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Stage three - Screening interview (November 2016 – January 2017)

Qualified candidates who have successfully met Fire Services application and the written examination will be invited to attend an interview to further assess their qualifications and suitability for a career with Ottawa Fire Services. The following must be submitted at the screening interview.

  • Proof of Ontario Secondary School (Grade 12) or academic equivalent diploma
  • Proof of a valid Standard First Aid certificate and a valid CPR-C certificate obtained from:
    • St. John Ambulance
    • Canadian Red Cross or
    • Ottawa Paramedic Service

Certification from any provider other than those listed above will not be accepted.

  • Proof of valid Ontario “G” class driver’s licence (or equivalent)

Please bring originals of the above documents but there is no need for photocopies at this stage. Failure to provide these documents will result in disqualification.

The interviews are a 2 part process. The screening interview will take place in November 2016 - January 2017. If you are successful you will move forward to a second interview. Second interviews will be scheduled as required to fill vacancies.

(These dates may be subject to change)

Preparing for a Panel Interview

Personal Interview

Pre-qualified candidates who have successfully met Fire Services application and written examinations will be invited to attend an interview to further assess their qualifications and suitability for a career with Ottawa Fire Services. The interview is a panel format conducted by staff from Ottawa Fire Services. All candidates who attend an interview will be advised of the results by email (there will be no reviews of interviews). The purpose of the interview is to learn more about the individual. The types of interview questions listed below may be used in the interview process.

Interview questions may be based on the following competencies

Customer Focus

Do you go above and beyond to contribute to building and/or maintaining positive customer relationships? Do you make an effort to listen, understand and respond professionally to customer needs?

Judgment and Decision Making

Can you form sound opinions and make sensible decisions based on logical assumptions and factual information relevant to a situation?

Initiative

Do you have the confidence and abilities to make decisions, take action and demonstrate you can follow through with a plan or task without unnecessarily relying on help, advice or prompting from others?

Adaptability

Do you have the willingness and ability to effectively work on a variety of situations and in conjunction with diverse people or groups?

Teamwork

Do you actively participate as a committed team member, working effectively with others to achieve a common goal?

Stress Management

Can you consistently perform under pressure, opposition or in stressful situations? Can you handle, as well as relieve stress in an appropriate way?

Direct Questions

These types of questions predetermine the focus of your answer. Your information should be clear and specific. These types of questions, whether they relate to technical or soft skills, should be easy to answer if you have completed your research.

Non-Direct Questions

These types of questions are general and do not ask for specific information. You determine the focus of your answer. In response to this particular question, you should summarize approximately four areas: education, experience, skills, and personal attributes. Make your response relevant to the job you are seeking.

This is a difficult stage in the process. We recommend that you prepare for this interview as if it were an exam. Come to your interview prepared to share several examples from your past work, school, sports, volunteer, and personal experiences that demonstrate how you have displayed these competencies. Use examples from your life that show you have done more than expected of you.

S.T.A.R. Format

The answers to all behaviour-based questions must be in a S.T.A.R. format.

S / T – Situation / Task – What was the situation?
A – Action – What did you do?
R – Result / Relevance – What was the outcome?

Sample Question and Answer

Tell us about a time when you had to work in very unpleasant work conditions such as heat, dust, noise, etc.

Situation/Task

Last summer, I took a job in a lumberyard where I had to work 12-hour shifts standing on a cement floor to operate loud equipment in the extreme summer heat. My job was to take stacks of wood and load them on a wood pallet which then moved on to another worker to bundle and wrap. The other worker had been with the company for a long time and was used to a much faster person stacking and sending him the pallets of wood. He began yelling at me to speed up.

Action

At first, I was embarrassed and wanted to yell back at him that I was doing the best I could. But I realized that wasn’t the best approach and I needed to change the situation. So instead, I decided to wait until break time where I asked him if we could talk about the situation. I told him I was trying my hardest to keep up but that I was having a problem loading all of the wood onto the pallets. He said that was a common problem because the wood can get heavy and awkward making it difficult to stack on the pallets. I then asked him what he thought I could do to fix that and he offered to show me a trick when we got back from our break. When our break was over, he showed me a way to stack the wood going one way on the pallet, once the first row was filled I would change the direction of the wood to run perpendicular to the previous row so they would stack easily. I began trying his way and found that he was right. I then made it a personal goal to see how much quicker I could fill the pallet of wood using this new method.

Result/Relevance

Pretty soon, I was sending him pallets of wood faster than he could wrap them! At the end of our shift, he came over to me and told me he was impressed that I had caught on so quickly and now I was making his life a lot easier. I realized that my actions had reflected on his being able to do his job and that he had a lot to offer me in his experience.

Tips for a successful interview

  • Know the duties of a Firefighter
  • Know about the Ottawa Fire Service
  • Know about the City of Ottawa
  • Research behaviour-based interviews
  • Prepare for your interview
  • Arrive 10 – 15 minutes early
  • Present a professional image
    • Well groomed, Combed hair, don’t wear strong scented products
  • Communicate carefully, clearly, and efficiently
  • Listen carefully; ask for clarification if needed
    • Use the tools provided to write notes if available
  • Remain professional and positive
  • Answer questions with specific examples that support the competency
  • Keep your answers as short as possible and don’t get off track but answer the question
  • Use ‘I’ not ‘we’ as much as possible when answering questions