After the interview it is appropriate to follow up with a brief and professional thank you note addressed to the person in charge of the hiring process, thanking them for their time and consideration of you as a candidate.
10 Major Interview Questions
Most candidates will say the thing they find most intimidating about the interview process is they don’t know what questions will be asked. While it’s true a variety of questions can be asked in different ways, interview questions tend to fall into one of the following 10 categories. Once you’ve prepared for these categories, you can use TOP/ACE to answer any of the interviewers’ questions in a way which shows how your specific knowledge, skills and abilities will benefit your prospective employer.
1) Tell us about yourself. This question is an absolute given and is your opportunity to talk about your general background, your prior experience and employment, and, if you choose, your family, hobbies and interests. Examples of this type of question include: Tell us a little about who you are. What do you like to do? Tell us about your life outside of emergency services. How are you involved in your community?
2) What motivates you? Since you’ve already thought about what motivates you professionally this type of question is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is connect to the job using the TOP/ACE methods. Examples include: How did you decide to become a/an (EMT, paramedic, firefighter, police officer)? Why do you want to work for our agency? What does the job of (EMT, paramedic, firefighter, police officer) mean to you? How do you measure success? What are you most passionate about?
3) What are your strengths and weaknesses? Remember those three positive attributes you came up with? Here’s the time to use the best one. You can use the same one more than once, but don’t use it exclusively. If they ask a question looking for a weakness or negative trait, simply use the example of how you have turned (or are working on turning) a negative trait into a positive one. Examples of this type of question include: What are you bringing to this job? What do people praise or criticize you for? How would your friends describe you? How do you work under pressure? Why should we select you over the other candidates?
4) Your “work” history. To answer this question, consider not only where you have worked for pay, but also where you have volunteered or participated as a hobby. You can also include family, group or community activities, as well as your education. Again, think about your best examples ahead of time and use the TOP/ACE method to connect your past with your new job’s future. Examples include: What have you done to prepare for this job? What is your greatest accomplishment or failure? What were your former job expectations? What did you like or dislike most about your previous job(s)? You appear to be over (or under) qualified for this position, so why should we hire you?
5) Site-specific questions. This is your opportunity to show what you know about the job, agency and response area, which you should have already researched. Remember, these aren’t trivial pursuit questions. Don’t just recite facts. Demonstrate your understanding of their implications. Use TOP/ACE to show what you know about the job, and also how you can use that knowledge to excel in the position. Examples of this type of question include: What do you know about our (city, department, agency)? How do you get from (point A) to (point B)? What is the population and makeup of our response area? How will you change your personal schedule to accommodate your new work schedule?
6) Skill-specific questions. Reviewing topics which are likely to be covered is a good idea. Often you’ll know ahead of time if the interview is going to include job skill-specific questions or scenarios. Use the TOP/ACE format to show not only that you know your skills, but your particular skill set fits best with the job. Examples include: Another emergency responder insists on transporting a patient against their will. How will you proceed? What are your incident management priorities at a motor vehicle accident on a busy highway with victims trapped in a burning vehicle? What trends do you see in the current emergency services in our area?