Interview

18 Dispatcher Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a dispatcher, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Every day, emergency and non-emergency calls come into dispatch centers across the country. Dispatchers are responsible for taking these calls and sending the appropriate emergency responders to the scene. They also keep track of the location of emergency vehicles and personnel.

Dispatcher jobs are in high demand, and with good reason. Dispatchers are the unsung heroes of emergency response. They keep people safe by making sure the right people and resources are sent to the right place at the right time.

If you’re interested in becoming a dispatcher, the first step is preparing for the interview. In this guide, we’ll give you a sneak peak at some of the most common dispatcher interview questions and answers.

What are your strengths?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you would fit in with their team. When answering, think of a few strengths that relate to the job description and show that you have the skills necessary for the role.

Example: “I am highly organized and detail-oriented, which is why I love working as a dispatcher. In my last position, I was responsible for keeping track of all incoming calls and dispatching officers to different locations. I also have excellent communication skills, so I can relay information clearly to other employees. These skills helped me succeed in my previous role.”

Why should we hire you?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and why you are the best candidate for the job. Before your interview, make a list of reasons why you would be an excellent dispatcher. Consider including any relevant experience or skills that match what the employer is looking for in their ideal employee.

Example: “I am passionate about helping people, which is why I became a 911 operator. I enjoy being able to help someone who is in need, especially when they are in danger. I have been working as a 911 operator for five years now, so I have plenty of experience handling emergency calls. I also have extensive knowledge of local laws and regulations, which helps me provide accurate information to callers.”

How long have you worked as a dispatcher?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand your experience level. If you have worked as a dispatcher for many years, you may be more experienced than other candidates. However, if you are new to this role, you may still have valuable skills that make you a good fit for the job. Try to answer honestly about how long you’ve been working in this field so the interviewer can decide whether or not you’re qualified for the position.

Example: “I’ve worked as a dispatcher for five years now. I started out as an entry-level employee at my current company, but after two years of service, I was promoted to senior dispatcher. I enjoy helping people and solving problems, which is why I chose this career path.”

Do you have any experience with call recording software?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with call recording software. If you have no prior experience, you can describe how you would learn to use it if hired for the position.

Example: “I’ve never used a call recording software before, but I am familiar with some similar programs that record phone calls and conversations. I think I could learn to use this type of software fairly quickly by researching online or asking my colleagues who are already using it.”

Describe a time when you used your critical thinking skills to solve a problem.

Critical thinking is a skill that many employers look for in their dispatchers. This question allows you to show your interviewer how you use critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques to solve problems quickly.

Example: “When I worked as a 911 dispatcher, we had an increase of calls from one neighborhood. We were unsure why this was happening, so I asked my team members if they noticed anything different about the area. One of my colleagues mentioned there was a new nightclub opening up in the area. I called the club’s manager and explained what was going on. He told me he would speak with his staff about calling us before sending anyone to the hospital.”

Tell me about a time when you handled multiple calls at once.

This question can help the interviewer determine your multitasking skills and how you prioritize calls. Use examples from previous experience to highlight your ability to handle multiple tasks at once, while still providing quality customer service.

Example: “In my last role as a dispatcher, I often had multiple calls come in at once. One time, I received two emergency calls within seconds of each other. The first call was for an accident on the highway, and the second call was for a car that was broken down on the side of the road. I quickly assessed both situations and determined which call required immediate attention. I sent one tow truck to the highway accident and another tow truck to the stranded vehicle. This helped me ensure all drivers were safe and their vehicles were taken care of.”

Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you learn?

Employers ask this question to see how you respond when things don’t go as planned. They want to know that you can take responsibility for your actions and learn from them. When answering, be honest about the mistake and explain what steps you took to correct it. Show that you learned from the experience and are now better at your job because of it.

Example: “When I first started working as a dispatcher, I was so focused on getting all the information right that I forgot to relay an important message to one of our officers. He ended up missing his assignment because of my error. After realizing what happened, I immediately called him to apologize. We discussed the situation and came up with a plan to ensure it didn’t happen again. Now, I always double-check my work before sending any messages.”

Are you familiar with this area’s 911 protocols and procedures?

This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your knowledge of the area you’re applying in. If you are unfamiliar with the protocols and procedures, it’s important to let them know that you would be willing to learn them as soon as possible.

Example: “I am familiar with the 911 protocols and procedures here in this city. I have worked in other cities before where the protocols were different, so I’m used to adapting to new situations. However, if there is anything I don’t understand or need help learning, I would love the opportunity to do so.”

Describe a time when you provided excellent customer service.

Customer service is an important skill for dispatchers to have. Employers ask this question to make sure you can provide excellent customer service and help people in need. When you answer, try to think of a time when you helped someone who was upset or frustrated. Try to show that you are empathetic and good at calming people down.

Example: “When I worked as a receptionist, there were times when customers would call with questions about their bills. Some of these calls could get quite heated because the customers didn’t understand why they had to pay so much. I always made sure to listen to them and explain things clearly. I also tried to use analogies to help them better understand how our billing system works.”

Describe a challenging situation you faced while interacting with a caller.

This question can help the interviewer assess your problem-solving skills and ability to remain calm under pressure. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a situation where you were able to use your interpersonal skills to resolve a conflict or challenge with a caller.

Example: “In my previous role as a dispatcher, I had a call from a woman who was in labor. She was very nervous about giving birth at home because she didn’t have any family members nearby. I talked her through each stage of labor until she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Hearing her excitement over the phone made me feel like I helped make a difference in someone’s life.”

Tell me about a time when you solved a problem by working with others.

This question can help the interviewer learn more about your teamwork skills. Teamwork is an important skill for dispatchers to have because they often work with other people, such as police officers and emergency medical technicians. When answering this question, you can describe a time when you worked with others to solve a problem or accomplish a goal.

Example: “When I was working as a 911 dispatcher, we had a situation where multiple calls were coming in at once. This caused our call center to become very busy. To solve this problem, I asked my coworkers if anyone could take a break so that we could answer all of the incoming calls. My coworkers agreed to take turns taking breaks until the calls slowed down.”

Describe a time when you went above and beyond for a caller.

This question can help the interviewer learn more about your dedication to helping others. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you helped someone in need and how that experience impacted you.

Example: “When I was working as a 911 dispatcher, there was an instance when a caller called us because they were being held hostage by their spouse. The caller was very scared for their life, but I stayed on the phone with them until police arrived at the scene. After the call ended, I felt relieved knowing that the caller was safe. Even though my job is to stay calm during calls, I always try to make sure that the people I’m talking to are okay.”

What technology do you feel is most important to know today?

This question is a great way to see how much you know about the latest technology. It also shows your interviewer that you are willing to learn new things and keep up with current trends in the industry. When answering this question, make sure to mention something that you have experience using or something you would be excited to use if hired for the position.

Example: “I think it’s important to know how to use all of the different communication methods available today. I’ve worked as a dispatcher for five years now, and I am comfortable using both voice and text messaging platforms. However, I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills, so I recently took an online course on WhatsApp usage. I feel confident enough to start using it at work now.”

Tell me about a piece of equipment you wish you could use at work.

This question is a way for the interviewer to learn more about your personality and sense of humor. It also helps them understand what you would be like as an employee. When answering this question, think about something that might help you do your job better or something that you wish was available at work.

Example: “I wish I could use my own computer instead of having to use the computers in the dispatch office. The computers there are old and slow, which makes it hard to search through databases and look up information quickly. If I had my own computer, I could install software that would make searching easier.”

What motivates you at work?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you might fit in with their team. When answering, think of a few things that motivate you at work and explain why they are important to you. You can also mention any other skills or qualities that help you be successful.

Example: “I am motivated by the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s day. I love being able to provide information to people who need it most and helping them solve problems. Another thing that motivates me is knowing that my actions have an impact on others. I take pride in my ability to multitask and complete tasks quickly so I can help others as much as possible.”

Imagine that you’re having a bad day. What might you do to take care of yourself?

Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to take care of yourself and your mental health. They want to be sure that you can handle the stress of the job without letting it affect your personal life. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to ensure you’re taking care of yourself while on the job.

Example: “I understand that sometimes we have bad days at work. I would try to find a quiet place to relax for a few minutes. If I needed to talk about my feelings, I would call a friend or family member. If I was feeling overwhelmed by the day, I would speak with my manager about taking a short break.”

Tell me about a time when you set a goal and achieved it.

This question is a great way to learn more about the applicant’s work ethic and how they set goals for themselves. This can be an important quality in a dispatcher, as they need to be able to prioritize calls and organize their staff effectively. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide details on what your goal was, how you achieved it and what skills or knowledge helped you achieve that goal.

Example: “When I first started working as a 911 operator, I noticed that there were often long wait times between when a call came in and when we could send help. I decided that I wanted to find ways to decrease those wait times so that people who needed help would get it sooner. I researched different methods of decreasing response time and implemented some of them into our system. As a result, response times decreased by 10%.”

How do you stay up-to-date with current events?

Employers ask this question to see if you are interested in current events and how you stay informed. They want to know that you can keep your team safe during a crisis or emergency situation. In your answer, show the interviewer that you have an interest in current events and provide examples of how you would use this knowledge to help others.

Example: “I am passionate about politics and current events. I watch the news every night before bed so I can stay up-to-date on what’s happening around the world. If there is ever a major event like a natural disaster or terrorist attack, I will be prepared to handle calls from concerned family members.”

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