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Dispatcher Interview Questions

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  1. Can you give a specific example of how you handled a caller who was unintelligible? See answer
  2. Can you tell me about a time when you had to make an important decision without the presence of your supervisor? See answer
  3. What types of dispatching software systems have you used on the job? See answer
  4. How do you handle people who keep calling 9-1-1 for non-emergencies? See answer
  5. How do you keep track of all of your calls and the actions that you take for each call?
  6. How would you handle an incoming emergency call from a family member or close friend?
  7. What do you do to separate your personal life from your experiences as a dispatcher to maintain your mental health?
  8. An elderly woman calls fearing she broke her arm in a fall down the stairs and she is having trouble getting up, but another caller says they’re experiencing chest pains and dizziness. There is only one available ambulance. Who do you prioritize and why?
  9. Have you ever had to instruct someone on how to do CPR over the phone? If so, how did you handle the situation?
  10. What do you think is your best trait as a dispatcher? Can you provide me with an example?
  11. A caller is in an area with bad reception and you can’t get a confirmed address. What do you do to gather more information about their surroundings?
  12. What do you do to stay up-to-date on first aid techniques to better assist callers?
  13. What are three soft skills that you believe are important for dispatchers to have?
  14. How do you stay alert and energized throughout night shifts?
  15. Can you provide me with an example of a time you had to maintain your stress levels to assist a caller? What tactics did you use to remain composed?
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6 Dispatcher Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Can you give a specific example of how you handled a caller who was unintelligible?

A:

This is an essential question to ask because a dispatcher may receive calls from people who are injured, upset, fearful or in harm’s way. The ideal dispatcher can calm a person down enough in order to elicit the critical pieces of information that need to be sent to the response team. The answer also demonstrates the dispatcher’s patience and calmness when under pressure. What to look for in an answer:

  • Detailed description of their experience
  • Specific information about how they responded
  • Ability to remain calm when under intense stress

Example:

“I reassured the caller that I was there to help. I asked the caller to slow down and tell me their name and location.”

Q:

Can you tell me about a time when you had to make an important decision without the presence of your supervisor?

A:

The dispatcher’s answer to this question shows you that they understand how to follow procedure. Their answer demonstrates that they are familiar with the situation’s protocol and the rules of the organization. This question also establishes how the dispatcher is able to make decisions when under stress and whether they can do so objectively. What to look for in an answer:

  • Concise summary of what happened
  • Clear explanation of their thought process
  • Demonstration of their ability to work without direct supervision

Example:

“When a driver called to tell me that they had the wrong load, I routed them back to the dock and updated the system.”

Q:

What types of dispatching software systems have you used on the job?

A:

This is a good question to ask because it alerts you to whether or not the dispatcher is familiar with the software that your organization uses. It also shows the candidate’s level of comfort and experience using different types of software. The ideal candidate will have expert knowledge in at least one of the common types of dispatching software. What to look for in an answer:

  • Years of experience with different software
  • Familiarity with two or more types of software
  • Knowledge of on-premises and cloud-based software

Example:

“I have used on-premises dispatching software tools such as Service Titan for four years and the cloud-based tool Field Service Lightning for two years.”

Q:

How do you keep track of all of your calls and the actions that you take for the calls?

A:

The answer to this question demonstrates how organized the dispatcher is and how they are able to accurately remember what they did and how they did it. Their answer should explain how they track each call, what information they put into the log and when they complete the log after the call. The answer also demonstrates their ability to multitask while still maintaining a high level of accuracy and productivity. What to look for in an answer:

  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to keep track of multiple pieces of information
  • Knows the importance of data entry accuracy and speed

Example:

“I track each of my actions on a call as I am speaking. This ensures that I do not omit any of the details.”

Q:

How would you handle an incoming emergency call from a family member or a close friend?

A:

You should ask this question because it shows how the dispatcher performs under stress or when they have an emotional response or personal interest in the situation. The dispatcher’s answer shows their ability to remain objective and handle a call from someone they know in the same way that they would handle a call from a stranger. It also shows their ability to stay on protocol during such an event. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to remain objective
  • Demonstration of how to remain calm
  • Reports personal connection after the call’s conclusion

Example:

“I would handle the call like any other emergency. After hanging up, I would report the personal connection with the caller to my supervisor.”

Q:

How do you handle people who keep calling 9-1-1 for non-emergencies?

A:

Dispatchers receive a variety of emergency calls each day, but they also receive calls from people with minor injuries, questions or other non-emergency situations. This could potentially prevent dispatchers from taking calls that do require an emergency response. It's important that dispatchers know how to identify non-emergency situations and help callers understand the criteria for calling 9-1-1. This question allows interviewers to gauge a candidate's communication abilities and their level of job experience handling non-emergency calls.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Personableness and professionalism
  • Excellent verbal communication
  • Understanding of non-emergencies vs. emergencies

Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:

Example:

"The first thing I ask after the caller explains the situation is, is this an emergency? is anyone hurt? I run through these questions so I can be 100% sure it isn't an emergency before I advise them to use our non-emergency line. I also give them examples to differentiate between an emergency and a non-emergency."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021