- Ties should be one solid colour so as to not be distracting.
- Deep blue or green and grey colours translate well on camera and often look smart and professional.
What is the purpose of the interview?
The main purpose of the interview is to talk about you and your interest in becoming a firefighter, and then to look at some areas of your experience in more detail. All candidates will be asked the same questions so that the process is fair.
How many people will be on the panel?
This depends on the service you are applying to join. There could be 2, 3 or even 4 people on the panel. They could be a mix of uniformed personnel and non-uniformed personnel. There may be someone on the panel from the Human Resources department to ensure the interview is fair and consistent.
How will I be assessed?
You will primarily be assessed against the PQAs that are relevant to the role of a firefighter. The key assessment areas are as follows:
- Commitment to excellence;
- Commitment to development;
- Commitment to diversity and integrity (this area carries the most importance);
- Communicating effectively.
You could be asked a questions such as:
Describe a time when you have helped to support diversity in a team, school, college or organisation.
Your answer to a question like this will tell the assessors a lot about you in relation to diversity and integrity. Your answer should cover the following:
- What was the situation and how did it arise?
- What were the diversity issues?
- What steps did you take to support others from diverse backgrounds?
- What specifically did you say or do?
- What was the outcome?
WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
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- The type of questions you will get asked during the interview and how to answer them;
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- Loads of sample questions and tips like this on how to respond;
- How to match the PQA criteria;
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- What the interview panel assessors want to see and hear from you;
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Let us know if you have any questions about the firefighter online interview by leaving a comment below!
Don’t forget to also check out our YouTube channel with videos covering all aspects of how the UK firefighter selection process.