Top Mistakes Fire Candidates Make

02 January 2021
Chief Brent Collins, President,

Top mistakes fire candidates make

  • Not getting your certifications – whether it is EMT, Paramedic or Certified Firefighter. These certifications will go a long way to put you ahead of your competition.
  • In addition, take classes to get additional certifications – haz mat, high angle rescue, rope rescue, etc. Work towards your associates or 4-year degree.  If you are deciding between a degree and your paramedic certification, get the paramedic certification first.
  • Isolating yourself to one or two departments. You should be taking as many tests as possible in the surrounding area.  You probably have your dream department and are waiting for them to test.  But what happens if you don’t score well enough to be hired?  What happens if you fail the physical agility or the psychological exam?
  • Take a look at 10-20 departments in the area and start taking tests. There are typically 8 test consultants that give exams across the country.  The more tests you take, you will learn what the tests are like and the areas you need to improve.  After you take a test, keep a list of who the test consultant was, what testing subjects were on the test (reading comp, math, mechanical, etc.).  Many tests now include a personality component.
  • Not having a professional resume. This may be the first impression the department has of you.  Make sure spelling and grammar are perfect, all your certifications are current, and have it proofed by multiple people to make sure you aren’t missing something.  We have a specific blog post on resumes – check it out.
  • Not improving in your weak areas. Is the written exam your weak area?  Are you taking practice examinations?  Are you not scoring well on the oral interview?  What are you doing wrong?  Are you practicing and preparing?  Our website offers practice exams for almost every test consultant in the country as well as prep for oral and psychological exams.  Don’t think you can just wing it.  There may be those rare few that can walk in and score well but they are indeed rare.  You need to practice and put the time in.  It all comes down to how bad you want it.
  • Not preparing for the physical agility. You need to know what the physical agility test entails and start practicing now.  I can’t tell you how many candidates have scored well on the written exam and then blow the physical agility because they aren’t in shape.  There is no excuse for not passing a physical agility test.  This is a physical job and you need to be in top physical shape.  What does it show the department if you can’t pass the basic physical agility test?  Be sure to read our physical agility blog posts that explain the most common tests.

Our final thoughts – If you put 110% effort into getting a fire department job you will someday be rewarded with the best job in the world.  Yes, you’ll have some disappointments and roadblocks where you didn’t score as high as you wished.  But you need to pick yourself back up and get back to work.  You need to continually improve yourself.  You are presenting you – the more you do, the better you will look to a department.