Fire Service Application Form Critique

Whether for promotion or recruitment into the Service most FRS application forms need you to provide evidence of your capabilities. Stating that you have what it takes isn’t enough, you have to PROVE it.

Here’s a ‘Working with Others’ answer from a FF hopeful who recently asked for our help. Alex, 22, from Worcester filled in his application form earlier this year.

For this question about working closely with others as part of a team, Alex provided an example of when he had worked as a security guard at a major sporting event. He described what the role involved and a particular occasion when an alert meant that he had to work with other agencies to make sure security was maintained.

‘….A colleague informed me that there was a security alert at the west gate. An individual who was on a ‘high alert’ list had been seen in the area. We had to work closely with the police to make sure the individual didn’t access any of the entrances. Our team had to communicate via radio to maintain regular updates and stay vigilant. The individual was later apprehended and the alert level lowered. The event then went ahead without further incident’.

What’s right with this example?

Alex identified a specific example that he had been involved in. He sketched out what the situation was and explained how the scenario unfolded.

What’s wrong with it?

Given the limited word count allowed on this application, Alex wasted a lot of words setting the scene. He could have kept it more concise so he had more space to focus on his actions.

Alex wasn’t very clear about his own role. He described ‘working closely with the police’ and that the ‘team had to communicate via radio’ but he didn’t say what he personally did to make sure these things were done well.

Alex didn’t provide details of how specifically he had done things. There are all sorts of actions he probably took to make sure he worked in an effective way with the police but he doesn’t say what they were. When it comes to communicating with his team via radio, he doesn’t explain what his priorities were or how he made sure he did this in a useful and efficient way.

The question was looking for evidence of how Alex worked with others, but this example focuses more on the task than on the actions. It doesn’t show how he supported colleagues to help them achieve the positive result. It doesn’t explain how his behaviour stood out to show that he is a skilled and effective team worker.

How could he have improved it?

The feedback we gave to Alex suggested that:

  • he focus more on HOW he did things.
  • he thought more about his own behaviour and how it positively impacted on others.
  • he re-look at his use of words and take out anything repeated or which didn’t add evidence of his personal performance.
  • he considered how his actions influenced end results
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