To say that trainee or management positions within the Fire Service are sought after is an understatement. We all know how important first impressions are. But how can you use this to your advantage with a firefighter career?
Firefighters have shiny shoes
We’ve trained hundreds of firefighters to be interviewers and one thing they consistently tell us is how important that first look at a candidate is. The way they see it, the way you turn up to interview is the way you will turn up to everything. Your physical appearance reflects who you are. If you show up disheveled or inappropriately dressed, they’ll assume you’re not professional or conscientious enough for the job. After all, if you can’t be bothered with the way you look, how are you going to convince them you will care about the organisation or the job?
The biggest interview blunder
Once your appearance has been clocked, the next bit is how you come across when you open your mouth. You’ll find plenty of advice on what to say, but when it comes to how you say it, think about your audience. They may have interviewed hundreds of candidate in their time, and you aren’t going to stand out without giving a lot of thought to how to do so. Help them out and speak in an enthusiastic way. Get some feedback from friends who will tell you like it is- do you speak in a monotone? Your interviewers will be internally groaning if you do, it makes it almost impossible not to fall asleep! Also, make sure you stick to the point- they want you to answer the question not share your life story so keep your answers succinct, focused and don’t ramble.
When it’s too late to make a first impression
What about promotion? How can you make a good impression when the chances are you deal with the managers who make the promotional decisions every day? Assuming you don’t do this already (!), from the time you decide to go for promotion be conscious of everything you do at work. Are you proactive about finding solutions to workplace problems or do you tend to look the other way? Do you take responsibility for getting things done or do you pass fairly routine decisions upwards for action to be taken? Do you make your boss’s job a lot easier or a bit harder? Are you confident about what you can achieve and what you want to contribute? Do you engage with everyone you come into contact with because all colleagues, partners and service users are important? Or are you going through the motions until you go off duty?
It’s a small world, especially in the Fire Service
It may not be your first impression, but with promotion it’s your every day impression which will speak volumes. And it’s not just important to have this attitude with your boss but with everyone you come in contact with, after all, you can never be too sure who talks to who, can you?