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If you could read just one article about how to turn your oral board scores into a badge this is it. I challenge you to read this and future articles and not change how you sell yourself in your next oral interview.

Why do some candidates gain their badges - - - while too many become frustrated trying everything possible to make it on the list high enough to be considered? What if there was a way you could convert your skills and odds from just making the list to being in the top 15 going for the chiefs interview to get a real shot at a badge?

The Problem is Poor Oral Board Skills!

Since 100% of your score in obtaining a firefighter job is in the oral board, what are you missing that's keeping you from gaining a badge?

Bottom line most candidates don't do enough interviewing to get good at it. This is also true for any job interview. You've got around 20 minutes for a 25+-year career. How are you going to stun the oral board panel to convince them to give you the badge over the other candidates?

Too many candidates do poorly on their oral boards. The problem is most of them don't know how poorly they are doing. I've seen it too often after being on over 100 oral boards. It's the most misunderstood and least prepared for portion of the testing. I've seen candidates with great credentials, but can't present the package at the interview. And, if you can't present the package, you don't get the job . . . Period! Never! Ever!

With all respect to the following comment, this is one of the most important clues why candidates have trouble in their oral boards:

"I recently had an interview, and I know my answers were great especially after hearing how another candidate answered them. He made the list, and I did not. Go figure!" Jed.

This is the problem! Most candidates think their answers are great, when they aren't. If their answers were as great as they thought, they would make the list and get a badge. They listen to other candidates and firefighters who make them into clones. Have you noticed, that once a person becomes a firefighter, they are instantly the experts on how to get hired?

A big key learning tool is practicing with a tape recorder to hear what the panel is going to hear out of your mouth. But ninety-nine percent of the candidates I talk to aren't practicing with a tape recorder. I asked a college program recently how many had been practicing with a tape recorder daily. No hands. How about weekly then? Nope. None. O.K. how about monthly? Finally three hands went up out of a total of 40. Then, don't be confused by why you're not getting high enough on the list to get a call back to play the part of a firefighter. The mystery has been solved. More on tape recorders in a future article.

If you're passing the written and agility, which are usually pass/fail, and you're not placing high enough on the oral, that's where the problem exists. What most candidates do if they don't place high enough on the oral is go back and try to pack on more credentials. "Oh, I have to finish my degree or get through that academy" They do little to nothing in gaining the skills for the oral board, which is usually 100% of the score. If you don't do anything to improve your oral board skills nothing is going to change, you will never, ever see that badge. The oral board is for all the marbles. This is where the rubber meets the road.

"Stop looking in the magnifying glass at others . . . and start looking in the mirror at your self. That's where the problem is."

Candidates who get this far in the process usually get discouraged and tell me they feel like they have hit a wall. They don't know what to do next. Some of their friends (with fewer credentials) have been hired. They're frustrated and embarrassed.

This is an e-mail recently received from a candidate. This is how fast things can change:

I have many certifications including Paramedic. The only hindrance that I found myself with was not passing the oral. Since ordering your program, I was nailing the interviews. Getting hired over the auxiliaries at their own departments, and with a heck of a lot less experience. Your program and techniques helped me excel past the other candidates. I even had one city Fire Chief personally call me at home to set up a Chief's oral, (had to decline, due to the fact that I was at orientation for another dept.). To make a long story short, nothing counts until you have the badge, nothing. For all of the candidates out there that don't believe this, try passing and ranking #1 on orals with a stuttering problem . . . I did. Thanks Captain Bob - Dave

Remember: "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!" Ask Dave

Has any what you've read made sense? Would you go on an African safari without a guide? Then why would you go to an oral interview without a guide? Would you cross a river without a guide to show you where the rocks are so you can make it across the river without being washed away? Haven't you been beat up enough yet? We would like to work with you to turn things around. It's been said that when the student is ready to learn, the teacher appears. Are you at this point now? We can help you wherever you are in the process. From the written test, physical agility, resume, oral board, background, psychological, polygraph to the promotional interview.

We can shorten the learning curve to the closest point between you and the badge. Like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, we're not going to give you anything you don't already have. We're just going to show you where it is. There is a badge out there for you. You just haven't seen it yet. We will show you how to nail it!

Steve Prziborowski, Fire Captain, Santa Clara County Fire Department wrote:

"Do what you have to do be more marketable so you can take more tests and have something more to offer a department, but remember that it all comes down to that 15 to 30 minute oral interview. I've seen some awesome candidates with resumes packed full of accomplishments that couldn't sell them self in an interview to even make the top 50%."

"Getting the job of your dreams is like winning the lottery!" Jerry Price, Firefighter

"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob" Author of Becoming A Firefighter, Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards, and It's Your Turn in the Hot Seat!
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