Why Do You Want to Be a Firefighter Interview Question

firefighter interview


At How2Become, if we had a pound every time somebody asked us how should I answer the WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A FIREFIGHTER interview question, we’d be extremely wealthy by now!

This is an almost guaranteed question during the tough firefighter interview, and in this article, former firefighter of 17 years, Richard McMunn, will give you a great answer you can use during your preparation. So, without further ado, we’ll hand you over to the highly-experienced Richard McMunn.

Before we get into a sample answers for the WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A FIREFIGHTER interview question, let me give you a few pointers to help you along the way:

FIREFIGHTER INTERVIEW TIP 1 – It’s not about the fires!

Most people will say during the interview, something like the following when responding to this question:

“Ever since I was a child I have always wanted to put out fires. I used to see the fire engines screaming along the road with their sirens blazing and I thought this was a fairly cool job to do, so here I am today applying for the job of my dreams.”

This is a poor answer that will gain few marks!

The reason why it is a poor answer is because it provides the interview panel with absolutely no substance or evidence as to why you would be a good firefighter. If I were sat on the firefighter interview panel and you responded with the above answer, you’d get zero marks!

FIREFIGHTER INTERVIEW TIP 2 – Use the PQAs in your response

The firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes form the blueprint for the role of a firefighter in today’s modern society. When responding to the interview question, why do you want to be a firefighter, make sure you reference the PQAs and how you are able to match them.

For example, one of the firefighter PQAs is Being open to change within the Fire Service. Therefore, when responding to this interview question, you could say:

“In previous jobs I have undertaken, I found that I performed to the best of my abilities when the job role continually changed, or when I was required to adapt and improve my skills. Having read the firefighter personal qualities and attributes, I noticed that one of the PQAs is Being open to change within the Fire Service. I feel that, based on my experiences to date, I would very much be suited to a role whereby you are required to be open to, and supportive of, change.

FIREFIGHTER INTERVIEW TIP 3 – Give evidence wherever possible

Anybody can say at an interview: “I would make a great firefighter!”, but not everybody can back that claim up with evidence. When answering the interview question WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A FIREFIGHTER, it is paramount you tell the interview panel the reasons why you want to be a firefighter and then back up those reasons with EVIDENCE.

Let’s now look at a sample answer for the firefighter interview question WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A FIREFIGHTER?


“For the last few years I have been preparing for the role of a firefighter. I understand that you must get many people apply for the job, but I would imagine not everybody has the skills, qualities or experience to be successful. On that basis, before applying to become a firefighter, I wanted to make sure I understood the role properly and, more importantly, that I had the qualities and attributes to perform the role to the highest possible standard.

During my research, I established that the role involves many different aspects in addition to responding to incidents. Whilst there is the reactive side to the Fire Service, there is also the proactive side whereby education and safety play a very important role. Having studied the personal qualities and attributes in detail, I feel the skillset and experiences I have now gained in life would allow me to perform the job to a high standard.

Over the years, I have had several jobs that have given me numerous life skills, experiences and qualities that I believe would stand me in good stead to become a competent firefighter. In my previous role as a admin assistant I was the first point of contact for all customers, both face-to-face and over the telephone. Essentially, I was a role model for the company and I took that responsibility seriously. I got to meet many different people from all walks of society and I had a strong ability to respond to their needs and provide them with an exceptional level of service.

Also, in my current job I am required to adapt and change continuously. Part of my job is to study and disseminate the new company policies that come into force on a quarterly basis. It is my job to read these new policies, understand them and then explain them to the rest of the team so they can implement them into their day to day roles. This requires a strong level of confidence, especially when dealing with some members of the team who might not be that supportive of change, and having excellent communication skills. Often, I am required to explain the changes to the team in several different ways that allow me to get my message across in a positive manner.

So, in a nutshell, I want to be a firefighter because I feel I have the necessary skills, experience and attributes to perform the role to a very high standard. I enjoy working with people; I enjoy working with society and I also enjoy working in jobs that allow me to make a positive impact whilst working as part of a highly committed and dedicated team. Having studied the role in detail, and the role the Fire Service plays in the community, I very much feel I can make a positive and lasting contribution to the organisation.”

If you would like to find out more about how I can help you to pass the firefighter interview, including getting hold of more sample interview questions and answers, take a look at this firefighter interview guide.

How to Pass the Firefighter Interview

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