Firefighter Psychological Tests

27 January 2020
Chief Brent Collins, President,

Firefighter Psychological Tests   

One of the top reasons for failures on firefighter psychological exams is not knowing what information these psychological tests are trying to retrieve from the firefighter applicant. 

The questions used on psychological tests are determined by identifying major personality traits and characteristics of a successful firefighter. Knowing what personality traits and characteristics are being sought will greatly improve your chances of scoring well on these examinations.

There are many personality characteristics of a successful firefighter. Here are some of the top ones:

  • Is flexible, not rigid, in thinking. It’s not “my way or the highway.”  Firefighting is a team effort, not an individual effort. 
  • Is decisive. Firefighters are not wishy-washy or maybe-sort of in their personality traits.  They have to make a decision and stick with it. 
  • Is able to control and keep emotions on an even keel.
  • Is willing to accept constructive criticism from others.
  • Knows that there is a chain of command and that following established department procedures is important in an organization.
  • Is willing to work as a team member. This personality characteristic is one of the most important ones that will determine whether or not you can be a successful firefighter.  Firefighting is a team effort. 
  • Has empathy and support of others in times of need.
  • Are you the type of person that goes above and beyond in your preparation for whatever you do? Do you go the extra mile?  Do you give the extra effort?
  • Are you the type of person that believes that people are honest in nature or are you always on guard that someone has an ulterior motive and is not sincere in their desires?
  • Are you the type of person that gets along with most of the people that you meet? Are you friendly, outgoing?  These are traits that are important as a firefighter dealing with the public.
  • Are you the type of person that can concentrate when you are working on a task or are you easily distracted? Many times on the emergency scene you will deal with people coming up to you, interrupting you, asking you questions.  Are you the type of person that can concentrate on the task at hand with all those interruptions?
  • Are you the type of person that has a tendency to often come to work tardy? Are you the type of person that believes that timelines and deadlines aren’t important?
  • Are you the type of person that enjoys gossip or do you keep gossip to yourself? In a fire station, you are in an atmosphere with others and people can get caught up in the gossip.  Even if you know a rumor that is true about another firefighter, would you share that information with others?
  • Are you the type of person who likes volunteering for things in your community, church or school? Or do you sit back and wait for others to take the lead?
  • Do you enjoy working with people as a group or do you prefer working by yourself?
  • The fire department is a paramilitary organization. Are you the type of person that believes that rules in a fire department should be followed?  Do you skirt the rules or feel that rules can be broken if it suits your particular needs?
  • Are you the type of person that would make suggestions and recommendations on how things can be improved on the job, or would you just sit back and not say anything?
  • If a fellow firefighter suddenly became aggravated with you or started ignoring you, would you ignore them back? Or would you try and find out what is wrong and try to alleviate the problem?
  • Are you the type of person that can accomplish tasks under deadlines or do you start panicking and experience high anxiety?
  • Are you the type of person that is flexible and not rigid in your thinking? Are you able to listen to others’ viewpoints and see things differently?

For in-depth exam prep for psychological tests, click here!