Interview: Brent Clayton

We were having a look at your bio and it’s amazing to see all the different things you’ve done. Tell us a bit about your background.

I grew up in a very small town in Victoria called Chewton (which had a population of 400). My mum was a school teacher whilst my dad was an ex-police officer.

After high school, I joined the army, hoping to become a helicopter pilot but missed the cut due to a lack of knowledge about the interview process.

My first professional job was with corrections where I was the youngest officer at the prison by a sizable 12 years. 

At that time I tried out for the fire service and once again got nailed at the interview process. This lead me to an outright obsession of learning absolutely everything I could about recruitment and in particular how to nail those interviews. The third time I went for a position with the fire service I was successful. In fact, I was successful with three other jobs I had applied for just to gain experience but didn’t actually want.

Once in the fire service I worked my way through the ranks, working on station, working within recruitment and instructing new recruits. This allowed me so many opportunities not just within the service but outside as well. One of my favourite things was being part of a TV gameshow filmed overseas in a team of firefighters.

My biggest passion project in the last five years has been turning my business, learning platforms and curriculum into the undisputable leaders in firefighter recruitment in Australia and New Zealand. We have a high quality team that act with integrity to give our clients the edge over the competition.

I am really proud of what we have created and what we will continue to develop as the industry changes. 


What does your business specialise in? How long have you been doing that for?

My business specialises in getting people careers as professional firefighters. We have been operating since 2009. We have evolved to be the leaders in fire service recruitment in Australia and New Zealand. We have helped more than 1,000 people obtain jobs in the emergency sector.

The fundamental areas we focus on are

1. Application

2. Aptitude or Cognitive Testing

3. Personality Profile or Psych Testing

4. Interview

5. Physical Aptitude

These areas are constantly changing and incorporating new methods of testing keeps us busy. What makes us stand out is the coaching and gap training we do to turbocharge our clients results and ensure they do not miss anything.


 What are some of the things which aspiring firefighter applicants often struggle with and are under prepared for?

Understanding the job, the organisation and the recruitment process. This goes for any job you are applying for in any industry.

You cannot expect to get a job if you don’t have an excellent understanding of both of these things, this is absolute key. Once you have this knowledge you can leverage the skill improvement areas for the recruitment process like aptitude test score improvement or interview coaching.

One of the biggest disappointments I see is people make it to interview but miss out; this is avoidable with the right help.

Aspiring firefighters can struggle with the combination of the aptitude and psych tests. It is also hard if someone expects to get a job straight off the bat without taking into consideration how competitive it can be, getting knocked back can be a struggle.


Fire Safety is obviously a very important part of today’s landscape at work and at home. How has this industry changed in your lifetime?

The biggest changes are things like smoke alarms that have been around for a while now but they have had a massive impact on the reduction of fatal fires. They have also reduced the number of fully developed structure fires that the fire service attends.

Building materials and appliances have become more combustible and appliances in particular seem to have more cases of malfunction resulting in fire due to lack of quality control on imports etc. On the building material front the average time for a room to become engulfed in flames in 1960 compared to now can be up to 10 times quicker just due to the nature of the materials.

Reduced regulation around fire equipment maintenance is showing a change in attitude towards the importance of having suitably qualified and experienced people doing the maintenance. 

In Australia and NZ, we're faring well in relation to fire safety as most of our building have been built during an era that requires fire safety standards to be adhered to compared to places like NYC & Europe that have many many older buildings.


Why should people be doing more to improve the fire safety of their home?

I think the answer is at the end of the question: it’s their home full of the people they love. Fire is extremely unforgiving and gets out of hand faster than people realise, therefore prevention is always the best policy and products to help you do this are more readily available than ever.


 We see large parts of Australia are often susceptible to bush fires. Are there measures which can be taken to stop those?

A lot of bushfires are caused by lightning strikes so cannot be stopped entirely but there are measures individuals and fire agencies can make. One of the biggest things we can do is reduce the available fuel around properties and high risk areas to reduce the severity and likelihood of bushfire.

Familiarise yourself with fire restrictions and rules around using high risk equipment during heightened fire danger periods will help reduce the frequency and impact of bushfire ignition. A lot of the time I will go to bushfires that have been started by industrial activities where the individual responsible claims they were unaware of the restrictions etc.

For fire agenices, there is massive scope for improvement in this area around technology, resource management and driving innovation around Incident management.


What fire safety items do you think all homes should have?

Fire alarms are a must in multiple areas of a home! The amount of lives I have seen saved first hand due to the simple smoke detector is astounding. They are cheap to buy and easy to install with minimal maintenance. Other measures I would recommend are a fire blanket in the kitchen, small fire extinguisher and outside a working hose. If you plan to have a fire, check with the fire agency as well as the council and ensure you have all the equipment required before starting the fire. In most cases there is good logical reason for the requirement of the equipment and conditions around lighting fires at a residential property.


Finally, Brent where can people find out more about you?


You can visit my website

or connect with me on Linkedin



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