How can you make a really great first impression to carry you through the oral board interview to get your badge?
This from our Fire Captain Son Rob:
Luck is Given to the Prepared!
In the weeks before Christmas there are two types of people, those who are happy and enjoying the season and those no so happy. The difference is the first group prepared, their shopping done, cards written they relaxed and enjoyed themselves. Meanwhile the second group is trying to find that last minute gift before their car was done filling up at the pump and they have to pay.
I was outside a building where oral interviews where taking place. I saw a guy sitting in his car writing like mad on a piece of binder paper. Another guy walking by looked in the car and acted like he was thinking if maybe he had written some stuff down he might not feel like throwing up right then. These guys have never shopped early for Christmas.
Right after Christmas, you are probably saying, as most of us do, I will have all my Christmas shopping done by October next year. That same attitude should apply to your preparation for your oral interview.
Please allow me to get on my soapbox for a moment. If you have put in an application, taken the written, and physical ability, you have an oral coming up...If you are in a fire academy, working as a volunteer, in high school, or are twelve years old and are going to be a firefighter some day YOU HAVE AN ORAL INTERVIEW IN YOUR FUTURE; YOU JUST DON'T KNOW THE DATE YET.
The choice is up to you. How do you think you can present yourself in the best light? If you have spent weeks or even months preparing or you are sitting in your car an hour before the interview still trying to figure out what you have done to prepare and hoping it looks something like what you put on you application.
My suggestion is you kill two birds with one stone. Prepare for your interview like you know you should, and next year you can give everyone a picture of you with your new badge for Christmas.
The oral board gets you the badge!
After seeing clone after clone after clone candidates, someone will walk into the oral board room and BAM, BAM, BAM they set the room on fire! They nail their answers. The raters are thinking we've been waiting all week for this. We want to give them a badge! You can do it too! I haven't worked with a candidate yet who couldn't do it. They just didn't know they could. Just minor corrections are usually all that's needed to separate them from the clone pack of candidates.
Candidates have about a 20-minute opportunity for a 25+-year career. The ultimate goal is to have the least amount of distractions in your oral board. Everyone has his or her opinions. It seems once a person gets hired, they instantly become experts on how to get hired and quickly forget how hard it really was to nail that badge. Since oral board scores are calculated in hundredths of points (82.15, 87.63, 90.87, etc), bad or incorrect information can place a candidate less than one point out of the running and put them out of the process. I have seen this all too often.
Question: I just had an oral where I was asked to tell them about myself. I proceeded to "dump the whole load". Two questions later I was asked "What have you done to prepare yourself for the position of firefighter." I was stumped. I had just told them everything and now had nothing to say without reiterating.
Reply: One of the worst things you want to do is reiterate in the body or closing of your oral board.
This might help: The dilemma is shall I have a short or long answer for the typical opening question "Tell us a little about yourself". Remember "a little". This is just an ice breaker question to get you comfortable in the chair. A one-minute or less answer about you and your hobbies is all that is needed here. They don't need your name (they already have it) and NEVER tell them your age.
A "Nugget" here: If they look baffled after your short answer, ask if they want more. They usually won't.