Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
Closed Thread
Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Panel Interview

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    281

    Default Panel Interview

    Hey all,
    Are there any tips you can give regarding a panel interview in front of 6 or 7 people on how to stand out? I've been prepared for an oral interview but just found out that it is a panel interview I have this week. I've talked with a member of the prospective department I will be interviewing with and he said the 5 or 6 questions they will ask will be situational questions. Has anyone gone through one of these or conducted one? Any info would be great seeing as how my interview is Tuesday. Thanks!!
    Evan
    Firefighter/NREMT-B


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    138

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by evanbell View Post
    Hey all,
    Are there any tips you can give regarding a panel interview in front of 6 or 7 people on how to stand out? I've been prepared for an oral interview but just found out that it is a panel interview I have this week. I've talked with a member of the prospective department I will be interviewing with and he said the 5 or 6 questions they will ask will be situational questions. Has anyone gone through one of these or conducted one? Any info would be great seeing as how my interview is Tuesday. Thanks!!
    Any good interviewer knows when someone has had the questions ready to go in their head.

    And aside from that, you need to tell them what they want to hear, without sounding like a programmed robot.

    Hope to whoever you pray to that the panel is a human one, and not the upper management robot task force that plagues so many departments these days.

    Be firm with your answers, think about it, and for the love of god... If you KNOW your answer is right, and they try and sway you... hold fast! The last person they want is an indecisive one.

    Its just an oral board, but with more people. Eye contact, professional demeanor, don't slouch, don't do nervous twitches, etc.

    Be yourself and you'll do good.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ticonderoga View Post
    Any good interviewer knows when someone has had the questions ready to go in their head.

    And aside from that, you need to tell them what they want to hear, without sounding like a programmed robot.

    Hope to whoever you pray to that the panel is a human one, and not the upper management robot task force that plagues so many departments these days.

    Be firm with your answers, think about it, and for the love of god... If you KNOW your answer is right, and they try and sway you... hold fast! The last person they want is an indecisive one.

    Its just an oral board, but with more people. Eye contact, professional demeanor, don't slouch, don't do nervous twitches, etc.

    Be yourself and you'll do good.
    Thanks...I think I should be good then.
    Evan
    Firefighter/NREMT-B

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    2,464

    Default

    A firefighter interview is like no other. The oral board is usually made up of 3 or more raters. In your situatution it's 6 or 7 against one. It can be most intiminating.

    Practicing with a hand held recorder that goes everywhere your car keys go will help your hear what the panel is going to hear out of your mouth and make a better presentation.

    A candidate asked these questions:

    I recently went through an interview and they asked these questions and was wondering how you guys would answer these!!!! I felt very unprepared for these types of questions. does ne other dept. ask these similar questions??

    1)you are a rookie firefighter and you have no doubt in your mind that your lieut. is sleeping with your captains wife. you know this because you live across the street from your captain??? very weird but thats what they asked word for word.

    2) you are a rookie firefighter going on an interior attack on a structure fire n your captain orders you to go in n you know if you go in that you will die. they even say that i have flashbacks before entering???

    3) another question they asked if you see a veteran firefighter taking oil home but when you ask him about it he says we will replace it. what do you do??

    any thoughts or opinions would be very helpful!!!!

    Reply Captain Bob: These are scenario-based questions that can throw candidates off their game as it did you.

    Notice how they state “you are a rookie firefighter” and the problem exists with a captain, veteran firefighter or someone else of higher rank to throw you off your game.

    With scenario based questions you want to first verify what you suspect. You can accomplish this by asking what are you doing, is that yours or confirming an order back to the officer to verify what you heard.

    I believe there are only 30 oral board questions. They can be disguised in hundreds of different ways.

    Here is a simple way to break a disguised question down. Dissect the question down to its simplest term, one word, of what the question is really about (i.e. stealing, drugs, drinking, etc.). Once you have removed the disguise, you can place it in one of the 30 plus oral board questions you already have answers for. You can find a list of the 30 sample oral board questions here: http://www.eatstress.com/thirty22.htm

    One way to help you do this is picture a piece of paper with a line drawn down the center. On the left of the line are issues dealing with ethics, such as stealing, drugs, or drinking. With ethical issues, you ask appropriate questions to determine what you suspect.

    If true, you don’t deviate . . . you go straight up to a supervisor. On the right side of the line is anything to do with getting along with others; you will go to great lengths to work it out before going to a supervisor. If you can decide what side of the line the question belongs, you have a better chance of knowing how to answer the question.

    Using the above formula and looking at the questions you wrote consider these “Nugget” ideas:

    Question 1: “you are a rookie firefighter and you have no doubt in your mind”
    When an unusual question comes up like this it’s probably because it happened in their or a neighboring department.

    Big clue here “no doubt in your mind” Well; your mind can be like a dangerous neighbor. Sometimes you shouldn’t go in alone. The oral board can be like fantasyland. What you do in real life might be different, but not here.

    There are 2 schools of thought here. One, it’s none of your business. If they ask more just be the broken record and state it’s none of your business. If you lapse into action without verifying you could open a can of worms you might never be able to close. Remember although it shouldn’t make any difference in a scenario, they said, “you are a rookie”. It could make a huge difference here.

    The second school of thought is to start investigating. If you’re bent on going in this direction first ask the question, “What are you doing?” to the person on the panel who asked you the question like they’re the officer involved. That answer would probably determine what you will do next.

    Question 2: Violating a Direct Order Scenario:
    The way this question is usually presented is you are being sent in alone. In this scenario type question one panel member is usually asking you this question. If you can create banter back and forth with the panel member, as if they were the Captain who is giving you the order, you can start building up valuable points.

    You can start out by repeating the order to make sure you understood it. The Captain will confirm that’s the order. Than you can banter back and forth if you notice safety concerns. Once you get to point where the rater officer wants the task carried out ask him what the department policy is with sending one man into a fire? They will probably say they have a 2 in to out policy. Then, look directly at the panel member and ask, “As my captain are you asking me to violate department policy?” If the answer comes back yes, that’s what you will do.

    Hey, in real live you might do something else. But again the oral board is fantasyland in many ways. Just go through the drill. You could add that you don’t know what the Captains plan is or what additional resources they have coming that could be in place before you advance a line, perform a rescue or any other emergency situation.

    A recent candidate got to the point where you were and he refused to follow the order. Later in the interview a panel member gave him the opportunity to revisit his decision. That should have been a clue they wanted him to follow the order.

    More on violating a direct order here: http://eatstress.com/directorder.htm
    Question 3: another question they asked if you see a veteran firefighter taking oil home but when you ask him about it he says we will replace it. What do you do??

    If they fire up a question that sounds like stealing, it’s going to be about stealing. If they fire up a question that sounds like drinking on the job, it’s going to be about drinking on the job. If they fire up a question about taking drugs, it’s not going to be about aspirin.

    Using the formula again once you take the disguise off what is this scenario question about? Appears to be stealing, eh? What side of the line is it on? Is steeling tolerated? Against the law? Violation of public trust of a sworn officer?

    Here again verify first i.e.: Act like the person on the panel is the one who is involved with taking the oil. Establishing banter with them can help you rack up more points. Ask, What are you doing? Is that yours? If they won’t do the banter with you, then you play both parts. The question and the answer i.e. I would ask him is that was his. If he answered no and it wasn’t any of my business. I would say, well, I see you doing it and now I’m part of the problem. Why don’t “WE” go talk to the captain? If he won’t go, I will.
    What could be stealing confuses most candidates.

    A large city presented this question as you come in the locker room and see a senior firefighter taking a candy bar out of someone’s gym bag. Too many candidates thought and said hey it’s only a candy bar. Well, what if this had been the guys wallet? Well, that’s different. Then treat the candy bar like a wallet because it’s still stealing. Those that did not treat this question as stealing failed the question.

    More on scenario questions here: http://eatstress.com/scenario.htm
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  5. #5
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    1,252

    Default answers

    As one who has sat on the other side of the table let me say this. If the facts remain the same ......stand fast on your answer. However ...if the facts in the question CHANGE and you think you need to change your answer...please do. I've seen too many candidates who were told to stick to their answers that they end up jumping off a bridge because their Captain told them to. Think first before you spout out your answer and try to relax. They are not there to brow beat you...just find out who and what type of candidate you are.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    281

    Default Timeline

    If the results of our interview and recommendations by the panel were handed over to the chief, say on Tuesday, typically what is the timeline I'd be looking at before hearing from them? All we would have left are a medical eval, physical and drug screen.
    Evan
    Firefighter/NREMT-B

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    138

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by evanbell View Post
    If the results of our interview and recommendations by the panel were handed over to the chief, say on Tuesday, typically what is the timeline I'd be looking at before hearing from them? All we would have left are a medical eval, physical and drug screen.
    Depends on every factor you could imagine. Department size, workload of staff, mood of management, the weather.

    I would tell yourself 2 weeks and feel good about it

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ticonderoga View Post
    Depends on every factor you could imagine. Department size, workload of staff, mood of management, the weather.

    I would tell yourself 2 weeks and feel good about it
    Awesome...that's what I figured. Either hear from them next week or the first week of Feb...as long as they want me! I feel like I did well though, we'll see!
    Evan
    Firefighter/NREMT-B

  9. #9
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    6,520

    Default

    Here is my answer to the situation question. It works very well for me....

    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, real sounds 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.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    Here is my answer to the situation question. It works very well for me....

    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, real sounds 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.
    That's pretty much what I did just using situations from my current job. Since the station I volunteer with runs such few calls, I have very little experience and didn't have many stories to use from there.
    Evan
    Firefighter/NREMT-B

  11. #11
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    6,520

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by evanbell View Post
    If the results of our interview and recommendations by the panel were handed over to the chief, say on Tuesday, typically what is the timeline I'd be looking at before hearing from them? All we would have left are a medical eval, physical and drug screen.
    My advice- Once the interview is done, go home and forget about it. Why? Because you're already focused on the next department youre testing with.

    Test with several agencies incase something doesnt pan out. And then one of those departments will contact you when you least expecting it. Its kinda like dating.

    Move on, test on, score high.

    Bou
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-21-2009 at 08:32 PM.

  12. #12
    Forum Member FireEeyore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    145

    Default One that I got

    This was a question I received a long time ago that even still today I am torn about from an unnamed department in Texas...

    It went something like this:

    " You are a rookie firefighter for your department. The department is testing a new type of helmet and your station is chosen to test it out. Your Captain and crew do not like the new helmet and often drop it on purpose and sometimes refuse to wear it. How do you handle the situation?"

    There were a few follow up questions that asked things like
    "What do you tell the staff when they ask you about the helmet"

    This is how I answered it...

    I said that the first thing I would do is actually wear the helmet and try to give it a chance so I could give it a good and honest review. The second thing I would do is try to encourage my work mates to try to give it a chance as well. I also said that I would make sure that the helmet was safe and possibly do some research on my own. I told them that when asked ( by the 3rd party organization I assume?) about the helmet I would tell them that the rest of my crew did not actually wear the helmet for the entire testing duration.

    This was a tough question. I felt that I shouldn't surpass the chain of command yet at the same time I didn't want to really confront my captain and tell him what he should or shouldn't do. I am still interested in how other people might have answered this one.

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    2,464

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FireEeyore View Post
    I felt that I shouldn't surpass the chain of command
    That should have been your only answer and kept repeating it no matter how many follow up questions they asked.

    They said you were a rookie, right?

    "Captain Bob" www.eatstress.com
    Last edited by CaptBob; 01-21-2009 at 08:24 PM.

  14. #14
    Forum Member paceyourrace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    22

    Exclamation Blah Blah Blah

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptBob View Post
    That should have been your only answer and kept repeating it no matter how many follow up questions they asked.

    They said you were a rookie, right?

    "Captain Bob" www.eatstress.com
    BLAH BLAH BLAH.... It's the same stuff everyday with you

    Captain Bob,

    Go sell your mombo jumbo in another forum.

  15. #15
    Forum Member coachleather's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Evan I'm curious how your interview went, and how after reading this wonderful forum you answered the situational questions? Hope it went well.
    CL

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by coachleather View Post
    Evan I'm curious how your interview went, and how after reading this wonderful forum you answered the situational questions? Hope it went well.
    I sent you an email through your account here. I couldn't fit everything on here. I'm just looking to see what you think about my answers. It's been over 2 weeks since my interview and still no call. They started handing out offers on Friday but they asked me to get info from Ohio that hasn't gotten back to me yet so I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it or what. Check your email and get back to me though. Thanks!
    Evan
    Firefighter/NREMT-B

  17. #17
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    1,252

    Default Put in your time

    Pace....Looks like you've been on this site for a whole four months and that's all you have to say is Blah Blah Blah. How about some constructive information instead of childish blabber....
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  18. #18
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    6,520

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paceyourrace View Post
    BLAH BLAH BLAH.... It's the same stuff everyday with you

    Captain Bob,

    Go sell your mombo jumbo in another forum.
    Pace- Way to make the California people in here look bad. If you got a constant problem with Bob, send it in a PM (private message) Dont try to jump on the bandwagon in here if you cant back it up.

    Bou
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 02-04-2009 at 11:37 AM.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-17-2011, 03:37 PM
  2. panel interview
    By smooth in forum Testing & Fitness
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-02-2006, 01:32 PM
  3. Community panel interview
    By freakyjello in forum Hiring & Employment Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-23-2006, 08:30 PM
  4. Interview panel wants to know if you have questions for them
    By sergijm in forum Hiring & Employment Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-23-2005, 07:20 PM
  5. Top mount panel or side mount panel
    By HIangleLT in forum The Engineer
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 04-19-2000, 11:22 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