All job interviews can be intimidating. But getting hired as an EMT has its own unique set of challenges. So whether it’s here with us, or at another provider, here’s a bit on how to ace your interview and land the job.
First, get certified.
In order to become an EMT in NJ, you must pass a certification program. This can be at a county college, firehouse, or through outside vendors. There are two options for enrollment: a “hybrid” eight-week class or a traditional course that runs from 12 to 16 weeks.
Here at On Time, we offer courses at our training center in our Roselle Headquarters. This makes it easier for students to break into the EMS field, learn to do things properly, and get ahead of the curve.
Once you graduate from the program you must take the National Registry for EMTs (NREMT) exam. This certification is recognized in 46 states.
After passing, you’ll receive your EMT certification in the mail in about six to eight weeks. Follow the link for more information about the process of the NREMT exam.
Do your research.
Once you get an in-person interview, do your research about the company beforehand. If the recruiter or hiring manager asks what you know about the agency, make sure you know what you’re walking into. Whether it’s facts about their safety program or recent goals or milestones they’ve shared on their website, make sure that you show your motivation and eagerness to know more about the company.
Bring multiple copies of your resume.
Be prepared to discuss the connections to your references. How do you know these people? What sorts of achievements did you attain with them?
Be prepared for the inevitable questions.
You’ll likely be asked to provide an overview of your experience, credentials, career goals, and teamwork abilities. Please note there are also requirements for a drug screening, a background check, and employment verification. Below you’ll find some examples of what a recruiter or human resources manager might ask you:
Would you consider yourself “team-oriented”?
As an EMT, you’ll be working with a team of different types of people, so they want to find a candidate that’s team-oriented. You will not always have the same partner, so it’s important to have a strong team dynamic and good people skills.
What have you done in EMS so far?
Whether it’s volunteering or studying within the field, your experience will be reviewed and considered. Talk about what you’ve done, the learning experiences you've had, and how that work translates to being an EMT.
What are your career goals?
Tell your interviewer about your future plans. If it’s becoming a paramedic or working in dispatch, the goal here is to get an idea of who you are and what want to be. On Time has growth and development opportunities through our You in Motion program that allows for progression in the field of your choice. Being a candidate with clear goals and aspirations sends a great signal.
Why do you think you would be a good fit?
As an EMT, you’ll be working with various types of patients, including geriatrics, pediatrics, bariatrics, and anything in-between. Being able to empathize with what the patient is going through and provide the level of care they need is a crucial skill. They’re looking for someone that’s caring, compassionate, and empathetic.
Avoid these mistakes.
Don’t let nerves get in the way of showing your personality. If you’re not comfortable talking to the recruiter, you probably won’t be comfortable with the position.
Answering the questions and talking about your experience is important, but perhaps not quite as important as letting the company get to know you as a person. They’re looking for someone who will learn quickly and be willing to be molded into a great first responder.
Make sure you’re engaging with your interviewer. Someone who just answers questions and is quiet comes off as uninterested. Whether it’s about scheduling flexibility, employee benefits, or company culture; preparing questions beforehand always helps if you’re nervous/shy.
Understand the requirements of the position.
Full-time EMTs are scheduled for 36 to 40 hours per week. Part-time EMTs usually work between 10 to 20 hours per week. Per diem EMTs work an average four shifts a month with the option to work more based on their availability. Those are typically college students who work seasonally and want to gain clinical experience in order to propel them into a future in the healthcare field.
Note that there may also be some distant traveling involved in your work depending where your patients need to go. But this is usually no more than two hours from base.
Send an email after the interview to thank the recruiter for their time and if they need any additional information while reviewing your application. It’s a good first impression.
Be yourself. Remember, the company needs people and they want to get to know you. So let your personality shine.
Thanks for reading.