Henry S from the Midlands applied to join the FRS in 2010 and was lucky enough to get in. Or was it luck? Here’s what he has to say about his experience.
Were you surprised to get in to the FRS?
Yes and no – I’ve been retained for over 10 years, and crew manager for a couple of those, so felt I had the skills and knowledge to get in and was confident that I had experienced enough to have quality answers for the PQA’s. Having said that, there would probably be quite a lot of people with the same experience applying and with the sheer numbers who usually apply for every FF role I was pleasantly surprised when I got the letter to say I’d passed.
What was the hardest part of the selection process for you?
The interview was the hardest part pressure-wise without a doubt. But good preparation did help enormously. The part I struggled most was the written application form. Trying to cram in all the information that I felt I needed within the 150 word limit was tough. Massive thanks has to go to the guys at FRS Development. I got feedback from them and the difference between my first draught which I wrote on my own and third which they guided me on was massive.
What was the easiest?
Being retained and deemed competent I got to avoid the written and physical test!!!!
What did you do to prepare for the recruitment process? Did you worry you hadn’t done enough?
I think it is only natural to think I didn’t do enough!
Having failed before on initial application form I used FRS Development’s ‘Pass your application workbook and feedback’. Definitely worth the money. They won’t answer for you! but guide you through the information you need to include to tick the PQA boxes.
When it came to interview I trawled the internet to find all the questions I could on fire interviews and thought of answers for them all. Then read through them on a daily basis. I didn’t know them off by heart but having read them over and over its surprising how much comes back when you need it!!
What made you stand out to the recruiters do you think?
None of my answers where made up, none of my answers really sounded like they were learnt off by heart either. Therefore I think I came over as confident, honest and experienced. I used answers from primary employment, Retained duties and general day to day stuff I get up to. And I didn’t walk in with the mindset that because I was retained and even a Crew Manager that was owed the job.
Any advice for people wishing to join?
Although there doesn’t seem to be much recruiting going on at the moment now is the time to prep! If you’re struggling to think of an example of a PQA don’t make it up, the chances are you will be caught out. Instead think of a place that will give you that example and do it! Volunteer with youth groups etc, if you’re retained already think of ways you can make yourself better e.g. ask your Watch Manager for further courses or responsibilities that gives you a true answer for your PQA’s. Honest experienced answers sound so much better!!
Many thanks to Henry for answering our questions.