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Dispatcher interview questions and answers

These Dispatcher Interview Questions will guide your interview process to discover the skills you are looking for.

Nikoletta Bika
Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta holds an MSc in HR management and has written extensively about all things HR and recruiting.

dispatcher interview questions

10 good dispatcher interview questions

  1. Have you ever used dispatching equipment?
  2. How familiar are you with this county’s criminal law?
  3. If you received a call from a panicked person who was speaking unintelligibly, how would you handle it?
  4. Imagine one of the truck drivers calls and informs you angrily that they have been assigned the wrong cargo. What would you do?
  5. How do you feel about being constantly on the phone?
  6. Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision when your supervisor wasn’t around.
  7. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by stress? What did you do to keep performing your duties?
  8. Recall a time you had to multi-task. Were you successful?
  9. How do you prioritize calls during peak times?
  10. Describe a situation where you had to coordinate with multiple agencies or departments.

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. Have you ever used dispatching equipment?

This question assesses the candidate’s familiarity with the tools of the trade.

Sample answer:

“Yes, I’ve used various dispatching equipment, including two-way radios, computer-aided dispatch systems, and multi-line telephone systems.”

2. How familiar are you with this county’s criminal law?

Knowledge of local laws is crucial for dispatchers, especially in emergency situations.

Sample answer:

“I’ve undergone training on the county’s criminal law and regularly attend refresher courses to stay updated.”

3. If you received a call from a panicked person who was speaking unintelligibly, how would you handle it?

This tests the candidate’s ability to handle stressful situations and communicate effectively.

Sample answer:

“I’d remain calm, speak in a soothing tone, and ask them to take a deep breath. I’d then ask clear, concise questions to gather necessary information.”

4. Imagine one of the truck drivers calls and informs you angrily that they have been assigned the wrong cargo. What would you do?

This question evaluates problem-solving skills and interpersonal communication.

Sample answer:

“I’d apologize for the inconvenience, reassure them that I’ll look into the matter immediately, and coordinate with the relevant department to resolve the issue.”

5. How do you feel about being constantly on the phone?

This question gauges the candidate’s comfort level with a primary aspect of the job.

Sample answer:

“I’m comfortable with it. Being on the phone is a key part of the dispatcher role, and I understand its importance in ensuring smooth operations and handling emergencies.”

6. Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision when your supervisor wasn’t around.

This tests the candidate’s decision-making skills and ability to handle responsibility.

Sample answer:

“Once, we had two emergencies simultaneously. I had to prioritize which to address first based on severity and available resources. I informed my supervisor afterward, and he agreed with my decision.”

7. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by stress? What did you do to keep performing your duties?

This question assesses resilience and stress management.

Sample answer:

“Yes, during particularly busy shifts. I take short breaks when possible, practice deep breathing, and remind myself of the importance of my role.”

8. Recall a time you had to multi-task. Were you successful?

Multi-tasking is essential for dispatchers. This question evaluates this skill.

Sample answer:

“During a storm, I had to manage multiple distress calls while coordinating with emergency services. By categorizing calls by urgency and using efficient communication, I was successful in managing the situation.”

9. How do you prioritize calls during peak times?

This tests the candidate’s ability to assess situations and prioritize.

Sample answer:

“I prioritize calls based on urgency. Life-threatening situations come first, followed by other emergencies, and then routine calls.”

10. Describe a situation where you had to coordinate with multiple agencies or departments.

This question evaluates teamwork and coordination skills.

Sample answer:

“During a city-wide blackout, I coordinated with police, fire, and medical services to ensure public safety and manage emergencies.”

What does a good Dispatcher candidate look like?

A competent Dispatcher possesses excellent communication skills, the ability to multitask under pressure, and a deep understanding of the operational procedures and local laws. They should be calm under pressure, decisive, and have a strong sense of responsibility.

Red flags

Beware of candidates who struggle with multitasking, lack effective communication skills, or show a lack of discretion with sensitive information.

Dispatcher Interview Questions

Dispatchers are important links of communication between interested parties. They may be found in shipping companies where they assign jobs to truck drivers and serve as their point of contact, handle incoming calls at emergency response facilities or be employed as flight dispatchers.

There are no fixed educational requirements for this role although a form of certification may be needed (e.g. emergency dispatch). Some experience in dispatching or call centers can be useful. However, if you have the time to train new hires, they can learn skills such as use of dispatching equipment or radio operating processes on the job.

During the interview, you should tailor your answers depending on the role. For example, crisis management skills may be more important in emergency response facilities than in other settings. Knowledge of the law may also be critical for that role. Generally, all candidates should be evaluated according to their communication skills, ability to remain calm in high-stress situations, critical thinking and ability to work independently. 

Frequently asked questions

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