Paul Olson Interview Coach
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Certified Interview

 Covid-19 Compliant 

Paul is following all recommended protocols.

All confidential interview preparation sessions are now being held via online video services using Zoom and Skype calls.

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Entry Level Firefighter 


Fire Chief Promotional

Interview Preparation

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second career employment transition COUNSELLING

Leverage your previous experience into that of your second career.

Who's hiring now

other included services


Confidential Interview Preparation Sessions:

Held via on line video services using Zoom or Skype 

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Resume Building Services: 

Designed to fit Emergency Services requirements: key word optimized.

About Paul Olson 


Paul Olson is a retired Assistant Fire Chief Officer, who has worked extensively in the hiring processes, not only within the Fire Service, but also for corporate, not for profit, and private businesses.


Having conducted many interviews, as well as been successfully interviewed at senior management levels, he knows and understands both sides of the table. With a firm understanding of the roles each individual on the hiring panel has, he has been able to assist hundreds of candidates seeking not only Fire Service related jobs but various other types of employment.

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His Approach

Paul takes a mentor approach to each individual, wanting to see candidates put forward their best possible presentation to the hiring panel. 


He has had his own successes and failures while trying to achieve his goals. To this, he understands the pressure the candidate is under when they finally get a shot at their dream job or a chance to promote to a senior management position. He takes what he does seriously.

His Credentials

Paul holds certificates in Human Resources Management and Business Management, inclusive of Recruitment and Selection through British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). He earned a Diploma in Professional Counseling from PLBC and is a current Registered Professional Counselor/Coach (RPC) with the Canadian Professional Counselors Association (CPCA). 


Additionally, he is also a member of Career Professionals of Canada through which he holds certifications as "Interview Strategist" and "Employment Strategist".

Paul is currently lecturing at the JIBC Maple Ridge Fire Academy as a Sessional Instructor/ Speaker on Firefighter Interview Preparation since May 2015.

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Testimonials from Past Clients

"Hi Paul, I got the position!!. Starting in a few weeks. Thanks again for your help. The coaching gave me great confidence in knowing how to approach the interview stage.  Also, I found great benefit in taking some time to reflect back on things. Cheers"

"Paul was a huge help in my success during the interview stages of the hiring processes I was apart of. Paul provides a framework for you to use when answering questions. I knew that I was someone who had a lot of experiences to draw from in the questions I would be asked, but my thoughts and ideas were at times disorganized and convoluted. Keeping Paul’s methods in mind during my interviews allowed me to answer questions in a logical and sequential manner which best conveyed my experiences and rationale.  Without Paul’s services I do not believe that I would have had the success I did during the interviews. If you are someone who is serious about obtaining a career in the fire service, seeing Paul is a must!  Set your ego aside and be receptive to Paul’s feedback. If you can do this, your chances of success during your interview will be improved greatly. Thank you again Paul! With your help, I now have my dream career as a firefighter. I can’t wait to get started! Thank You"

Nick Cirillo

"Hey, Paul! I’m so excited to inform you that I have officially been hired with the local Fire Department. I was always skeptical of getting an interview coach as I didn’t want to sound like a robot during my interview. You did the complete opposite for me as you gave me the confidence I needed to really sell myself as a person. I walked out of the interview so positive and I owe a huge chunk of my success to you. In only one session you gave me so much good advice and tips that stuck with me during my interview. You saved lives your whole career and now continue to make young adults dreams come true by helping and guiding them to their dream job. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me make my dream a reality. Hope to see you soon"

Roger Gill

Read more testimonials...

"I wanted to let you know that I ranked 3rd overall this year in the recruitment process out of 550 candidates. I should begin training in the spring along as the additional entry tests go well. Thank you so much for your time, sir. I appreciate the light you shed on the interview preparation; it made a world of difference. Hope to send you a picture in 6 months of me at my grad. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom and insight." Liam T. "Hello Paul, Landon Ho here. I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I’m very excited to say that my interview went very well, and I was awarded the job. Thank you again for the coaching, it was a great help, I used those skills you taught me, and they loved my answers. I can’t believe my dream has come true, I’m very excited to be involved in as much as possible, and be the best firefighter I can be, thank you again Paul. Thank you" Landon Ho "Hello Paul, I am now officially a recruit firefighter and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you for the great coaching that helped me present my strengths, and explain my story at the Chief's interview. I fully believe your interview coaching was just as important as my other fire training to date. Thank you again, and I will be sure to pass on your name to anyone I meet that is looking to begin a career in the fire services." Eric Nanka "Hey Paul, Just wanted to drop you a quick line and let you know I passed my interview. I really appreciate your time and help in my preparation. I found the time we spent together to be invaluable. I really gained lots of confidence and a better understanding of how to bring my resume to life. Thank you very much and I will let you know if and when I am fortunate enough to make it onto the floor. Have a great day Paul and thanks again!" Liam Troy "Hi Paul, Good news! I have officially been offered a full-time firefighting position. You provided me with a solid foundation to organize my responses and experiences with confidence, enabling me to provide the best possible representation of myself during the interview. I am truly grateful for all of your coaching and advice and I will highly recommend you to others. Many thanks" Chris Hokin "Chief, I just wanted to say thank you for helping me throughout my journey of getting hired as a firefighter. After doing a few sessions with you and learning how to properly answer questions in an interview setting, I was able to get hired on with the Fire Department. With your help and guidance, I was able to be confident during the interview and also learn new skills that I will keep with me throughout my life. Thank you very much for all that you do." Gurdeep Malhi Hey Paul, Just letting you know that you can add me to your list of successful clients. I was promoted to the Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention today. Thanks again for all of your help!. Ron Beatty "Hi Paul, I am extremely excited to join a great department. I know it would not have been possible without the interview training I received from you! You taught me how to present my strengths and weaknesses in the most positive way possible and how to stay professional in an interview setting. Thanks!" Cameron Enns "Hello, Chief!! I have great news!!! I had my interview yesterday morning at 8 am. I received a call later in the afternoon from the city to inform me that I am through to the next step!! I want to thank you so much one last time for your insight, coaching, and mentorship. I couldn't have done it without your help. The details you provided me were invaluable and certainly made the interview process a lot more comfortable for me to go through. "We want to be a 12 out of 10 professional", great advice and mindset to have going into the boardroom. Thank you again for everything!!!" M Jones "Hi Paul, thank you for helping me prepare for my fire interview. With your insight and coaching, I was able to succeed in my interview and get hired on with my dream department. Thank you for all your help and I will gladly recommend you to anyone trying to achieve a career in the Fire service. Thanks again" NJ "Hi Chief, Just letting you know I have some good news - I got on with the Fire Department. I actually started this past week, so I have just completed the first week of training. Thank you for all of your advice and input - I can honestly say I wouldn't be a firefighter if it wasn't for your sessions. Understanding how to formulate answers and examples with value was key, and I wouldn't have been able to give solid answers in the interview if I hadn't done this beforehand. Looks as though two others in my hiring group had sessions with you as well. You're obviously doing something right, and we all appreciate it! Thanks again Chief!" Gregory "Hi Paul, I wanted to thank you for the great coaching and guidance you gave me during my interview prep sessions for firefighting. I entered my interview feeling confident and prepared and left feeling the same way. I am very happy to tell you I have indeed been hired and start training in just over a week. Thank you again for being a large part of my success" Jim Gallello "Hey Paul, I just wanted to let you know that I was successful in getting hired with the Fire Department. Just starting week 3 of training. Couldn't be happier I feel like I've won the lottery! Thanks so much for your help! I couldn't of done it without you" Brandon McArthur "Just wanted to say thanks for the help. I passed the interview, have a conditional job offer and did my medical on Wednesday I will definitely refer you to people when they ask" Ryan S "Hey Paul Olson, I Just wanted to thank you again for the interview help you gave me last year. I just received a job offer a few days ago and I know the advice you gave me really made a big difference and helped me get here. I'm incredibly excited to start my new career" Respectfully, Jesse Jakubczyk "Hi Paul, Just want to thank you for your help to get me prepared for my interview in Prince George. I got a call on Friday and was told I was put on the eligibility list for the upcoming retirements. Once again thanks for all your help in the process" Rob Jackson "You may add another statistic to your "hired" group. Thank you for everything Chief" Kevin Schmidt "I feel the coaching and advice I received through Paul brought me to the next level I needed to achieve in order to get a shot at my dream job. Not only did Paul take the time to explain how an interview worked, he worked with me in areas of weakness and brought a sense of confidence to the way I was able to communicate to the panel. I recently passed my interview, which was the first interview I had for a career position and give a ton of credit to Paul's teaching techniques. He was able to bring out my strengths in a presentable way to the panel. I would highly recommend Paul to all of those looking to get ahead and be confident going into facing an interview panel" John G "First off I would like to thank Paul Olson for the coaching we worked on for preparing for my VFRS interview. I would like to recommend Paul to anyone who is in the process of applying to a Fire Department and needs help or coaching through the interview process. I did multiple sessions with him and found his coaching and guidance invaluable. Early on I really struggled through some of the example interview questions. However after working with Paul and discussing, in-depth, my life & work experience he enabled me to answer these questions confidently. Thanks again" Martyn L. "Hey Paul! Its Khaled, I did an interview coaching session with you back in Feb for Corrections. I just want to let you know with your help that I got the Job! Thanks so much for the fantastic tips they were right up the alley of what they were looking for. I have some friends who are looking into the same thing and i will be sure to give them your name! I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to see me. I felt a level of comfort I hadn't felt before in an interview (my heart was still racing). The tools you showed me made all the difference in the world when I was facing the interview panel and I will use those skills whenever I am in that situation again. Thank you again for showing me how I can present my real self to an interview panel. Thank you again" Kyle Campbel "Hey Paul, I just wanted to let you know that I got hired. After our 2 sessions, I ended up in Chiefs interviews for 4 departments within a month or so of each other. I made the eligibility list for two of them and was hired by one. All the departments said my interview skills were very impressive. Thanks for all the help. You really helped me dig into what made my life experiences unique and changed how I was approaching the interview process. Thanks again" Nick S. "For everyone who is looking for that person to believe in you, Paul Olson is one person you want to have on your side. The way you conduct your training program is not like others. It's more than just studying questions over and over. Instead, you find qualities within us so that we can answer any questions about ourselves. This way, it's so genuine and unique and raw. When I went in for my interview, I was prepared for anything. Paul has given me all the tools I needed so that I can use them in a way that would really show who I am as a person. I want to say thank you very much. You are extremely professional and you made me feel as if I was actually in an interview. Practice makes perfect is what I believe in. If you work hard, you'll get it. That is what you made me do. I would highly recommend having Paul teach you about yourself, and to give you that confidence to make your dream come true" Ryan C. "Paul, I would first and foremost like to thank you for all your assistance throughout my Firefighting applications, and furthermore let you know that I've been successful in my pursuit of becoming a Career Firefighter. It is without question that your assistance, advice, and direction on the interview process made the difference in the end. I had the opportunity to go through interviews prior to my meetings with you which did not work out favorably for me. After meeting with you, and having you help me see the bigger picture and focus in on exactly what interview panels may be looking for yet still staying true to who I am, it paid off in the end as I was offered positions with 2 different departments. Thank you sincerely for your time and assistance, and for those who are considering Paul's services, he is fair, honest and incredibly knowledgeable and his coaching is worth every penny" Jeremy Bartlett "Hi Paul, I got hired and I'm sure it had to do with receiving coaching from you. I've been recommending you to everyone and explaining to them how you accentuate what makes each individual unique and desirable. I really feel that what you told me I should focus on to the panel specifically got me the job. Thanks a lot. I'm grateful." Cornelis Uys "Thought I would let you know I got the nod. Thank you so much for everything. I have been recommending you regardless but now maybe people will listen to me and actually give you a call. My sessions with you were very educational and extremely helpful. Thanks again" Torin Bateman "Just wanted to touch base with you! I'm first on my eligibility list at the Airport here! :) Couldn't have done that without you! Still waiting for a spot to open up, but keeping busy and taking courses with EMS in the meantime! Couldn't have done so well without your help. I continue to look back at your notes and just keep them fresh in my mind! Defiantly helped me with my confidence. It's been easier selling my skills in the little mock interviews I've done since. Just wanted to check in and say thanks again for everything." Carlie Bouwman. Winnipeg. "Paul, just wanted to let you know I got the job. Thanks again for the interview prep it really paid off!!" Alex Brogaard "Hi Paul. I had my interview this morning and boy! A complete 180 from my last interview, way more confidence and was able to create a nice "360" of the questions. Thanks again for seeing me." Thomas Goulet "Just wanted to thank you for the training I received from you last month. I managed to make it to the next stage of the Fire Department recruiting process, so it was a great investment Thanks again." Dylan M. "Just wanted to let you know how my Fire Department interview went. I had it Monday and they called the following day congratulating me on moving forward in the process. There is still a big process to go but regarding the interview, I just wanted to thank you very much for all the help and expertise. Was very beneficial and much appreciated." Riley Boychuk "I just wanted to say thank you again for your interview coaching! I have made it past my interview and have moved on to the reference check !! Thanks again!" Matt Frew "I accepted my conditional job offer with the Fire Services yesterday. You most certainly are one of the people I am thankful for in getting me to this point. I came to you looking for interview help. I thought we'd simply practice interview questions. What I got from meeting you was much more than expected. From reading my cover letter and resume beforehand, to your insight on the process itself, and to your teaching techniques you have a program that will give many more to come a fighting chance in their pursuit of a dream job. More importantly, I walked away from our second session a new person. An individual with confidence I never knew I had. You are one of the first people that made me feel that I was a good candidate for the job., based on my resume and simply knowing me for 3 hours. Your words of encouragement and I believe it was "don't let me down" were invaluable. I thank you. Thank you so much for what you do" Kyle Frost-Gill "Paul Olson was referred to me by another successful candidate. Meeting with Paul and having him walk me through the interview and specific questions was of great benefit to me. He helped bring out the emotions of why becoming firefighter was so important and what i felt could offer the department. I was successful in my first career interview and Paul's services no doubt had a hand in this" Successful Candidate "I feel the coaching and advice I received through Paul brought me to the next level I needed to achieve in order to get a shot at my dream job. Not only did Paul take the time to explain how an interview worked, he worked with me in areas of weaknesses and brought a sense of confidence to the way I was able to communicate with the panel. I recently passed my interview, which was the first interview I had for a career position and give a ton of credit to Paul's teaching techniques. He was able to bring out my strengths in a presentable way to the panel. I would highly recommend Paul to all of those looking to get ahead and to be confident going into facing an interview panel" John G. "For the last several years I have been preparing and working on improving my abilities, skills, and knowledge with the goal of obtaining a position with a career fire department. The one aspect I had been missing were interviews skills. Public speaking is not my strong point. Paul was able to take the time to help me learn how to comfortably answer the questions so that I hit all the key points while forming a clear picture of the experience or point I was trying to get across. I since have made it on to the eligibility list for a career department" Joe D. "I have been more than impressed with the level of professionalism of Paul as a coach and mentor. He has helped me to key into bringing out the best of my abilities, empowering me to believe in myself and my attributes. I would highly recommend anyone who is being interviewed to have Paul as your coach" Mark B. "Having never been through a panel interview with a fire department I didn't know what to expect. I was recommended by a family friend to see Paul and I am glad I did. I was nervous the first time I saw him but left with confidence. Paul gave me the information on what to expect in the interview. Seeing Paul helped get the nerves out. I went into my interview relaxed and confident because I knew I had prepared. I nailed the interview. I owe a big thanks to Paul for that. He is more like a mentor than a coach, takes the whole thing seriously, and I would recommend him to anyone who is going for a fire department interview" Chris W. "Paul was recommended to me by an associate who claimed that his managerial expertise and personal approach to career development may help me achieve my professional goals. After meeting Paul, I couldn't agree more. Paul conducts his own assessment of your interview strengths and weaknesses and is able to quickly focus on areas requiring improvement. I found his perspective to be honest, accurate and together we were able to work through lines of questioning that could have been problematic in the interview process. His unique model helps ensure you are receiving every possible benefit from your interview answers while validating them at the same time. This is an essential element for the interview success. I would recommend Paul to my closest associates" Deputy Fire Chief Ed W. "Feel the service really helped me reach my dream job. Not having been in the interview process for 10 years, let alone a panel interview, I was able to really wow my panel as I have never had such a positive response right away after an interview. I was able to take my strengths and really present them in a professional manner. I really have to thank Paul for this as I love my new career." Provincial Government Employed, Ghuman. "Out of all of the the investments I made towards preparing myself for my future, having retired Chief Olson as an interview coach was by far the best! By training me to understand the perspectives and systems of the interview, he helped me answer the questions in a systematic and clear way. He also taught me to write and present my resume in a strong and confident manner. I now have my dream career. I have no doubt that Paul helped me to stick out from the crowd" Firefighter Mark P.


connect with Paul olson

To connect with​ Paul, fill out the form below.

Or call him direct 1-604-655-7765

Thanks for filling the form out! Paul will get back to you shortly!

 Covid-19 Compliant 

Paul is following all recommended protocols.

All confidential interview preparation sessions are now being held via online video services using Zoom and Skype calls.

frequently asked questions


How do I get started?

Either call @ 1 604 655-7765 or email Paul @ using the form above.

Where are you located?

Paul is based out of Surrey, BC. If you're far away he offers Zoom or Skype video sessions.

How long does the coaching last and how much does it cost?

This presentation building session is two hours at $250.00 plus 5%GST. This is a full - packed meeting based around properly marketing yourself to the panel. My coaching is based around you understanding your values, skills and experience and how it relates to the profession. Just practicing PAST interview questions and trying to get them perfect is not what it's all about. The panel only needs to change one word in a question and all of your practicing is waisted time. Building a connection with the panel based on your self awareness, honesty and authenticity shows integrity. Panel members can easily spot a fraud, don’t let this be you.

The first hour includes resume review, training on the specifics of behavioural / competency based type questions, situational questions, general questions as well as learning how the panel grades your interview performance. Understanding that the employer has certain buying motivators and what your job is in answering the panels questions properly so they can do their job in giving YOU maximum deserved points. The second hour is based around mock interview questions. This is an opportunity to practice the interview skills just learned...

At the completion of the meeting you will receive information paperwork was well as homework to take home. The homework given is designed to lay out a path to follow in terms of preparation of your upcoming interview. Although there are no requirements, based your interview experience and desire to be fully prepared, follow up meetings are optional and may be recommended closer to the actual interview date.

What if I'm located far away from you?

Paul prefers to meet candidates in person however it’s very common that this is not possible due to distance. In order to hear your answers and make recommendations on your body language, options such as SKYPE, Messenger, Zoom and or face time works exceptionally well. If a video meeting is scheduled you will receive needed documents for the meeting by email the day prior.

What if I need a specialized resume built or edited that reflects the specific career that I'm applying for and what are the costs?

We offer a full professional cover letter and resume service. Each city or corporation we deal with has various specifics or required expectations of resumes. With the addition of our writer Andreas Schwartz, MBA, ONEL, I feel very confident you will receive a great resume. All resumes will be proof read by myself prior to sending out a final product...

Rates start at $250.00 and go as high as $350.00 based on time, plus 5% GST.