Researching the opportunity and the office is a really important first step before going to an interview. Tell the hiring manager the extent of your research, how you feel about the opportunity, and why you would like to be given this position.
"I have spoken with one of your other dispatchers about this position and she had so many wonderful things to say about working here. After researching online and speaking with her, I am even more excited about the opportunity. I would really love to have this job."
"During one of my internships, I met someone who worked here for a few years. He mentioned that even though the stress levels are high, the feeling of camaraderie is even greater. It made me feel very confident in the culture here, which is why I applied for the position."
"I have become very familiar with your department through my years in medical dispatch. Your department has a very strong reputation of professionalism and positive culture. I very much look forward to joining your dispatch team."
Describe a time that you had to exercise a great amount of self control in order to gather yourself during a difficult situation. Be sure to finish on a high note by talking about the positive outcome, or what you learned.
"I had a call a couple of years ago that was quite an upsetting and very violent situation. The victim was screaming uncontrollably and I could not understand a word she was saying. I was becoming a bit shaky and unsure if I was going to be able to help her. I composed myself and became a bit firmer in my tone. Eventually she was able to listen to me in a way that was helpful to her. After the call, I took a quick time out to gather myself."
"I understand that, as a 911 dispatcher, I will need to recover quickly from upsetting situations. I have taken coursework related to emergency management and appropriate reactions, and plan to hold myself accountable for every call that I take."
"Earlier in my career I found it more difficult to keep my cool during challenging calls, more so than I do now. Taking an upsetting call is always difficult; however, I have learned over the years that is it not about me, or how I feel. As a dispatcher, my only goal is to ensure that the person is safe and cared for."
Be sure to give specific examples and talk about your overall dispatch experience. Let the hiring manager know that you, in no way, discriminate on the job.
"I have worked as a 911 dispatcher in such a huge range of situations. Every call is different and I am well accustomed to adapting myself to each situation. The level of help or service that I offer has never wavered depending on race, culture or social standing."
"Before I attended University, I worked as a part-time volunteer with our local homeless shelter. In that role, I encountered a very diverse range of individuals. I embrace diversity and welcome it."
"I have provided service to individuals of all racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds during my 6 years in 911 dispatch. The diverse range I come across every day certainly keeps me sharp, and aware of the varying needs of others."
Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job, even when it's been an exceptionally hard day of calls.
"I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are being noticed."
"Here are some ways that an employer may try to motivate you. Which ones resonate most with you? - Incentive programs where points are earned - Showing complete trust in your work and performance - Setting smaller, more achievable goals - Helping you to find your greater career purpose - Being a positive example to you - Maintaining an open and transparent workplace - Personalized incentives vs. Team driven incentives - Getting to know you on a personal level - Positive feedback based rewards system - Offering a strong work/life balance by encouraging time off - Letting you know your voice matters - Allowing you to take the lead on projects that excite you - Handing out big picture projects so you feel that you are contributing to the company's future - Public recognition "
"I am always motivated through the tough days, knowing that I have helped someone in their time of need. Distress can be one of the loneliest states someone can be in, and I am honored to be able to offer people a life-line during that time."
Bragging about yourself in an interview can be really tough to do but this is your time to shine! Which characteristics and career accomplishments have made you a stand-out candidate? Perhaps you have received some academic awards or have been given special accolades in your most recent position. There is nobody like you and now you need to express that to the interviewer.
"I am the best candidate for you because I have a consistent history of exceeding expectations for the past 3 years. I have been promoted two times in the last year which is nearly unheard of in my current department."
"I feel that I am the best 911 dispatcher for you because, in addition to my recent background as a former EMT, I also have a diploma in Criminal Justice."
"I am the best candidate for this 911 dispatch position because I have the right background, education, and experience. I know that I can jump right in and get going with very little training time."
Integrity is best displayed through honesty and consistent moral values. Talk to the interviewer about the way(s) that you show your integrity in the workplace.
"Honesty and integrity are two values at the center of my being. I like to think I practice this in the workplace by always doing the right thing during every call that I take."
"I show integrity every day at work by being my true self. The "me" that you see at work is the "me" that my family and friends get. I am an honest and genuine person."
"In my entire career, I have never been questioned on my integrity or performance. I best show my integrity by being a consistently reliable employee and doing my best every day."
It is always best to support your reply with a real life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to details on the job.
"My co-workers would describe my attention to detail as very strong. I can very easily point out spelling discrepancies in communication and will notice the small things. I think big-picture as well but have always had a knack for details."
"I can't speak for my colleagues as I am new to my career; however, my professors would say that I have above average attention to detail. I make mistakes, but I usually catch them before passing my work on to intended recipient. I fully understand the importance of 100% accuracy in a 911 dispatch career and am prepared to meet those expectations."
"My attention to detail is a point that I have been working on a lot this past year. I am meticulous but, in the past, have pushed my documentation back a little bit. It's something I am conscious of and continually working on as my career progresses."
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from what is written on your resume. You are certainly not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate! Focus on special non-work related skills or hobbies. For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)
"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last 8 years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
"I am bilingual in Spanish and have some proficiency in French and Italian, too. I also am a huge Harry Potter fan and could pretty much quote each book to you!"
"In addition to my career in 911 dispatch, I am a certified yoga instructor. I spent six weeks in Asia and another 6 weeks in Latin America, becoming certified, and it was a fantastic experience that helped me to grow as a person."
The best way to discuss your salary expectations are to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000 and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
"As I am a recent graduate, I would like to be offered a fair salary that reflects my recent education. I am most concerned with joining an organization that will help me to grow my career in emergency dispatch. Compensation is not my primary driver."
"I am currently making $60,000 per year. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides opportunity for growth."
When answering this question it is best if you can include a reference from a previous supervisor. Being able to speak, with reference, to your ability to remain calm under pressure will solidify your answer.
"I am very skilled at remaining calm under pressure. Being an EMT prior to starting my career as a dispatcher has certainly assisted me with this skill set as well. In my performance reviews I am often used as an example of how to remain calm and make rational decisions in the wake of an emergency."
"Yes, I believe that I can remain calm in the wake of an emergency. My dispatch training has been incredibly thorough and I am confident that I will exceed your expectations when it comes to my level of rationality."
"Throughout my entire career I have proven myself as a level headed individual, able to remain calm even in the greatest of emergencies. I look forward to bringing this level of professionalism to your department."
There are many important qualities in a talented 911 dispatcher, however; the interviewer would like to know how you view this. Follow your answer up with why you possess that particular skill.
"I feel that the most important skill of a 911 dispatcher is to be able to remain calm through a stressful situation. Remaining calm and level headed is of utmost necessity when someone has called in an emergency. I have a strong track record of being able to do this and have often been recognized by my supervisor and peers for being very collected under pressure."
"Here is a list of skills that a 911 dispatcher should have: - Strong level of integrity - Computer savvy - Ability to follow instructions and process - A remarkable memory - Exceptional listening skills - Strong typing skills/speed - Ability to filter through multiple sound sources - Clear verbal communicator/easy to understand - Emotional control - Trustworthy judgement - High level of compassion - Ability to multi-task"
"My years of experience of a 911 dispatcher has revealed to me that the most important skill a dispatcher should possess is the ability to decipher multiple sounds and events at one time. It's cognitive multi-tasking, in a sense."
If you were awarded the position, what would you bring to the department or organization? Assure the interviewer that you are the right fit for this position.
"If I were hired, I will share my dispatch knowledge to the team, should they find my experiences to be valuable. I am easy to get along with and am always willing to lend a hand to my teammates."
"From what I understand, this department has very little turnover, which is fantastic. Being new to my career in 911 dispatch, I will bring an outsiders perspective with different experiences and hopefully some fresh new perspectives."
"If I were hired, I feel that I would compliment your department in a few significant ways. First - I am a fast learner and I already bring 6 years' experience in 911 dispatch. The time to train me will be reduced. Also, I bring experience in training new hires and would be happy to jump in when it comes to on-boarding individuals new to their dispatch career."
As a 911 Dispatcher, it isn't just your verbal communication skills that need to be strong. Being a clear communicator, in written form, is also a very important skill to master. Are you confident in your written communication skills? Perhaps you have taken courses in communication and writing. Talk to the interviewer about your written communication abilities and support your answer with a brief example or story.
"I would describe my written communication skills as very strong and would rate myself as a 9/10. I have always had a penchant for writing and have taken university courses related to communication, writing, and journalism."
"I have strong written communication skills which have been well honed through my time in University. I spend a lot of time working on team projects and have to be able to communicate clearly with all parties."
"My written communication skills are very strong. I often utilize written communications as a follow up to verbal communications. These written follow ups provide a great resource for my team to go back to, and reference. Also, they might answer any questions that come up along the way."
When the interviewer asks about your work ethic they are looking for specific examples or keywords they can relate to. When you read the company job posting or job description do they refer to particular company ethics? Talk about their values and how those align well with your personal work values.
"In my personal life, I am a very dedicated and loyal. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and come ready to work hard for my employer every day."
"Some characteristics you may want to use are: - Determined/Driven - Accountable - Humble - Respectful - Dependable"
"I would describe myself as excited to learn, driven towards growth, and someone who executes. I am certain my pasts bosses and clients would concur and I'd happily provide them as references."
Keep your answer simple and avoid over dramatizing any event. Speaking negatively about others will always look unfavorable towards you. Telling the interviewer that you get along with everyone is not an appropriate or believable response either. Focus on a time when your work style was different than another person but perhaps you still had to successfully complete a project together. Discuss, in a positive tone, how you made it work!
"There will nearly always be a coworker who is difficult to deal with. I believe it's part of what keeps things interesting. I choose to find common ground with those people in order to create a positive base of understanding."
"One of the teachers and I recently had did not lead the class in a style that I was comfortable with. She liked her students to work quietly and independently while the majority of us thrived on collaboration in class. I realized that, being the student, I needed to remain respectful. I pulled her aside after class one day and mentioned that it would be helpful if we could incorporate more teamwork in the classroom. After that suggestion, she did relax a little bit and allowed some more collaboration between students."
"In a previous position, I had a team member who was constantly late for their shift, and my team meetings. They were a critical part of my team, so I approached them privately to understand what was going on that was preventing them from working well with the team. As her manager, I need to offer her the support she needed to become a reliable team member again. We created an action plan which she stuck to quite well after our initial conversation."
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with setbacks in the workplace.
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."
"Setbacks happen for a reason and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. At this point in my career, I fully expect to see setbacks on a daily basis. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."
Being flexible in your schedule is really important in the emergency services and dispatch industry. If you are available for all holidays and weekends you could respond with: "Yes, I am open and available to all holidays and weekends. I have no problem working overtime if required as well." If you have other life obligations and are not always available you could respond with: "I am happy to do my part by being available for my share of holidays and weekends. I do have children to care for so it is better for me to have some notice if possible."
"Yes, I am open and available to all holidays and weekends. I have no problem working overtime if required as well."
"Being new to this industry, I fully expect that I will be taking the majority of holiday shifts. I am definitely willing to put in my time before being offered premium shifts."
"I have taken many weekend and holiday shifts in my years of work in 911 dispatch. I am happy to take the required shifts in order to help this team to run seamlessly."
Being able to problem solve and think outside the box when it comes to changing situations is a very valuable skill set. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to create a variety of potential scenarios.
"As a 911 Dispatcher, I am ready to adapt at all times. This is a necessary skill in our line of work. Alternate scenarios are great but I really prefer to stay focused on the scenario at hand, and be ready to pivot when the demand comes."
"I feel that it is very important to create alternative scenarios in all situations. One cannot guess what will happen in the end so it is great to be prepared for all possible outcomes."
"It's important in emergency situations to have premeditated contingency plans. It takes out the uncertainty in the moment and better prepares everyone to adapt if a problem should arise."
911 Dispatchers deal specifically with emergency calls. They communicate directly with emergency responders and citizens of their location. 911 dispatchers will be asked to work in a very stressful environment as every phone call can be a situation of urgency where lives are at stake. Emergency dispatchers may also be expected to handle text to telephone calls for the disabled and non-emergency phone calls. Communities often have their 911 dispatchers initiate the Emergency Alert System when needed. All of these duties sum up perfectly how serious the responsibility is for a 911 dispatcher.
911 Dispatchers should be able to handle almost any stressful situation in calm and controlling manner. They should be able to stay focused and alert throughout their work schedule. Dispatchers should be very compassionate and capable of listening and communicating well. They must have an excellent job history that displays a high level of responsibility.
A 911 Dispatcher job interview will be tough for the job seeker. Individuals with a work history as a 911 Dispatcher must be able to answer multiple scenario-based interview questions. Questions to expect: How would you handle an emergency call that dealt with a family member? How would you handle a disruptive caller using inappropriate language? When have you had to multi-task at a previous job? For dispatchers without experience in the field, expect questions that ask how you have handled stress in your line of work. For more 911 Dispatcher interview questions, keep browsing our page, Mockquestions.com.