Fire captains are firefighters who also hold leadership positions in their departments and report directly to fire chiefs. They are typically experienced, well-trained professionals who coordinate and supervise operations at their firehouses. When interviewing for a job as a fire captain, expect questions about your managerial skills, administrative strengths and ability to handle emergencies quickly and efficiently.
Training and Certifications
The interviewer will likely ask about your ability to work with community leaders to organize and implement safety and fire prevention programs. Fire captains must educate community leaders and the general public on emergency protocols should hazardous situations arise. The interviewer might ask, "Are you comfortable coordinating public events and community meetings to educate citizens on how to prepare and manage emergencies?" "What experience do you have providing public education seminars in local schools, public libraries or town meetings?" or "How do you coordinate and conduct fire inspections at schools, libraries, shopping centers and other public locations?"
Expect interview questions about your leadership abilities. According to FireRescue1, the fire chief or recruiter might ask, "How do you motivate your firefighters to stay prepared to address fires or other emergencies?" "What do you see as your main responsibilities as fire captain?" or "What does leading by example mean to you?" These interview questions focus on your ability to lead, organize, strategize, resolve conflicts, train, equip, supervise and manage your crew. Use specific examples from previous experiences to back up your leadership strengths.
Administrative and Organizational Abilities
Even though a fire captain spends part of his time fighting fires and addressing emergencies, he also performs administrative duties. The interviewer might ask, "How do your organize and schedule firefighters to perform firehouse and equipment maintenance?" "What types of training and programming do you provide to ensure your firefighters stay current and are well-equipped to handle emergencies?" "What steps do you take to ensure emergency procedures are sufficiently reported and documented?" or "How do you regularly assess your firefighters' work performance?"
Physical Work Demands
Discussing the demands of the job can be a tricky interview topic, but fire chiefs want assurance that you can fulfill the job responsibilities. The interviewer might ask, "Do you have any physical limitations, vision concerns or health issues that might affect your ability to perform the job?" "Can you lift equipment weighing up to 150 pounds?" or "Are you able to work in inclement weather conditions, including freezing or extremely hot temperatures?" The interviewer isn't allowed to ask discriminatory questions about your age, race, religion or gender.
2016 Salary Information for Firefighters
Firefighters earned a median annual salary of $48,030 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, firefighters earned a 25th percentile salary of $32,670, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $64,870, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 327,300 people were employed in the U.S. as firefighters.