The Importance of Self-Evaluation if You Want to Get Promoted in the Fire Service

When promoting in the fire service you are required to complete many phases of testing, but have you ever done a self-evaluation? A self-evaluation while working on your firefighter promotional exam prep may be the key to your success in promoting in the fire service. 


Self-evaluation is defined as, “the process or instance of assessing oneself and weighing up one’s achievements.” The same way you test yourself on your knowledge of the material you need to know for promotion, you need to be able to do an assessment on yourself to figure out where you are succeeding and where you need to put in more work. Ideally this would be done before any of your promotional testing takes place, but it can also be done after you go through promotion as well. It may be a good thing to do even if you pass and are promoted so you can know where you need to improve before you even start working in your new rank. 

  1. What Am I Good At?

To start your self assessment simply ask yourself, what am I good at? This can be anything from the physical portion of the assessment to the oral interview. It also doesn’t have to be a gradable thing, it can be something like being a compassionate person or managing your time effectively. Get specific and really put some time into this self-evaluation. Figuring out what you are good at is a good way to build your confidence as you go. Yes, eventually you will have to find your weaknesses but don’t let those overshadow all of your hard work. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself to find what you are good at:

What am I good at?

What actions have I done to get me to this point? Should I keep doing them?

What have I done to make myself proud at this point?

What do I like doing?

What would somebody who knows me well tell me I am good at?

  1. Where Can You Improve?

After thinking about where you excel you need to focus on where you can improve. Break down every aspect of the promotional process and figure out what you need to work on. One very practical way to do this is to take practice tests when you are studying for the written exam. The practice tests will tell you exactly where you need to focus your studying. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself to take it even further:

Where can I improve?

What extra resources do I need to improve?

What actions are keeping me from improving? Should I stop doing something?

Am I working as hard as I can?

Am I making the best use of my time?


After your self evaluation you want to be sure to set new goals for yourself to help you keep improving. Having goals holds you accountable on the areas you want to improve. Write them down so they are tangible and make an action plan and check in with your goals and plan as you go along. You can ask yourself the above questions as you go along the promotion process, even after every section of the process. Break it all down so you know what to focus on as you move onto the next promotional step. It isn’t a bad idea to actually write down the answers to the questions you ask yourself so you can go back and look at them. If you are having a bad day, look at those things you are good at to remind yourself of all your hard work and look at the areas that need work to see how much you have improved. 

The Takeaway

You put a lot of yourself into the fire service promotion process. It is important to check in with yourself throughout the process to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can shift the focus of your preparations. Don’t wait until you fail your written exam or are passed over for a promotion to do a self-evaluation.