Thread: Oral board help

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Question Oral board help

    So I've been practicing for the oral board in my home town, for the department I've volunteered at for a while. I've tryed writing answers, tape recorder, etc. I've made progress... I am just one of those quiet kind-of guys. I am not the type A personality. I do an excellent job at work, and I communicate fine with others, & I aced the tests so far. But even my chief pulled me aside and said- I hope you are practicing, I know you have trouble articulating and selling yourself. Any suggestions other than just more practice and mock orals??

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default ???

    Doing mock orals is a very good way to practice. It makes you communicate with the board and gets you in the right frame of mind when the time comes. Public speaking was hard for someone like me....I got over it by teaching classes for new recruits at drill school. You might not like it but...practice orals is the best way for you. I'm sure there are more ways and the next posters will fill you in.
    Good Luck!!
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  3. #3
    Permanently Removed
    CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002


    This might help...

    For me, when board asks a situational question, flash back in your mind you actually being there in your own fire station. If they ask a stealing question, picture you there, in the bunkroom with a real co-worker's wallet on the bed.

    On see yourself driving code 3, taking a BP, whatever. Hear the questions, pause and take your mind there. Paint the picture in real time with real people at a real place.

    I did this for a department in So. Cal. and came out #1 on their list. I have to admit, it was too easy. Works for me everytime.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-07-2009 at 01:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default The Best Oral Board Secret!

    A recent candidate had such a monotone voice I asked if he knew? He said yea, but that’s just my voice. I told him I didn’t believe that for a second. What can I do about it? I’ve been testing where I can for four years, going to school and work as a federal firefighter.

    Trying to get on his turf, I asked him during his coaching session what do you do with your time off? What are your interest, hobbies? What really rings your bell? Nothing seemed to work to break his monotone voice.

    That was until a few days later I get a call from an energized candidate. I didn’t recognize the voice. Yes, it was Mr. Monotone. He told me he didn’t realize how bad it was until he listened to the recording of his coaching session. He said, “Man I sounded retarded. I can’t believe how much stuff I left out. How many times I said “What Ever” and other stupid pause fillers I didn’t know I was using." The mystery of why this super qualified candidate could not get hired was solved by listening to a tape of what the panel had been hearing for four years.

    dirtfire, you wrote you have already started using a recorder. A hand-held recorder should go everywhere your car keys go. The more you use the recorder the better you will get at putting your answers and presentation together. The closest distance between you and the badge is picking up a tape recorder and hearing what's coming out of your mouth like Mr. Monotone! Yes a video camera is good. You need to see how you look in action. But you are trapped with a video camera. Mirror? Sure standing in front of a mirror is good. Hands down the hand held recorder is best.

    Some will say, “Well, if I practice it too much it will sound canned.” NO it won't! It sure will be planned though. Practice makes permanent. “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” One practice session with a tape recorder is worth 10 speaking out louds. After practicing, you will get to a point where your answers will get into your subconscious. That's where the magic begins. You can't be fooled.

    Many applicants want this job so bad they will do almost anything ethically and morally to get it. I guess that doesn't include using a recorder to get your timing, inflection, volume, where to cut out material, get rid of the uh's and other pause fillers, or to find out if you really sound like Donald Duck. You need to get married to your hand-held tape recorder. You need to hear what the oral board is going to hear out of your mouth. It's narrows the distance between you and the badge you're looking for!

    This is usually a guy thing. Guys think about their answers in their head and write them down. Then they think their answers are going to come out of their mouths like magic in the oral. Trust me, they don't! The brain and mouth don't work that way.

    Try this. Take 3X5 cards and write down your oral board questions. You can find our 30 Sample Oral Board Questions here Practice your answers with the recorder. If you hear something you do not like when you play it back, turn over the 3X5 card and write it down. The next time you go after that question, turn over the card first and see what you don't want to say.

    If you want to be one of the last of America's heroes, start asking your self this question: What am I doing that can best prepare me for the most important part of the hiring process? . . . The oral board. Because if you can't pass the oral board, or score high enough on the list, you don't get the job. Never! Ever! Ever! Now, where's your recorder?

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    coachleather's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Quiet candidate

    I have worked with several people who have difficulties on the oral board for the same reason. They were all great candidates they just had a hard time getting what they know out especially in stressful environments, which the oral board definately is. The biggest tip I gave to them and give to you is to practice, practice, practice. You need to hear yourself speak and become comfortable with that. You will be in a room speaking by yourself and need to get used to that, which for some is a huge step. Find a co-worker who would be willing to sit down with you after work to practice mock interviews, find a friend, find someone you volunteer with, I even had family members sit me down and give me serious mock interviews. The more you talk the better and more comfortable you will feel in the actual interview. Then you can focus on answering the questions correctly and with a BIG SMILE. Everyone likes a happy candidate.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Smile Thanks!!

    Just wanted to say thanks to Jaydudley, CALFFBOU, and especcily to Coachleather.
    The last oral board I took was 2-3 years ago, I did so bad I didn't even make the 70% passing score.
    My opinion-DON'T BUY ANY BOOKS OR VIDEOS!! They are virtually useless.
    I am a great FF, hard working, etc, I just was having trouble selling myself. I typed out all the oral borad questions I could think of, and my anwsers. Practiced with a tape recorder.
    And most importantly, no matter how painful for me personnally, I did mock orals in front of whoever would listen, and videotaped it.
    I also had the help of coachleather. THANK YOU!!!!!!! He was a huge help!!!
    I went from failing scores, to being #1 going into the chief's oral board, and I got the conditional offer of employment from my chief (in my home town) last week!!!! How awesome is that?!?
    I start the academy right away, and will begin shift work in 3 months, my dream come true!

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    Last edited by dirtfire; 01-31-2009 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Double post please remove

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Help with oral board...
    By thejdubb02 in forum Hiring & Employment Discussion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-29-2008, 02:34 PM
  2. Oral board help...
    By thejdubb02 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-14-2006, 07:39 PM
  3. First Oral board
    By sleflar in forum Colorado
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-15-2005, 10:25 PM
  4. Help with the Lt. Oral Board
    By ff7134 in forum Career Advancement
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-29-2004, 11:48 AM
  5. First Oral Board
    By tsbacker in forum Hiring & Employment Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-10-2004, 09:46 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register