This is a valuable fire captain interview question and answer that was asked to one of our customers in his interview. A question on counseling, crew performance, or progressive discipline is very common in fire officer interviews.

As a Captain, how will you handle a counseling session with a subordinate?

Key Points: Remember that a counseling session has two purposes. The main goal is to correct the behavior or improve performance. However it is also the beginning of the progressive discipline process. Be clear and firm.

A counseling session is the first step of the progressive discipline program for our department. It is intended to correct the undesirable behavior at the lowest level possible. As a new Captain I will conduct counseling sessions in a straightforward manner. I will begin by explaining to my crew-member why we are sitting down and exactly what a counseling session is. I will explain that his actions are unacceptable and do not meet the department standard. I will provide him with specific information on how to correct the behavior or what actions he needs to take in order to meet the department standard. Depending on the behavior, this could be as simple as telling him to complete his paperwork correctly, or for more complex problems it may involve a performance improvement plan that involves multiple training sessions. I will also explain the repercussions if the undesired behavior is not corrected, which would be moving onto the next levels of the progressive discipline program. These would include written warnings, written reprimands, time off without pay, and even termination. Overall I want this meeting to be positive and use it as a motivational tool to correct the behavior.

This is a great question that is very common in fire officer interviews. This answer and many others are included in our Fire Officer Interview ebook which you can download below.

Fire Officer Interview Questions