“What is a good firefighter interview closing statement, and should I use one during my interview?” It’s a question I’ve received countless times, and it’s a great question.
In short, yes, you should absolutely have a closing statement prepared. It needs to be short, concise and to the point. Whether or not you end up using it depends on how well you thought the interview went.
If you’ve read much here on FirefighterNOW, you know the importance that is placed on the firefighter interview. That being said, it is of utmost importance that you end your interview properly; a calm, confident manner that relays your interest in desire to be hired with that particular department.
This begs the question, ‘what is the best way to end my interview?’
Here’s a few ideas to keep in mind when crafting your firefighter interview closing statement. Most of the time it’s a good idea to have prepared a set of closing statements and questions for the interview panel.
Some old school officers will tell you that you are only to speak unless spoken to and would advise against you giving a closing statement.
We’re of the mind that that line of thinking is wrong. I can’t believe that a prepared sentence or two of genuine gratitude would be off putting in any way, and if it is you may want to reconsider the department you are interviewing with.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the panel isn’t looking for a long drawn out monologue. They’ve spent the last 20-30 minutes getting to know you. If you’re going to use a closing statement, try something like this:
“Thank you all for your time, I’m grateful for having the opportunity to interview with all of you today. I look forward to hearing from you.”
Simple, direct and to the point.
Another common question firefighter candidate have is whether or not they should have some questions of their own for the panel. The answer is, it depends.
Most of the time at the conclusion of your interview they will ask you if you have any questions for them.
If they do, great, now’s the time to use some of your prepared questions. However, if they don’t ask you, you may be best served to stand up, say your closing statement, and make your exit gracefully.
Here’s some important guidelines when crafting your questions for the interview panel:
Steer clear of asking any questions that involve pay and other benefits. Not that these questions are necessarily bad, but usually this information is public (especially the salary).
Also, this can be taken the wrong way by the panel. There’s a school of thought out there that becoming a firefighter should be done for the ‘right reasons’ (whatever that means).
According to this line of thinking, asking about pay and benefits would be seen as you getting into the profession for the wrong reasons. It’s best to avoid questions like this at all cost.
Have your questions already prepared. Chances are, you’ll be nervous before and during the interview. If you try to think of questions on the fly, you may end up drawing a blank or ask a bad question.
Now isn’t the time for humor. Usually, the interview is a serious process so trying to make light of it or crack jokes would be frowned upon.
Ask questions that show a genuine interest in the job and that department. Fire departments are no different than other organizations in that they generally want to hire eager and ambitious cadets. Ask questions that show your genuine interest.
Here are some examples you can use to help create your own questions:
- Does your department have a new firefighter training program? If so, could you give me an overview of what it consists of?
- Does your department do any events or outreach with other departments or the general community? (examples of this would be things like a citizens fire academy, cpr classes etc)
- Does your department encourage further education for firefighters? (this includes not just college courses, but specialty courses such as dive school, hazmat training, rope rescue etc)
As long as you are asking questions that show that you are genuinely interested in their department and what it is like to work there you should be just fine.
Finally, I would keep the questions to a maximum of two. Remember you’re the one being interviewed not them.
If you’re looking for more resources on how to prepare for the interview we also highly recommend you check out Smoke your Firefighter Interview.
Also, be sure check out our definitive guide with 51 firefighter interview questions and answers.