1. #1
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    Default Oral Interview Preparing

    Hello all... I'm in the middle of the hiring process with Flint MI, and next week, I have an oral board interview. I would have been preparing earlier, but they are going through this process very quickly so I just got my appointment as of today after passing the physical test.

    What I'm wondering is what kind of q's should I expect, and how should I dress, and any other valuable info? I want to be the best looking and sounding candidate for this job, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    I also am in the middle of testing and interviewing for a dept in CO. I haven't been through an Oral Interview yet but I would suggest the following from what I have learned on station visits. If you have a suit wear one. If you don't you should at least wear clean slacks, dress shirt and tie (if you don't have a tie get one on sale, its an investment. If you show up in dirty jeans, and a flannel shirt filled with welding slag burns, chances are they will think you don't care enough about the job to take the time. Also if you plan to get a haircut before the interview get it a week or so before so if you barber turns out to be more a butcher your botch job will grow out and become less noticeable.

    From a few speaking classes I have taken, think about what you are going to say before you say it. The idea may be there but the accompanying words may not be, and will help avoid the "ummm, uh, like, you know," and other terms that add nothing to a conversation and make you appear to be struggling. It may seem like an eternity to you when you pause to gather your thoughts but it usually isn't that long at all. If you are not EMT or paramedic certified and they ask you any questions pertaining to that make sure to turn the conversation from what you don't have to what positive skills you DO posses that will make you a necessity to their dept.

    BE ON TIME!!! Make a dry run at the same time at a different day to make sure traffic will not be a problem.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Last edited by The_Irishman; 05-18-2010 at 07:38 PM.

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    Wear a conservative suit and tie. If you don't have one, go get one. Have a clean haircut. Be clean shaven. Clean your fingernails. Make eye contact and firmly shake hands (no death grip, but no dead fish) if possible. Sit with good posture. This is your first impression.

    Research the dept. Know how many firefighters there are, how many stations and locations, what type of shifts they work, types of apparatus, if they provide EMS or not, etc. Know the community: population, boundaries, hospitals, schools, colleges/universities, etc.

    Also put together your own stories, 'nuggets' as CaptBob would say. Use the search engine to find many good posts from him with a lot of information. He also has a website you can find online.

    Finally, a book that I really liked was "How to Smoke Your Firefighter Interview" by Paul Lepore. It gave many examples of questions to expect, sample answers and also the thought behind the answers. But don't just recite them (see CaptBob's stuff).

    Use the search on this board or just look through the Hiring section and you'll find numerous threads with A LOT of information already. Good luck!

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    Thanks fellas, I appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berger1 View Post
    What I'm wondering is what kind of q's should I expect, .
    Sample Thirty Plus Oral Board Questions

    The firefighter job oral board interview is like no other. It’s usually 100% of your score to get hired. You’re looking for a seamless no surprises interview one question after another. Just stumbling on a couple of questions or a question you have never heard before could affect your score enough to keep you from going forward in the hiring process. You don’t want to waste any opportunities in this current economy.

    I believe there are only about 30 oral board questions. Plus or minus a couple. But these 30 can be disguised into hundreds of different questions. It’s your job to take off the disguise and find the real question and have a “Nugget” answer practiced with a hand-held voice recorder to satisfy the oral board, get your best score on the answer and cause the board to go onto the next question.
    1. Tell us about yourself.
    2. Why do you want to be a firefighter? When did you decide on this career?
    3. What is the job of a firefighter? Are you qualified?
    4. What have you done to prepare for this position?
    5. What are you bringing to the job?
    6. Why do you want to work for this city or agency?
    7. What do you know about his city or agency?
    8. What do you like to do? What are your hobbies?
    9. What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
    10. What would your employer say about you?
    11. What are the attributes of a firefighter? What is the most important one
    to you?
    How Would You Handle the Following Scenarios:
    12. Drinking or drugs on the job? 13. Stealing on the job? 14. Conflict with
    another employee?
    15. Irate citizen? 16. An employee crisis at an emergency? 17. Sexual harassment?
    18. Racial situation? 19. Conflicting orders at an emergency? 20. An order that could place you in great danger or be morally wrong?
    21. What do you say when you don’t know an answer to a question?
    22. Are you on any other hiring lists? What would you do if another city
    called you?
    23. When can you start if we offered you the job?
    24. How far do you want to go in the fire service? Where do you see
    yourself in 5 years?
    25. What are the quality traits of a firefighter? Which one is the most important to you?
    26. Have you ever been in an emergency situation? Tell us what you did?
    27. What word would best describe you in a positive way? A negative way?
    28. How do you handle conflict?
    29. Why would we select you over the other candidates?
    30. Do you have anything to add?
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    Default What

    The strongest non-verbal statement you can make in the oral board is what you wear. It is time to step up and make the investment. In the blink of an eye of those first few seconds referred to as the “Halo Effect”, the panel is checking what you’re wearing, eye contact, hand shake, choice of words, voice inflection and more.

    Men: These are only suggestions. Do wear a wool suit in dark blue or gray. Pinstripes are fine, but avoid brown, black, or high fashion brightly colored suits. Black is a little too formal, more for dances, funerals and being a star in the movie Men in Black. If black is all you have, wear it.

    Sport coats or blazers are out, so is polyester. Tie should be in a solid color such as navy, red, maroon, yellow stripe, or paisley print. Wear a white, off white, or pale blue long sleeved shirt in cotton or a cotton blend. Starch it no matter what the instructions say. No patterned shirts!

    Understand you are applying for a snot nose rookie position. You have no time or rank with the department you are testing for. So don’t wear your military, volunteer, other department, dogcatcher or other uniform to your interview.

    Don’t: Wear casual or novelty watches, too much jewelry, monograms, religious, political, or fraternity affiliation accessories. Beards are out; mustaches are a gray area. When in doubt, shave it off. Don’t wear cell phones or any other electronic leases.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    Default Oral Interview Planning

    What does everyone think about taking a notepad with some of your sample answers in to the interview...not to read them directly off the paper, but rather to remind yourself of the answers you had come up with? Also, Capt. Bob, you say not to wear any fraternity insignia...what is your thinking on wearing an IAFF lapel pin on your jacket/tie? I am a member of L2618, and wear the pin anytime I wear my suit/tie. Too rambunctious? Thanks for the help!

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    Personally, I wouldn't take the notebook in with you. If you need to look over your notes right before your interview, leave them in the lobby or throw away a copy before you enter. Unless you are instructed to bring something in to the interview with you, you should enter empty handed.

    As for the pin, I would omit it for the oral board. I can see some people viewing that as you already thinking you're one of the guys (even though you are just at another dept). I guess I would compare that to wearing your class A uniform to the interview. I'm sure you'll be able to incorporate your experiences into your answers in such a way that the pin would be unnecessary.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemedic5110 View Post
    What does everyone think about taking a notepad with some of your sample answers in to the interview...not to read them directly off the paper, but rather to remind yourself of the answers you had come up with? Also, Capt. Bob, you say not to wear any fraternity insignia...what is your thinking on wearing an IAFF lapel pin on your jacket/tie? I am a member of L2618, and wear the pin anytime I wear my suit/tie. Too rambunctious? Thanks for the help!
    That's where practicing comes in, so no. You want to have a natural flowing answer for all of these. Besides, it most likely won't be allowed in the interview with you nor out on your lap, the table, the floor, etc.

    I tell people, rehearse until you don't sound rehearsed. Be conversational. Be the guy we want to work with.

    As for the pin. IMO; don't. It screams "LOOK AT ME!"
    The fact that you're a paid firefighter should be coming up in that interview. Not because someone notices your pin.

    Good luck.

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    Thanks for the outlook guys...no notebook, no pin.

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    But believe it or not, the candidate is not
    running the interview. You have no time or rank here. A union pin could cause concerns by a chief officer who has had dealings with the union. You don't want any surprises in your interview. All you have to do is **** off one rater and your score could drop you
    out of the running.

    I can tell you taking in notes or reading off your resume just
    doesn't play as good as it sounds If you try this caper of trying to read notes or your resume it can upset the normal flow of the interview.

    And, glancing down reading your own resume could be taken as insulting
    to the panel and smells of not really being prepared.

    After witnessing several candidates attempt to read from a script I
    don't believe it's putting their best foot forward. It interferes with
    their timing, inflection, causes them to add in lots of pause fillers
    like an's, ums, you knows and become monotone.

    No doubt many can have butterflies. The trick is to get them all to fly
    in the same formation that counts. There are better ways to prepare.

    We report. You decide.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    Yo Berger Man!! One thing that always seemed to help some of my answers when testing out of the area or out of state is to go online and check out some of the news regarding local politics, pending votes and/or initiatives and anything else that may have an impact on the fire department, budgets, purchasing of equipment, building new stations ect.....Newspapers and web sites that post the city's recent press releases are a good source for this too!!

    Good luck dawg!!

    "The Axeman"
    ____________
    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

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    The oral interview is the third and final phase of the exam. Unbeknownst
    to many candidates, this part of the exam usually carries the majority of the
    points. In some cases, it can carry 100% of the candidate’s overall score. Since
    the interview determines whether or not the candidate gets the job, it stands
    to reason that this is where candidates should be spending much of their time
    preparing.

    After years of interviewing potential firefighters, it has been my experience
    that the vast majority of candidates are uncomfortable with the interview process;
    as a result, they ignore it until the last minute. However, since the interview is
    the primary area that determines who gets the job, candidates should devote
    every free moment to improving their scores in this all-important area.
    Ironically, in the current testing process there is no way for the candidate
    to know where he or she went wrong during the interview. The reason for this
    is simple: the less the agency tells a candidate about why he or she failed
    the interview, the smaller the chance that the candidate will contest the exam
    results.

    A contested exam can be a very costly process for the fire service. When
    an exam is contested in the courts, the agency is prohibited from hiring anyone
    from the eligibility list until the case is resolved. This can spell disaster for the
    agency, since there are usually openings that need to be filled right away. To
    fill the open positions without an available pool of candidates, the department
    is then forced to fill the slots with existing firefighters, thereby having to pay
    overtime.

    Each candidate is given the same basic questions. Anything that comes up
    during the course of the interview or that is listed on the candidate’s resume
    is fair game. If a candidate answers a question incorrectly, the board makes
    a note of it and moves on to the next question. Often, the candidate may fail
    the interview because of one particular question. Since interview boards are
    generally non-confrontational, the candidate may leave the interview certain
    that he or she has done very well. The candidate predictably is shocked to
    learn that he or she has failed the interview.

    Since the agency provides nominal feedback on a candidate’s performance,
    the failed candidate has to grapple with the question of where he/she went
    wrong. A candidate may be convinced it has something to do with the clothes
    he or she wore. A male candidate, for example, might think he did poorly
    because of his brash tie. In order to rectify the alleged problem, he might rush
    out and purchase a more expensive “power” tie. Predictably, the next interview
    will yield the same result.

    What the candidate has failed to recognize is that his interview results had
    nothing to do with the clothes he wore. Until the candidate understands the
    underlying principles behind the questions and answers that are part of the
    interview process, he is destined to repeat his mistakes in future interviews.
    The only way for a candidate to improve his/her interview score is to practice
    and become proficient with the interview process. Visiting firehouses and
    seeking help from experienced firefighters is a great first step. Even though
    firefighters will often disagree on how to answer a particular question, getting
    a variety of responses will help the candidate sort out his/her own thoughts
    about a particular question.

    While getting feedback from firefighters is a useful step, it’s important for the
    candidate to understand that no one particular person has all the answers. This
    is where a candidate’s own knowledge and intuition will make a difference.
    This book will provide candidates with a strong foundation on how to
    approach the more common scenarios and themes that come up during the
    interview process. It is important to note that although the book has been
    reviewed and endorsed by dozens of fire service “experts,” it’s still only one
    source of information. It is critical that each candidate analyze each situation,
    read the rationale for the answer, and develop his/her own thoughts and ideas.
    The candidate may not always agree with my approach to handling a situation,
    but at least he/she will have an opportunity to digest most of the common
    scenarios before the interview.

    It’s up to the candidate to become educated about every aspect of the fire
    service. That way, when faced with making a decision during the course of
    an interview, the answer given will be his or her original thoughts and ideas,
    instead of parroting someone else’s response
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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