When I was preparing for the Battalion Chief test, I took the time to write down a series of standard questions to ask personnel currently in the position of Battalion Chief or in higher Chief Officer ranks, inside and outside of my department. Doing this allowed me to get feedback from a variety of people, as well as let them know of my career aspirations.
Additionally, it was a great way to become more familiar with personnel I may not be that familiar with, and it was also a great way to start building or reinforcing relationships with others inside and outside of the department. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the fire service is about relationships – positive, working relationships.
Here is the list of questions I put together as a guideline that I provided them in advance so they knew what I would be asking of them.
BATTALION CHIEF PREPARATION QUESTIONS
Person being interviewed: _____________________________
Date of interview: ____________________________________
1. What are your expectations of a Battalion Chief at our department?
2. Are there any specific books I should be studying besides the Fire Chief’s Handbook, Managing Fire Services, Department Rules and Regulations / Policies and Procedures / the County Mutual Aid and Automatic Aid manual, the Department Business Plan?
3. Are there any specific things to be studying for the simulator besides preparing for all risk type of events?
4. Are there any specific things to be studying for the personnel problem?
5. Are there any specific things to be studying for the oral interview?
6. Are there any specific classes, education, and/or training I should be pursuing besides what I presently have?
7. What do you think are the biggest challenges of a person in the position of BC?
8. What do you like about your present position?
9. What do you not like about your present position?
10. If you had it all to do over again, would you have taken the test to be where you are at today?