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  1. #1
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    Default Tell Us About Yourself

    It sounds like a simple enough question, but having never been to an interview before, whats the best way to take it? Should you just tell about yourself & interests, or tell your history & experience in firefighting? I'm just not sure what the best approach to it is.


  2. #2
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    generally, they want to know about you, family, life experiences etc..

    just talk about your family, not into huge depths, but siblings, mum, dad, etc etc, pets, interests.

    then maybe progress onto careers, training, education etc.

    and then future goals that you have set, where you want to be in your life in 10 years etc..

    hope this helps a bit..

    oh.. and talk to them, so look them in the eye, dont fidget etc..

    - Dave
    Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand.
    Station 31
    Volunteer Appliance 312

  3. #3
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    Default Short or Long Opening?

    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 icebreaker question to get you comfortable in the chair. Whatís real important to understand here is that this answer is usually not scored! Thatís right; there is generally not a box to score the answer for an opening or closing statement on the rating sheet.

    A one minute or less answer about you and your hobbies is all that is needed here. A "Nugget" here: If they look baffled after your short answer, ask if they want more. They usually won't.

    Most candidates make a big error on this question by dumping the whole load on why they want to be a firefighter, what they have done to prepare, why this city and on and on. That's not what this question is about. It's only to get you comfortable in the chair. Then, when the panel starts asking why they want to be a firefighter, what have they done to prepare and the other standard 30 possible oral board questions http://www.eatstress.com/thirty22.htm they have to reiterate what they have already said. They lose valuable time and points here.

    When some candidates start talking in an oral, itís like going on a journey. There could be no final destination. Most panel members arenít packed for the trip. I asked a candidate to tell me a little about himself during private coaching one day. I stopped him 12 minutes later. I said you have just used up 12 minutes of a 20 minute oral. What do you think we have time for now?
    Last edited by CaptBob; 05-20-2009 at 12:03 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Default

    I asked a candidate to tell me a little about himself during private coaching one day. I stopped him 12 minutes later. I said you have just used up 12 minutes of a 20 minute oral. What do you think we have time for now?
    Did this really happen, or is it just an example you made up to illustrate your point?
    I can't imagine anyone on the boards I have sat on as a firefighter, or the boards I went through as a candidate, saying something like this.
    Sure, we may have thought it, but to actually say it would seem out of character for most of the professionals I work with on these boards.
    Was this on a smaller dept board?
    Maybe that's the difference.
    A larger City/County testing process is usually so structured that I just can't imagine someone on the panel going this far off script.

    I'm just curious if someone would actually say something so out of place with the professional image I have seen presented by most career officers and firefighters sitting on boards.

  5. #5
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default Tell us about yourself

    Of the many boards I've been on Large and Small if the candidate wanders off or drags out his/her answer I would stop them and tell them that we have to move on. However, if the candidate while answering the question opens the path to the panel to expand on ...so be it. Be careful when you answer a question....answer just the question and DO NOT ELABERATE!! if you go down that path your soft underbelly is exposed and who knows where the questions will go.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
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  6. #6
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    Default

    Jay is right. Some candidates give way, way too much information.

    Note in the original post that this was a private coaching session not an actual oral board. Yes, this actually happened.

    I had talked to this candidate a few times before the coaching session because he lived in our area. Like some other candidates he rambled. Made a long answer endless. So, when we did the coaching session I let him go on the first question ďTell us a little about yourself. Watching the clock on the wall 12 minutes later we were closing in on Montana. Thatís when I stopped him and said you have just used up 12-minutes of a 20 -minute oral. What do you think we have time for now?

    This candidate had taken 32 tests before the coaching session. Like too many, he was trying to give way too much information. Trying to give us a dump truck when we just needed a trailer. A blue print when we just needed a sketch. The mystery was solved why he wasnít moving forward in the hiring process. Two tests after the coaching session he was hired by a big agency.

    "Captain Bob" www.eatstress.com

  7. #7
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    Default

    Could someone tell me a 'sample" one? I'm just trying to get a general idea without overkill. Should I just include basic background and a few interests...current job...past jobs...that you like music???...does it matter if its relevant to firefighting? I would assume if it was, it might give them more info, but too they just might want to know what kind of person they have to live with 24 hrs at a time.

  8. #8
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    heres one i used recently to get my current job..

    Im Dave blah blah, 22 years old, live in porirua with my parents and younger brother who is 16, i attended st patricks college silverstream, have been to polytech where i studied automotive electrical engineering and have done a building apprenticeship, i enjoy the outdoors which includes quad biking, hunting, fishing and was also in the NZ ARMY Territorial Force while studying....

    etc etc..

    nothing to formal, but gives enough to the interviewer to get a bit about you and what sorta person you are etc.
    Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand.
    Station 31
    Volunteer Appliance 312

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