Top 25 911 Dispatcher Interview Questions and Answers in 2022

The lifeline for people in emergencies is the 911 dispatcher as they give emergency responders vital assistance and maintain people’s composure while they wait for assistance. 911 dispatchers are essential for managing resources and recording emergency calls. They guide people through some of their most terrifying and heartbreaking experiences. They are composed, meticulous people who are adept at helping those who are frightened and in perilous circumstances.

Basic interview questions concerning your qualifications for the job, your limitations and skills, and your career objectives may be asked. But it’s crucial to be ready to respond to inquiries about dispatcher positions in particular. If you’re seeking a job as a 911 dispatcher, you should be ready to talk about your expertise and abilities. You may find a collection of typical interview questions and responses in this article.

1. Do You Feel At Ease Working In A Situation Where You Must Make Quick Decisions Under Pressure?

Due to my prior experience working in high-pressure situations, I am at ease there. When I worked in the past, we frequently had multiple crises, so I had to act quickly. For instance, there was an accident one evening that resulted in numerous injuries. I had to determine which victims required assistance the most immediately. I maintained my composure and concentrated on aiding the injured.

2. What Kinds Of Difficulties Might A 911 Dispatcher Encounter?

The hardest part of my job has been dealing with individuals who are in emergencies. Children’s calls can make this more challenging because they frequently have no idea what’s happening. In such a situation, I try to maintain my composure and ensure that their parent or legal guardian will be located. I enquire about their location as well so that our staff can dispatch responders there as soon as possible.

3. Why Are You The Best Applicant For This Job?

Because I have previous experience working in similar positions, I am the most qualified applicant. I used to work as a receptionist for an insurance business, taking calls and assisting clients with their inquiries. Because we both respond to calls from people in need of assistance, this is comparable to 911 dispatching. Additionally, I have outstanding communication abilities, which are crucial for this job. I can talk clearly and pay close attention to what people are saying. I enjoy working as a 911 dispatcher because I am very organized and meticulous. In my previous role, I was in charge of managing calls and sending officers to various areas. I also have outstanding communication abilities, I can explain things to other workers in a better way. In my prior role, these abilities were helpful to me.

4. How Would You Respond If You Knew Little About The Caller Or The Circumstance They Were In?

When I didn’t know much about the circumstance, I would first probe for further information. For instance, if they were calling, I would inquire about their location so that I could tell emergency personnel where they were. I would also ask them to name nearby landmarks if they were in a new location so I could offer the arriving officers directions. Additionally, when conversing with the caller, I would remain composed and comforting. This may assist to reassure them and persuade them to give me more details.

5. Why Would You Like To Be A 911 Dispatcher?

I gain joy from assisting those in need, which is one of the main reasons I would like to be a 911 dispatcher. With this employment, I get to use both my technical skills and my drive for meaningful work. Since I’ve spent many years working in a contact center, I know how to use the switchboard’s technology, manage several calls, and attend to callers’ demands. I take pride in my capacity to maintain composure under pressure and am also patient, sympathetic, good at listening, and a great communicator. When someone is in danger, it makes me happy to be able to protect them. Additionally, I am well-versed in local rules and ordinances, which enables me to give callers accurate information.

6. Which Dispatching System Have You Used The Most Frequently?

I’ve used Computer-Aided Dispatch System, commonly known as CAD while working for two firms, and I find it to be highly user-friendly. I feel comfortable using the user-friendly interface to enter data into the database. While speaking with callers, I also truly value being able to see all pertinent information on my screen.

7. What Would You Do If You Received An Unresponsive Call?

Usually, when it is about a caller who is not responding, I picture someone who is experiencing a medical emergency, like a cardiac attack. The caller desperately wants assistance but is unable to explain the problem over the phone. Other situations, including domestic abuse or house invasion, may require a caller to keep quiet. I would send the cops to the precise location if the call was coming from a landline. In any other case, I would dispatch the police to the area where nearby towers pick up a call.

8. What Modern Technology Do You Believe Is The Most Crucial To Understand?

Understanding how to use the various forms of communication that are available in today’s world is crucial. Since I’ve been a 911 dispatcher for six years, I’ve gotten used to using phone and text messaging services,  I’m always seeking ways to get better and I recently enrolled in an online course on WhatsApp, I am comfortable utilizing it at work right away.

9. What Is Your Procedure For Getting The Most Details Before Dispatching Emergency Personnel To The Location?

I make an effort to learn as much as I can about the caller when I answer a call. This information includes their name, where they are, why they are reporting, and any additional details that might be relevant, such as whether anyone was wounded or if a specific threat was made. To contact them later for providing updates on the situation, I also ask for their contact information. I make notes while the caller speaks to ensure I retain all the crucial information.

10. At Work, What Inspires You?

Having the chance to improve someone’s day inspires me. Helping those in need of information and assisting them in problem-solving is something I enjoy doing very much. To be as helpful as possible to others, I take pride in my capacity for multitasking and finishing projects swiftly. I am aware that we all experience difficult workdays occasionally. I would look for a peaceful area so I could unwind for a while. I would get in touch with a friend or member of my family to discuss my feelings. I would discuss taking a quick break if I was experiencing daytime fatigue with my management which motivates me.

11. What Do You Think A Dispatcher’s Typical Workday Might Look Like?

According to what I’ve learned, a dispatcher’s regular responsibilities include taking and responding to calls, recording calls, handling emergencies, prioritizing calls, and giving orders to emergency personnel. Dispatchers employ dispatch systems to dispatch the appropriate personnel, log calls, locate callers and responders, and prioritize calls. I believe that working in this atmosphere can be demanding and fast-paced, but I’m ready to take on those difficulties.

12. Give An Instance When You Were Under Pressure And Had To Maintain Your Composure.

You might run into unpleasant scenarios while working as a 911 dispatcher. When I was at a law company, we had computer problems that left our phones inoperable for several hours. No one could contact us or inquire about their case as a result. I couldn’t do my job, which was annoying, but I knew I had to keep my cool so I could serve everyone who called me when the phones were being able to work again.

13. What Do You Consider To Be The Most Crucial Competency A 911 Dispatcher Should Possess?

I believe for a 911 dispatcher, empathy is one of the most crucial traits to possess. Speaking with persons frequently under stress is part of my job as a 911 dispatcher. I can support callers throughout their emergencies more effectively if I have empathy for what they are going through. Additionally, it aids in keeping me composed when speaking with individuals on a phone call so that I can reassure them.

14. What Characteristics Define A Good Dispatcher?

A good 911 dispatcher, in my opinion, is someone knowledgeable about using CAD systems to manage emergency and non-emergency circumstances. Additionally, a dispatcher must take, transfer, and record calls. In addition to having fundamental dispatching skills, dispatchers should be able to multitask, manage their time efficiently, communicate effectively, and exercise sound judgment. In addition, listening skills, knowledge retention skills, and empathy for callers are essential for this position.

15. Response Times Need To Be Enhanced. What Methods Would You Employ To Persuade Callers To Maintain Their Composure And Talk Clearly?

I once received a call from a worried parent whose child was missing from the mall. They were able to calm down long enough to tell me more about their location after I inquired about the dress their child was wearing. I located them and sent officers to assist them after asking several questions.

16. What One Aspect Of The 911 Dispatch System Would You Change If You Could?

The fact that 911 dispatch services are always accessible when needed is, in my opinion, one of their most crucial qualities. I would prefer more departmental integration, though, so that we can connect with other emergency agencies more effectively. For instance, I’d like to be able to convey information straight to field-based police officers or medical personnel who may be attending to an injured person.

17. When Did You Last Make A Mistake? Share Your Story With Me. What Have You Discovered?

When I initially started working as a 911 dispatcher, I was preoccupied with getting everything right that I neglected to deliver a crucial message to one of our officers. Because of my mistake, he ultimately failed to turn in his assignment. I called him right away to apologize after I realized what had happened. We discussed what happened and developed a strategy to prevent it from happening again. I now always examine my work twice before sending any communications.

18. If You Sent Out Emergency Responders Incorrectly, What Would You Do?

I would immediately apologize to the caller and dispatcher who were impacted by my error if I made a mistake when sending out emergency personnel. Then, before dispatching any emergency responders, I would make certain that all of the data I had provided was accurate. To avoid making the same error twice, I would then return and examine my call notes.

19. Describe How You Would Handle A Panicked Or Angry Caller.

You might deal with anxious or angry callers as a 911 dispatcher. It’s crucial, in my opinion, to be sympathetic and watch out for anything that can upset or aggravate a person who is panicking when speaking to them. I would ask them to explain their emergency first, in a calm manner. Helping someone anxious or disturbed who calls me is my top priority when they call. I achieve this by paying close attention to what they have to say and by probing questions to learn more about their circumstances and try to ensure the person that aid is coming as soon as I feel like I understand what’s happening. They feel more at ease, which allows them to concentrate on handling the problem.

20. Describe A Situation In Which You Applied Critical Thinking To A Challenge.

Many organizations search for dispatchers who possess the ability to think critically. When I was a 911 dispatcher, one area started to make more calls than usual. I questioned my other team members if they had observed anything unusual about the region because we were unaware of why this was taking place. One of my coworkers informed me that a brand-new nightclub was launching nearby. I informed the club’s manager on the phone what was happening. He assured me that he would discuss calling us before sending someone to the hospital with his staff.

21. You Can’t Reach A Caller Because Of The Large Number Of Incoming Calls, What Criteria Do You Use To Decide When To Dispatch Emergency Personnel To Their Location?

I will dispatch emergency responders as soon as I can if I can’t get through to the caller despite several tries. It guarantees that assistance can reach the emergency location as early as feasible.

22. How Effective Do You Believe You Are At Work In A Group Setting?

Although a 911 dispatcher’s job might be somewhat solitary, it’s crucial to have strong cooperation abilities. I believe I function well in a group setting. I was the sole person working the overnight shift at my previous job, so I frequently asked other employees for assistance when I needed it. Additionally, we met once a week to talk about our progress and ask questions about our work. This, I believe, has helped me and my coworkers understand more about each other’s jobs.

23. Do You Have Any Prior Experience With Call Queue-Based Dispatch Systems?

Although I haven’t used call queue systems previously, I am aware of several analogous systems that employ color codes to denote various scenarios. In one system, for instance, green is used for informational calls, and red is used for emergencies. In my previous work, I was in charge of taking all calls and assigning each caller a certain color code.

24. What Frequency Do You Believe Callers Should Be Updated?

If they are contacting you about an emergency, I believe it’s crucial to follow up with callers frequently. I’d ensure to check in every ten minutes or so throughout the first half of their conversation, but as the call went on, I’d start checking in less regularly. In addition to helping me concentrate on other calls, it helps me ensure I’m giving them the support they require.

25. When Would You Send Police Officers Rather Than Firefighters To A Scene?

In my previous role, I received a call from someone complaining that their neighbor was burning rubbish in their backyard. The caller claimed that although he could see smoke pouring from the house, they were unsure of who was inside. The caller informed me that no alarms were sounding at the residence when I questioned them about the circumstances. It gave me the impression that the fire wasn’t severe enough to require dispatching firefighters. As an alternative, I sent a police officer, who arrived at the area and verified that the homeowner was igniting rubbish in their backyard.

Conclusion

A competent emergency dispatcher can multitask without getting overwhelmed and perform efficiently under time constraints. They must be resilient, have high-stress tolerance, and be able to think quickly to be able to provide appropriate support. The ideal applicants will be well-rounded persons who can maintain their composure in trying circumstances and provide cover for those in need until aid can be reached. You may be asked basic interview questions about your suitability for the position, limitations and skills, and professional goals.