The vast majority of Fire Captain Interviews will include a question about conflict at work. Below is an example from a recent Fire Captain interview from a department in Texas sent to us by James. Conflict resolution is a valuable skill for Fire Captains. This question and sample answer have been added to our Fire Officer Interview Book which you can purchase from the link.

Give us an example of a time you had to deal with a personnel conflict at work. How did you handle the situation and were you satisfied with the outcome.

Key Talking Points: First of all be sure to have an example prepared for this questions. If you decide to answer with something like “I get along with everyone and really don’t have any personnel conflicts . . .” the panel will probably think you’re not being completely truthful. Everyone has some type of conflict they have dealt with. It is acceptable to explain that some minor conflicts are not worth addressing, while others will obviously grow into larger problems. As you think back on a conflict be sure to pick one in which you approached the issue correctly, trying to solve the problem at the lowest level possible.

Sample Answer: Several years ago as a younger firefighter I had a conflict with the paramedic on my unit. While we were on emergency scenes he was speaking to me in an unprofessional and inappropriate manner in front of patients and their families. I was the youngest member of the crew and the first couple of times he did this I did not say anything. As it continued I realized it was not an isolated event, or a result of him just having a bad day. So I addressed the issue by pulling him aside after a call and telling him that his tone and comments were not appropriate. I explained that he was not just making us look bad, he was making our entire department look bad. My medic explained that he was very passionate about medicine and was “barking” at me because of his passion and desire to perform well. As we talked we both found common ground and even decided to modify how we worked together on medical calls. It led to both of us becoming more productive, gaining respect for each other, and performing better. I was satisfied with the outcome however if I had the opportunity to “do it over” I would address the issue immediately rather than chalking it up to him having a bad day. It was a great learning experience for me as a young firefighter. I was pleased we could handle the issue ourselves without involving anyone else.

I would like to add that as a Captain this is exactly the type of situation I would be on top of immediately. Some situations and conflicts aren’t a big deal and can be ignored, for example finger popping. Others such as this example must be addressed immediately.

You can find this question and over 80 more in our Fire Officer Interview ebook which is available as an instant download below. This book has helped hundreds of candidates get promoted to Fire Captain and Fire Lieutenant over the last few years. We are confident it can help you too.

Fire Officer Interview Questions