Top 25 Wildland Firefighter Interview Questions
1. What types of water pumps have you trained with or used in previous firefighting jobs?
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Wildland Firefighter
February 12th, 2017

Wildland firefighters focus on preventing and suppressing outdoor fires. They work seasonally, traveling to prescribed locations where they tend to areas with a tendency to catch fire due to extreme conditions. These trained professionals work a strenuous schedule, often responding to emergency calls to fight active fires at any given moment during peak season. They are also responsible for conducting regular maintenance and equipment repairs on fire engines and tractors among other tools used to extinguish and prevent fires.

While a high school diploma is the only educational requirement for a wildland firefighter, acquiring outdoor skills and completing fire science courses can definitely increase your chances of being selected for an interview. Wildland firefighters are also required to be in peak physical condition, training for months prior to applying for a job.

Whether you are looking for a summer job or a career in wildland fire management, working as a wildland firefighter can be very rewarding for someone looking for an exciting outdoor job and likes to travel. Typical interview questions are focused on your leadership experience, teamwork, stress management and technical ability. As a part of the interview process, you must pass a test to prove you are physically fit enough to carry hoses and operate heavy machinery. Before your interview, be sure to research the organization and their specific requirements so that you can prepare for their fitness test!
Wildland Firefighter Interview Questions
2 of 30
Tell me about your leadership abilities.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I like to think of myself as a leader that sets the example. I am not going to ask my subordintares to do anything that I have not done myself. I do not believe to can fully lead if you are not 100% confident in how the job should be done.
 
2.
My leadership abilities as a senior are adequate to good, in my opinion. I enjoy mentoring younger firefighters to show them how to be more efficient, and to pass on little pieces of information to make their jobs easier and them more productive. As a senior in charge of a couple firefighters or an entire squad I am comfortable carrying out assignments given to me by a squad boss or foreman. I don't always have a lot of patience for people who don't take the task seriously so I try to motivate the group early on to mitigate low enthusiasm or bad attitudes. I can be a little bit of a micro-manager if I see room for improvement or a task being performed is less than how I expected it to come together. Communicating my intentions of what I want to see done has been something I have been working on these last few years and improved greatly. Having the experience in the job and knowing how to express the intent to crew members has made me a much better senior firefighter. I strive to give very clear intent, and concise instruction.
 
3.
My leadership abilities appeal to my mindset as in you are only as strong as your mind & ability to make decisions.
 
4.
I take a huge respnsibility into being a leader because so many more people look up to you to make the right decisions in a high stressful situation.
 
5.
I plan, motivate and deliver.
 
Question
3 of 30
What makes you the most qualified for this position?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My determination and passion. I do not look at being a wildland firefighter as a job I see it more as an oppertunity to help and protect our forests and wilderness areas.
 
2.
Because I have experience in firefighting, I know a lot on what to do during a fire and I have a long line of firefighters in my family.
 
3.
I am very motivated as Hotshot. Seeing a difficult task completed safely and professionally gives me an enormous amount of pride. I have always loved team sports and watching a group of firefighters come together to pull off a mission is exhilarating. I am good at team-building and leading by example for younger green firefighters.
 
4.
Finding enjoyment in my job with challenges that add to my strengths pr.
 
5.
I am young eager to learn anything I love working out and staying in shape. I want to be a good positive role model to this community.
 
Question
4 of 30
What motivates you as a wildland firefighter?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My motivation while working is seeing a valuable product form from challenging work. Working together with peers and friends to take on a difficult task and succeed is very satisfying and keeps my head in the game. The challenge and my competitive side is what keeps me motivated.
 
2.
Being able to wor kwith others and be outside.
 
3.
What motivates me as a Wildland Firefighter is to protect the public, as well as natural resources.
 
4.
The actual work we are able to do with being outdoors. Also the team comraddory that is developed as we get to now eachother. I find that once that comraddory is built your motivation comes from doing for the team.
 
5.
Motivation for me is keeping the forests be safe for campers and the wildlife.
 
Question
5 of 30
Have you ever been overloaded with work?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes but I think it is one of those things that a person really needs to go through. It pushes the limits you thought you had and shows yourself that you can do more than origionally thought. AS cliche as it sounds it also build character.
 
2.
Yes, absolutely. It happens quite frequently when a supervisor gives you a position of responsibility and experience and help are the only ways to handle it and get better at it. Delegating responsibility to other trusted firefighters and breaking down the task(s) into manageable sizes (or contacts, or area, or work-load) are some of the ways I have learned to handle being swamped with work.
 
3.
Yes, but I think it is something everybody faces at one point in your career. But its one of those things that you just need to step back set priorities stay focused, and organized, and plow through your workload.
 
4.
Yes I just do whats more important first and do it one step at a time.
 
5.
Paper work sometimes piles up. Especially when rolling numerous fires or after a fire assignment.
 
Question
6 of 30
How do you handle stress and pressure?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
With perserviaranse I trie to focus solely on the task at hand not of the consequences of aftermath. I believe that is what builds the most stress. If you a.
 
2.
I handle it very well in a crisis I wouldn't freak out or do anything rash to harm anyone or the wilderness.
 
3.
Slowing down, trying to step back and get a different look at the situation. I always like to confide in peers and crew members my senior for advice or to vent.
 
4.
Take it as it comes take a look at the bigger picture & don't get distracted from your main objective.
 
5.
As it relates to work I tend to get a little quiter but more focused,
 
Question
7 of 30
What do you enjoy most about your job?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
No, I would be estatic to have a career as a wildland firefighter. In my eyes it is the coolest most enjoyable career on could have. TO be able to get up in the early morning and get dirty with a team that is just as passionate about it as your are is a dream come true.
 
2.
Yes I am. Fighting fire has helped me develop a lot of work skills, as far as social and human aspects. It's provided me with a very large extended family of lifelong friends and continues to challenge me every season. No two seasons are ever alike and I enjoy that about the job. Unique situations, seeing more of the western states, and meeting new people each year.
 
3.
Yes I enjoy protecting the environment and being a good role model to my community.
 
4.
Very happy, best job on earth!
 
Question
8 of 30
Describe a difficult project and how you overcame it?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Changing the tire on myb engine that I worked on it took us about 30 minutes to figure it out then we had no problem on changing it although it was thousands of puonds.
 
2.
The simplest yet most difficult thing we do. Gridding. Last season I was asked to take all of our rookie crew members (7), 2 second year hotshots and one long time senior to carry out a 300 foot wide grid for spot fires in Alaska. This was immensely challenging as it was the majority of of the group's very first grid. I was able to make it work satisfactory by placing my senior on the leading end of the grid, placing a 2nd year on the other end, and another 2nd year in the very middle, and giving very plain instructions. "Keep a spacing as close to 35-40 ft as possible from your left side, follow the persons movements from your left side, and pass on any message given exactly how it was given to you. Shout out periodically to the person on each side of you to maintain aware of their location to aid in spacing and verbal communication. Call out any spots you find and ask for as much help as you need to take care of it." With this much instruction we were able to get under way and I found that having my senior lead the grid, and me "floating" up and down the line to critique and answer questions was the best method to accomplish the grid and smooth out any hiccups.
 
3.
Working at Lowe's we had to unload a 1300 hundred or so truck with 2 of our guys out for the day and no real relief to help at the time. The way we overcame it was working harder and faster. We kept everything as organized as possible and made sure that no matter what the other 2 guys were doing we maintained one man in the truck at all times.
 
4.
We cut line all day and I was exhausted but I kept pushing thinking of my family at home.
 
5.
Being completely anchorage of the fire cache in rock springs. I did everything I could that I knew I could do; organize, create inventory monthly packets, keeping everyone up to date on what was going on. If I found myself needing help I asked right away and or delegated if the work load got too much.
 
Question
9 of 30
How would you handle an irate citizen?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I would tell them to remane calm and tell them to stay away from the fire and be a nice but strict as I can to protect them.
 
2.
Listening to their issue as calmly as possible, then explaining lightly any explanation or justification that may satisfy them. Afterwards I might refer them to a superior with better knowledge of the issue or even perhaps call an LEO to handle the citizen.
 
3.
I think the best way to handle someone like that is to try and see his perspective and reason with them.
 
4.
Try to calm them down and keep them safe during the incident.
 
5.
With a calm and respectful manor. I would try to answer the questions they had, I would redirect them to a better source of information.
 
Question
10 of 30
How do you handle conflict with a member of your team?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I typically let things go to try and let them smooth out on their own. Afterwards I talk directly to the individual or individuals to express my issue and work to resolve it. After that, I would elevate the situation to a supervisor with more authority to find a resolution.
 
2.
I am a pretty passive person so if its over something trivial I tend to cave, however, if the conflict rose from something serious I tend to try and find a comprimise.
 
3.
Talk to the person, listen to their problem, create a resolution plan and put it into effect.
 
4.
With an approachable solution.
 
Question
11 of 30
How do you stay in peak physical condition?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Physical fitness is one of the most important aspects I hold when training before and during the season.
 
Question
12 of 30
Why is it important to understand your safety zones and escape routes before starting your day?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Always knowing you way out is key to survival.
 
Question
13 of 30
How do you and your family feel about your work schedule?
 
Question
14 of 30
Why do you think it is important to educate the public about fire safety?
 
Question
15 of 30
What is an area you can improve on?
 
Question
16 of 30
How have you made an impact on your team in the past?
 
Question
17 of 30
What is the advantage of working in teams?
 
Question
18 of 30
Why do you want to work for our organization?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have worked closely with Prineville before and have always respected them as a hardworking crew. I want to stay in R6 for work and Prineville is in my top handful of crews that I would like to work for.
 
2.
This is an area that I aways come back to. I love the western slope. I am universal for which company I work for.
 
Question
19 of 30
How have you been working to improve yourself over the past month?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have been told (and I agree) that my command presence can use some improvement. I have had trouble with this when briefing people I am unfamiliar with. I have had a tendency to use hedge words to take the edge off of telling someone what to do, where it is necessary for the communication to be very clear, with one singular goal to accomplish. I have been improving my command presence by trying to get in front of larger groups more often and doing more LEADING. This last season with a couple opportunities to lead a squad and getting a crew boss trainee role helped very much.
 
2.
If I am not getting something right away I get extremely frustrated with myself. Understanding things take time to develop and changing ways to be more effective.
 
Question
20 of 30
What excites you about working as a wildland firefighter.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I like to see new places and forests. Travel is one of the best perks about hotshotting, that and loads of overtime.
 
2.
The adrenaline you get at the physical work you do to stay in shape.
 
3.
Going to fires, uncertainty of every season.
 
4.
The joy of persevering the forest how it is now that way people for years and years will be able to enjoy what others have for many years before.
 
Question
21 of 30
What do you feel is the most important quality a wildland firefighter should possess?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Patience. It's a long summer, and for the work you often need patience on an hourly period, as well as a kind of long-enduring patience to handle the strain of an entire season with the same 20 people. All day. Every day. All. Season.
 
2.
I believe is a strong mind fighting fire is 90% mental and 10 % physical.
 
3.
Adaptability, being flexible in any situation and being willing to task on the task safely with an open mind.
 
4.
Knowledge of fire behavior so they wont put themselves or others in a dangerous situation.
 
Question
22 of 30
Tell me about your firefighting training.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have a lot of training in the L series, all of my S courses and some miscellaneous dispatch training certs. I have worked on hand crews for 6 years, engine for 2 and dispatch for 1 year. Diversity in work experience has been very valuable.
 
2.
I took a basic 32 course last year and attended fire school for the forestry this year I learned a lot about using all sorts of hand tools weather temperature and how the terrain rh can affect a fire. I know all my tens and eighteens by heart.
 
3.
Open and complete task books yearly, engine academy, winter academy, taking leadership courses, reading leadership books, review fire material every year, always looking to learn the most I can.
 
Question
23 of 30
What makes you passionate about fighting fires?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
The challenge, and the camaraderie. I've met my best friend working in fire, and suffering through challenging tasks and succeeding with a group of close individual is the best kind of work I can imagine.
 
2.
The fact that putting out a fire could save lives or peoples homes helping others who cant help themselves.
 
3.
I work a hard honest job. I have made this a job turned into career and I am very pround to say this is my life.
 
4.
The fact that something so simple can be so destructive without the intention of being so.
 
Question
24 of 30
Give an example that demonstrates your attention to detail.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Never forgetting PPE and being as aware of my surrounding as I possibly can. Using visual cues, the radio, or other crew members to stay as informed on the situation as possible.
 
Question
25 of 30
Where do you see yourself in five years?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I would like to settle into a permanent position with a district in 5 years to raise a family. Likely an assistant position, on either an engine or a hand crew.
 
2.
Engine Captain, buying a house, living and working in a good area and starting my life.
 
Question
26 of 30
Why do you want to work in this industry?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
It pays great and I get half the year off. Also the work is pretty fun.
 
2.
My passion for the outdoors and fire fighting have lead me hear. My friends all agree that this would be the perfect career path for me.
 
Question
27 of 30
Tell us about yourself.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I grew up on the Colville Resrevation, I went to school at UW, I have a bachelor degree in environmental studies, I have worked since high school in fire and I love it, I currently live in ellensburg washington with my girlfriend danyel who is finishing up her teaching degree.
 
Question
28 of 30
Why are you leaving your current role?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I want to advance. I want to keep moving forward with my fire career and I feel ready to take on additional responsibilities. I have been a temp for nearly a decade and I would like to take on a permanent position with the agency, for security as well as career development.
 
2.
I want to help and protect what we love about BC, as well as learn what it takes to be away from family in case I get accepted to depot for the RCMP
 
Question
29 of 30
What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as a firefighter?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I like things to be done the right way. I cannot handle being part of a group that's half-doing a job. I take a lot of pride when I complete a good product and that motivates me to do the best job that I can and encourage other crew members to do the same.
 
2.
Communication and adaptability. Communication is one of the most common areas in fire where you have failure. I can be placed in any situation and I will adapt and do they best job that I can do at that point in time.
 
3.
Fortitude, I approach difficult situations with confidence in myself and in my training. As a firefighter I anticipate facing situations that would test my physical and emotional strength. I am not the type to seek the easy way out, I would prefer to work hard and complete a task to the best of my abilities.
 
4.
My integrity and my physical fitness, I will fight the fire as long as it takes, and I will do it safely.
 
5.
My greatest strength would have to be my out going personality. It would help when talking to witnesses to try and help solve how a fire started. Also I find it easier to stay relaxed when helping someone in need who may be panicking. Also it makes for a great public speaker when trying to inform someone or someones on current fire conditions and threats.
 
Question
30 of 30
Tell me about a time when you faced an emergency situation.
 
Contributing Author
Elisabeth Walter
HR Consultant
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