1. #1
    eB
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    Default The Interview went great until....

    So yesterday I had my interview for Norfolk, VA Fire Rescue. I was so nervous I was physically sick to my stomach. I would say as a whole the interview went good. However, during sometime of the interview one of the individuals that was interviewing me gave me a piece of paper with a list of core values on it. She said "select the 3 core values of which you think are the most important". So hesitantly I did.

    I selected Accountability, Honesty, and Leadership. Here is where I went wrong and I think I might have chose my fate. Safety was one of the things on the paper. I couldn't believe after I thought back to the interview that I did not select safety instead of leadership. I mean safety is the reason firefighters exist. I was so nervous that apparently I was not thinking straight.

    Man it is tough to think that it took me two years to get this far in the hiring process and it only took 3 minutes to most likely loose my chances of going to the academy. I will be receiving a call either today or Monday as to whether or not I need to put my two weeks in. The reason I posted this was because I want your opinion about the situation. Please understand I am not looking for someone to ease my mind or tell me it will be okay kiddo, I just want someones outside perspective about the situation.

    Thank you,
    Eric

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    Just my opinion, but I wouldn't start 2nd guessing your answers before you have even heard back from them.

    You have no idea what is going on in the heads of the panel or what they are looking for. Maybe it was a test to see not what 3 you selected, but how quickly you made the decision, or how you defended your answer, or...

    I just would try to not let this drive you crazy until you know for sure.

    Try to stay positive and know that you did your best. I (and I'm sure a lot of others here) have been in your shoes before.
    Last edited by yjbrody64; 11-20-2009 at 01:53 PM. Reason: I'm anal

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    I wouldn't beat yourself up quite yet. Sure safety would have been a safe answer, but you don't know what the panel was looking for. Did you have a chance to explain your answers, if you did and you explained why you choose your answers well then you will probably have a better chance.

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    Thank you for your insight yjbrody. It is greatly appreciated. You're right, there is no sense in beating my self up over it. I know that I gave it my best and defended my reasons for what I had chose to the best of my ability. I made it a point to let them know that I wanted to be a Professional Firefighter. I said "I just want all of you to know that I am fired up about this; and this is what I want".
    Last edited by eB; 11-20-2009 at 01:35 PM.

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    yes, Golzy I did get a chance to explain my answers. I said accountability because you should be responsible for your own actions and not pass the buck, if you did something wrong fess up to it. For honesty I said simply because lying is not the way to do things. and Leadership because it is important to keep your peers motivated and ready to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eB View Post
    yes, Golzy I did get a chance to explain my answers. I said accountability because you should be responsible for your own actions and not pass the buck, if you did something wrong fess up to it. For honesty I said simply because lying is not the way to do things. and Leadership because it is important to keep your peers motivated and ready to go.
    Those sound like good explanations to me. I'm sure a lot of candidates listed "safety" as one of their choices, maybe the panel appreciated hearing other choices for a change, just a thought. Let us know what happens.

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    Often there are no right answers to these questions, but more important are how you explain your answer. I'm thinking that you're beating yourself up far too easily. If I was on the board I'd think Safety as a core value could be as much a negative as a positive, your explanation would be key.

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    You guys are right. I probably am counting myself out way to early. I will definitely keep you all posted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eB View Post
    I selected Accountability, Honesty, and Leadership. Here is where I went wrong and I think I might have chose my fate. Safety was one of the things on the paper. I couldn't believe after I thought back to the interview that I did not select safety instead of leadership. I mean safety is the reason firefighters exist.
    Having been on an interview panel once, I can say that some answers don't have "correct" answers. As yjbrody64 suggested, some questions are asked simply to see how you respond to them instead of to hear a particular answer.

    Also, know there are few places with deeper BS than a fire department interview panel. Lots of folks "want to give back to their community." Lots of people "want this more than anything." And you know there are going to be applicants who "have wanted to be a firefighter since they were a little boy."

    With so many answers the same, what makes the difference is how you carry yourself, how you interact with the interviewers and the level of confidence (not ****iness) you have in yourself and what you're saying.
    Last edited by cozmosis; 11-20-2009 at 02:38 PM. Reason: Firehouse.Com won't let me type "c o c k i n e s s"

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    I completely understand what you are saying Cozmo. I didn't at all try to give them BS. I told them straight up that this is not something I have wanted to do my whole life. I told them That this is something I wanted since I became interested and applied 2 years ago. Then I told them that I knew this was something I definitely wanted to do when I did a ride along with a buddy of mine who is a volounteer emt for Virginia Beach. I told them how I went to a major crash scene and got to help lift the stretcher and do small roles to help and that I knew that this was it. This is something I want to do for a long time.

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    And right there you have part of the answer (literally your "nugget") for the question "Why do you want to be a firefighter?"

    Sounds like the scenario presented to you was the one question they were able to ask that gets the candidate to think on their feet rather than present their rehearsed answer. Like everyone else is saying; don't beat yourself up over it. Not every candidate is going to pick the exact same words.

    On another note, this also shows how unprepared you were for the interview. Being able to present "core values" in a firefighter and how you exemplify those values should not have been that much of a surprise for you. You were nervous and I'm willing to bet it showed.

    Practice. Practice. Practice. Get the tape recorder and practice. Write down the core values of a firefighter, all that you can think of. You'll fill up a sheet of paper pretty quick I'll bet.

    Captain Bob gives example that a Broadway play doesn't get there by everyone just "wingin' it". It takes a lot of rehearsals. And I say, "Rehearse until you don't sound rehearsed."

    Once you come across as confident and conversational; that is who we are looking to work with.

    Good luck. Try to remember to breathe and have a good weekend if you don't hear anything right away.
    Last edited by ffbam24; 11-20-2009 at 04:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eB View Post
    I told them how I went to a major crash scene and got to help lift the stretcher and do small roles to help and that I knew that this was it.
    Bam is right on on this part. I've been fortunate enough to sit on many hiring and promotions boards for firefighters, paramedic and even a few dispatchers. I can tell you that by far most of the fire officers or firefighters who sit on these boards (as well as around the kitchen tables can see past BS. Your example above is perfect for the the interview board, especially the civilian representatives. They love seeing the "why" in a story, the moment you "knew" this was the job for you. It's far more important than "I know everything about your city" and that kind of BS.

    On the last interview board I participated in this was the hot topic among the civilian personnel committee, as they gushed on about what they called "the Aha moment" (sound like they watch too much Oprah). In fact after discussing many other important factors, they went on and on about hiring those that really touched them with the "Ah Ha Moment". I don't think the few poignant stories were BS at all, but man did they convince these people. As FD officers we have to look at credentials as well, even if hiring the "person" would ultimately work better in the end.

    Be yourself and be honest, because once you're hired the real interview starts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eB View Post
    I selected Accountability, Honesty, and Leadership.
    1. As others stated, don't beat yourself up.

    2. For what it's worth- Being a good leader means being a safe leader, who knows that he will be held accountable for unsafe actions.

    I think you may find that you done good.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by eB View Post
    "select the 3 core values of which you think are the most important".

    I selected Accountability, Honesty, and Leadership. Here is where I went wrong and I think I might have chose my fate. Safety was one of the things on the paper.

    As other's mentioned, it is how you answer, there is no right nor wrong when it comes to core values. When I served in the Navy, safety was also paramount, but the Navy core values are Honor, Courage, Committment.

    I agree with what FFBam and FWD states..

    Honesty...should be a core value of everyone out there, but honesty is the first key to trust. If there is no trust, than leadership, accountability and safety become affected.

    Accountability....not only the acceptance for your actions, but you take the job serious and what that entails, taking training serious, looking out for others. Leads to trust, and increased responsibilities and even leadership.

    Leadership...Doesn't mean the person in charge, everyone plays a part. The new guy shows leadership qualities by understanding orders vs questioning. The example you set today follows into the leader you become tomorrow. Good leadership means taking the job serious, ensuring accountability and even safety standards are practiced, safety means nothing unless the standards are taken serious by everyone...a good leader sets the example.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    1. As others stated, don't beat yourself up.

    2. For what it's worth- Being a good leader means being a safe leader, who knows that he will be held accountable for unsafe actions.

    I think you may find that you done good.
    I was thinking exactly what he said (which is scary in itself)

    I've always said, a Chief has 1 job! Take care of his people...EVERYTHING ELSE falls under that!!!
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JTFIRE80 View Post
    I was thinking exactly what he said (which is scary in itself)

    I've always said, a Chief has 1 job! Take care of his people...EVERYTHING ELSE falls under that!!!
    Great minds think alike, my pet monkey!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I don't see safety as being a core value. Safety is important, but to me, a CORE value is something that comes from within. Accountability, honesty, and leadership are things that come naturally, whereas safety is something that is a learned behavior.

    Example: how many posters on here are extremely safe, but aren't the kind of leader the rest of us would follow.

    Don't sweat it, I highly doubt there was a wrong answer.

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    I believe Norfolk is set up like us, and as safety mindful as we are, safety is not in our core values.

    Take a chill pill, have a shot of Whiskey and relax.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    You're obviously a maniac. You'll be lucky if they don't raid your house and lock you in a mental institution.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post

    Take a chill pill, have a shot of Whiskey and relax.
    Judging by the feel of the posts, I think you may be encouraging under aged drinking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Judging by the feel of the posts, I think you may be encouraging under aged drinking.
    No, it is all good. I turned 21 this past February. lmao, did my post sound immature?

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    Naw...no worries.

    Your answers were great and accountability does include safety.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    Thanks bro much appreciated. I just wanted to take the chance to thank every one on their insight that they offered. It is greatly valued. I will keep the thread updated when Monday comes to let you know if I got the post job offer or not.

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    Relax. Sounds as though you did fine. Like someone said, there are no real or right answers to some of these questions. They just want your point of view.

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    They are not looking for robotic answers. They can see through the yes sir three bags full crap, and tailor made responses. Don't beat yourself up. You did fine.

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