After investing huge amounts time and money for the promotional written test that can be weighted as only forty percent of the total score, most candidates do little or nothing preparing for the remaining sixty percent in the interview process. It's all presentation skills at the assessment center. It doesn't take much to separate you from the other clone candidates.
Events like Detroit's Devils Night can be a great example how to use your personal life experiences in answering questions in an oral board. It might spark a personal experience story you can use in your next oral.
Steve was going for his third engineers test. Even though he had the knowledge and acting time experience, he had not made it high enough on the previous lists to get the badge. When asked questions, he would just give the standard technical answers. Everything changed when he stated caboosing signature stories as part of his answers.
Steve was a firefighter in Arizona. He had also been a firefighter in Detroit. You have heard of Devils Night during Halloween? Steve had worked many a Devils Night attacking a fire, picking up and moving to another fire. I asked him if he had ever used these stories in his answers during testing. He said, "No." I marvel why candidates have these great "Nugget" treasure stories that no one has ever heard.
These stories can demonstrate their experience and they do not use them. During his next engineers test, Steve was asked if he were fighting a fire and was given an order to pick up and move, how would he do it? He told the panel how he would do it technically and then took the panel on a Detroit Devils Night recreating the magic, excitement of the actual events when he had to pick up and move all night. Steve could not believe the difference in his testing score. Firefighters love firefighter stories. He was confident and conversational because he was on his own turf. His signature stories. His own experiences. Oh, by the way, Steve got the badge this time!
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Fire "Captain Bob" Smith has coached countless entry-level and promotional candidates to get their badge. Over 2,000 candidates have received their badges from this program. He is a retired, 28-year veteran firefighter from Hayward, Calif. Captain Bob is a well-known speaker, author of the audio/video program "Conquer the Job Interview" and the books "Eat Stress For Breakfast" and "Fire Up Your Communication Skills." He is a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association. You can book him as a speaker or get a copy of his books and tapes by calling toll free at 888-238-3959. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Web site: www.eatstress.com