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Thread: Interview Questions HELP!

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFMedicMiami View Post
    Ill be the first one to say that Captain Bob got me my first badge.. Hands down.
    You got your first badge. Nobody else can get it for you and, if they did, you wouldn't deserve it.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  2. #27
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    OK, the guy's an angel, he's a saint...

    I don't care if he's GOD Himself. The forum rules are black and white:

    Forum Rules & Guidelines

    Not Permitted or Tolerated:
    ē Advertising and/or links of commercial, for-profit websites, products, and/or services is not permitted. If you have a need to advertise on Firehouse.com please contact sales@firehouse.com

    {etc.}
    What's good for one spammer is good for all. Others have been banned for posting commercial links (that they had no monetary interest in), just as informative posts. Yet this clown (Sorry, ST. Clown) has 2000+ posts and puts HIS commercial website on each one, with no punishment? WTF?
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

  3. #28
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    Default Forum Guidelines for Signatures

    Received 9/9/2010 from Firehouse Web Manager

    CaptBob,

    It has been determined that url's can be present in a signature as long as they are not presented as an active url. Many times, the users on this forum do have items to be shared via another site. In the past, we did not allow this but in the cases of signatures, it is not really advertising. If it is within a post this is against our rules and guidelines.

    We realize that this is a change to what was previously relayed and do apologize but we also want this forum to be a place of learning and knowledge.

    Again, your continued support of Firehouse.com is appreciated.

    Firehouse Web Manager

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    Default Incredible

    Im pretty shocked at what ive been reading about Capt. Bob. Ill keep this short and sweet. Capt. Bob, thank you for helping me "earn that badge" as you say. Back in '01 and '02 I was testing for a small town fire dept. in south tex. and I came across your webpage. Long story short I bought the audio and video tapes. Guess what? I got hired and to this day I believe it was because of how well I performed in the Oral board interview. Now I work for a big city fire dept. in texas!

    You da man!

  5. #30
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    Default Donít be A Clone Candidate!

    A candidate was taking his oral with a big city department recently. One of the panel member stopped him and said, ďI donít want an answer out of one of those books.! Iíve heard these same book answers from candidates all week long.Ē Do you want us to give you the same score we gave them or give it another try with your answers?

    Itís not the interview questions that are the problem, itís the answers! Unfortunately many candidates become clones and give clone answers. And the bigger problem is they donít know it. I hate to say, but often they are cloned in fire colleges , academies, books, and CD/DVDís. Clone answers can doom your oral board.

    One of our officers was on an oral board for a big city. Several boards interviewed 965 candidates. His board interviewed candidates over a period of 10 days. Imagine you were this officer and it is the fifth day of interviewing. You have just come back from lunch where the city has wined and dined you. Youíre tired and you know you have another five days of interviews ahead of you.

    The next candidate is called in. The first question you ask is, ďWhat sparked your interest and why do you want to be a firefighter?Ē He proceeds to give you the same clone answers you have heard from almost every candidate for five days. Public service, helping people, not the same thing every day, blah blah blah. The magic that you needed to hook up with the oral board has passed and you didnít hook them into listening to your stuff. You have just scored yourself. Trust me. You can see the glaze come over the ratersí eyes. Itís like a deer caught in the headlights. They are gone and they wonít come back.

    Itís not that you canít use clone answers. You can. But first you need to deliver a signature story about you. Not a clone answer of anyone else. I havenít met a candidate yet that couldnít come up with signature stories. Signature stories demonstrate experience (see above posting Stories Get Badges). They also tell that you not only know the answer to a question, youíve lived it. Firefighters love firefighter stories. If you open up with a signature story, you instantly separate yourself from the other clone candidates. Stories show the oral board who you really are. You capture the board and take them on a journey with a story they have never heard. Is this making sense?

    The toughest thing for candidates to do in an oral is being themselves on purpose. When you are yourself, you become conversational because you are on your own turf. This alone can lower the stress and the butterflies.
    An oral board member told me they had a candidate who didnít answer all the questions the way they wanted him to do, but he had such great personal life experience in his answers (stories), they hired him anyway. This is human nature. Stories help bridge that gap. Clone answers and clone candidates donít have a chance here.

    Example:
    A candidate was telling a story about being a federal firefighter in Yellowstone when it burned. The story was not too exciting the way he was telling it. I had to stop and ask, ďIt sounds like you were trapped?Ē He was. Now he tells that story and the hairs start standing up on the back of your neck. Youíre trapped with him. You can smell the smoke and see the embers dropping around you. Does this story make a difference? Please say yes.
    So the point here is not the question, but the answer. Start establishing your personalized stories.

    Instant ďClonesĒ

    Recently I had the opportunity to participate in mock orals with one of my instructors who happens to be really great when it comes interviewing. In our class that comprises mostly of people starting fire tech classes, nobody did very well. It was a great lesson about how we need to start preparing and getting to familiarize ourselves with the testing process. However, 2 guys who were friends with our instructor participated in our mock orals, and put the rest of us to shame. They obviously have spent countless hours practicing orals with our instructor.

    They really knew their stuff and not having any oral experience myself, I was very impressed, along with the rest of my class. My question is that these guys were so well rehearsed and knew each question and answers like the back of their hand, they sounded like actors in a playóanybody could tell that everything down to expressions, and hand motions had been practiced over and over to perfection. Is this what interviewers want when they interview you? Do they really want to see rehearsed answers? Donít get me wrong, the answers were very good, but seemed so artificial. Please let me know if itís better to answer questions to the best of your knowledge, or just to memorize good answers. Thanks, any input would be great.


    Reply: What you saw was a perfect example of turning candidates into Clones. Itís impressive at first. But if you felt it was too rehearsed, so will the oral board panel. When you see it over and over again it gets old and puts the panel into a daze. We could tell who the instructors were on many of the clone candidates by the second question. This will stick out in an interview. One thing about clone candidates; they will end up with a score that will put them in the clone pack.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptBob View Post
    One of the panel member stopped him and said, ďI donít want an answer out of one of those books.! Iíve heard these same book answers from candidates all week long.Ē
    Nor do we want cut-and-paste postings from other websites.

    One of our officers was on an oral board for a big city. Several boards interviewed 965 candidates. His board interviewed 135 candidates over a period of 10 days. Imagine you were this officer and it is the fifth day of interviewing. You have just come back from lunch where the city has wined and dined you. Youíre tired and you know you have another five days of interviews ahead of you.

    http://www.thefirefighterexam.com/interview.html
    One of our officers was on an oral board for a big city. Several boards interviewed a total of 965 candidates. His board interviewed 350 candidates over 10 days. Imagine you were this officer and it is the fifth day of interviewing. You have just come back from lunch where the city has wined and dined you. You're tired and you know you have another five days of interviews ahead of you.

    http://www.fireprep.com/don_t_be_a_c...idate__fi.html
    One of our officers was on an oral board for a big city. Several boards interviewed 965 candidates. His board interviewed 135 candidates over a period of 10 days. Imagine you were this officer and it is the fifth day of interviewing. You have just come back from lunch where the city has wined and dined you. Youíre tired and you know you have another five days of interviews ahead of you.

    http://www.eatstress.com/bestarticle.htm
    One of our officers was on an oral board for a big city. Several boards interviewed 965 candidates. His board interviewed candidates over a period of 10 days. Imagine you were this officer and it is the fifth day of interviewing. You have just come back from lunch where the city has wined and dined you. You're tired and you know you have another five days of interviews ahead of you.

    http://www.firehouse.com/topic/caree...nique-or-clone
    And there are more...

    If you're going to insist on spamming the forum, could you at least come up with some new material instead of regurgitating the same drek, word for word, over and over again?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  7. #32
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    Default Problem???

    DeputyMarshal.... I think what Captain Bob does is not against firehouse.coms web site rules. As stated previously by the web master of this site he does not break any rules......you however are at least consistent.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    I think what Captain Bob does is not against firehouse.coms web site rules.
    It's called spam. For whatever reason, the rules just don't seem to apply to CaptSpam or CaptSpam Jr. Bribes? Kneepads? Both? Who knows.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  9. #34
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    Default Spam???

    One man's spam is another man's savior....I think you need to just let it go.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    One man's spam is another man's savior....I think you need to just let it go.
    Couldnt have said it better myself

    Deputymarshall its not working, turn the page already

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    Dang Fire Marshall chill out man. Sounds to me like he is within the regs. I guess you have forgotten how hard it is to get this job, and a lot of the people on this site (especially this thread) are volunteers wanting to go paid (myself), students, and other hopeful canidates. I take all the advice I can get. When I get home and start preparing to ETS from the army, I plan on buying Capt. Bob's product, as that is the time I will be exploring the options and opportunities of trying to get onto a paid department. Bottom line: Don't hate the player, hate the game man.

    Capt. Bob, thanks for your advice on this thread. Keep it coming.

  12. #37
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    Default Why Do You Want to be a Firefighter?

    Again, a quick check in this forum and you will see that agencies are hiring again. You certainly don’t want to waste any opportunities if you’re selected to participate in a testing and hiring process.

    Why Do You Want to be a Firefighter?

    This is one of the toughest questions to answer without sounding like a Clone.

    There was a point in your pursuit that sparked your interest. It might have been during a class, ride along or a life experience where your mind went click; that’s it. This is what I want to do in life. My life is not going to be the same until I get that badge. When did this happen? That’s your “Nugget” signature story no one else can tell. Once you have the board hooked into listening to you, you can use those other “Clone” answers to caboose your answer.

    I don’t have any courses or certifications to become a firefighter. Can I still find a personal nugget story that could be relevant and interesting to the oral board without sounding like a clone? H. Barrow

    Yes. Use your personal life and job experiences, i.e. customer service, sports, responsibility, working as a team, commitment, challenges, a degree where you learned how to learn, etc. and relate them the job of a firefighter.

    I asked a candidate who was testing for Oakland one day why he wanted to be a firefighter. He gave me the typical “Clone” answer, “It’s giving back to the community, public service, helping others, blah, blah, zzzzzzzzzzzz.”

    I stopped him and asked, “What really got you interested in being a firefighter?” He said, “Oh, well I grew up in Oakland, but moved to Shasta during high school. After graduation I went to hotel management school in Reno. That didn’t work out, so I moved back to Oakland and started going to Chabot College. I met an old friend who was in the fire science program. We ended up over at his house. His father was a captain for Oakland. They got me all fired up, I signed up in fire science, got my firefighter 1, became a medic and I’m currently a federal firefighter.”

    I just sat there amazed. I asked him if he had ever used this (his signature) story before? He said no. You gave me the “Clone” answer and you had this beauty sitting here? He polished up the story and practiced it with a voice recorder. He works proudly for the City of Alameda.

    Another candidate remembered he had the Gage and Desoto dish and cup set from the TV series Emergency. His mom had a picture of him in front of the TV as a kid eating off it when the show came on. He took that picture to his orals. Did it work as part of why he wanted to be a FF? He works for San Jose Fire.

    After a written test I asked a group of six candidates why they wanted to be firefighters. They were amazed that what they thought was unique was only a “Clone”. After I worked with one in the group with his signature story of why he wanted to be a firefighter, the rest of the group used the formula to put together their own too.

    I have yet to find a candidate who doesn’t have signature stories. The problem is they don’t know how to use them. You might not know yours today. But, after reading this, you will have some aha’s in the next few days.
    Last edited by CaptBob; 10-29-2010 at 12:17 PM.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    You got your first badge. Nobody else can get it for you and, if they did, you wouldn't deserve it.
    And so you got your badge without the help of anyone?? You never inquired with anyone about the how, the when, the who, the what, the where and the why of getting hired?? You just walked in off the street, filled out an application and took an interview and got hired...right?? It's apparent that ALL who've posted here, are sick of your drivel, and would appreciate it much if you would just leave! As some great poet once said: "...You don't have to go home, but you got to get the HELL OUTTA HERE!!"

    If you have a personal problem with CaptBob, why don't you PM him, instead of attempting to impugn his passion for helping people (something I've NOT seen you do!!) in the public theater of this web site, where you're obviously are begging for an audience! You won't get many here to co-sign on your hate and discontent. You don't help others with your rants against CaptBob, you only confuse those that are diligently and ardently pursuing the answers, that are numerous, but don't always pass the litmus test. I know he charges for some of his material. But how is he different from anyone who has taken the time to package information and sell it. Duh!! It's the same principle used by many that have built this great capitalist society: IT'S CALLED BUILDING A BUSINESS!!

    Why don't you turn over a new leaf, if you're so inclined? Why don't you do what CaptBob is doing but do it better?? Help more people! Hell...generate some income of your own by marketing your experience and knowledge of getting hired, if that's possible. But stop poisoning the process with your negativity! In the eyes of potential new firefighters, you give all firefighters a black eye!
    Worse than that you come across as one of the lowest forms of mankind: A HATER. And I know you're a better man than that!

    "The Axeman"
    ____________
    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields POWER AND DOMINION IN ACTION!!!"

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    Default

    I used Capt Bob's program and Captain Rob's coaching and scored a 99% on my first interview. Thank you to both of you.

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    Openings

    How long do you think you have once you walk into the oral board to hook them into listening to your stuff? Many guess 2, 3 and 6 minutes. You have 32seconds. In that first 32 seconds of your oral board you come in with what’s called the “halo” effect.

    In the blink of an eye in that first 32 seconds the board is checking your appearance (the strongest nonverbal statement you can make is what you wear), choice of words, inflection, voice, eye contact and body language. If you open with a clone answer, you’re dead meat. There are six other areas in the oral board where you can recover, but don’t count on that happening. Once you see the glaze come over the oral board’s eyes, you’ve lost them and they won’t come back. Trust me. Please open using a signature story about yourself (see Stories Get Badges posting in this thread).

    Candidates have about a 20-minute opportunity for a 25+-year career. The ultimate goal is to have the least amount of distractions in your oral board. Everyone has his or her opinions. It seems once a person gets hired, they quickly forget how hard it really was to nail that badge.

    As well-meaning as some people are, I don’t believe anyone wants to be responsible for a candidate not being able to complete their pursuit for a badge. What might have worked for one candidate doesn’t mean it will automatically work for others. As our son Captain Rob says, “They’re going to tell you how to do it they are you. They’re not you!”

    Since oral board scores are calculated in hundredths of points (82.15, 87.63, 90.87, etc), bad or incorrect information can place a candidate less than one point out of the running and put them out of the process. I have seen this all too often.

    Question:

    I just had an oral where I was asked to tell them about myself, my training and education. I proceeded to “dump the whole load”. Two questions later I was asked “What have you done to prepare yourself for the position of firefighter.” I was stumped. I had just told them every¨thing and now had nothing to say without reiterating. My question is: How do I differentiate the two questions especially because I don’t know what I will be asked.

    Reply: One of the worst things you want to do is reiterate in the body or closing of your oral board. Sometimes the raters make errors in asking or combining more than one question at a time.

    This might help: 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 ice breaker question to get you comfortable in the chair. A one-minute or less answer about you and your hobbies is all that is needed here.

    What’s real important to understand here is your opening answer is usually not scored! Either is the closing statement. That’s right; there is generally not a box to score the answer for an opening or closing statement.


    They don’t need your name (they already have it) and NEVER tell them your age. 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 opening 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 you want to be a firefighter, what have you done to prepare and the other standard 30 possible oral board questions (see sample question list above) you have to reiterate what you have already said. You lose valuable time and points here.

    When some candidates start talking in an oral, it’s like going on a journey. There may be no final destination. Most panel members aren’t packed for the trip. I asked a candidate to tell me a little about himself one day. I stopped him 12 minutes later somewhere in Montana. 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; 11-06-2010 at 05:26 PM.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  16. #41
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    Default Scenario Questions

    Do you think you have what it takes to answer all situation questions correctly? . . . answer this (in less that an hour)?

    What would you do as a rookie firefighter? Your captain asks you to come in his office to review your final evaluation of probation. You notice a smell of alcohol on his breath. How would you reply?

    This is a perfect example how you can be fooled on a scenario question. Again I believe there are only 30 oral board questions. They can be disguised in hundreds of different ways. This is one of the disguises for drinking on the job, which is number 12 on our 30 plus list in this posting.

    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.

    One way to help you do this is picture a piece of paper in your mind 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 donít 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.

    So take off the disguise that this is your captain. Dissect the question down to its simplest form; one word. What is this about? Right, drinking. What side of the line is this on? Right or left. If itís on the left side of the line what do we do? Drinking is not tolerated. Right again. Ask questions to determine if your suspicions are correct (are you drinking?). If so, you go straight up (why donít we go to our supervisor) no matter who or what rank is on the other side of the table; and stick to your answer no matter what. YOU WILL NEVER BE WRONG! TRUST ME!

    Hereís another way this question can be disguised:

    You go in the locker room and see a fellow firefighter drinking something that looks like alcohol. What do you do? The clone, soap opera answer would be: I would try to get him into the day room, play cards and try to smell his breath; or I would have him go home sick, or have another firefighter come into relieve him.

    These are all soap opera answers. Unfortunately they are taught in fire academies, books with suggested answers and fire technology programs. They will make you a Clone candidate. Donít go on this journey. They are insulting to the oral board. You will loose valuable points here. We are intelligent beings on the other side of the table. Give us credit for that. Donít start a soap opera. Ask a question that would verify your suspicions and give a direct answer; not a soap opera.

    Understand that if the oral board fires up a question that sounds like drinking on the job, itís going to be about drinking on the job. If itís a question that sounds like taking drugs on the job, itís going to be about taking drugs on the job; Itís not going to be aspirin. If the question sounds like itís about stealing on the job, itís going to be about stealing on the job. If they fire up a question that sounds like sexual harassment, thatís what itís going to be about or they wouldnít bring it up.

    If they fire-up these questions, take off the disguise ask questions to verify what you suspect, decide what side of the line it belongs on and then take action in fantasyland. Donít be like so many candidates by starting a soap opera.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  17. #42
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    Default Strengths and Weaknesses

    I was going over some questions for interviews, and I was hoping someone could help me with an answer. What are good answers for the question; what are your strengths and weaknesses? What are some bad answers? ó John

    Reply: Letís start with what your answers are first.

    O.K. If asked those questions I would probably respond with something like; My strengths are education, willingness to start from the bottom, my diverse background in fields other than fire fighting, and the fact that I have experience but am very adaptable to my current surroundings. My weaknesses are occasional tunnel vision, excitability, and no full-time experience. There are probably a thousand faults but you get the point. Where do I go from here? John

    First understand that if we start giving answers, everyone would clone them and they would lose their value. I encourage candidates do use their own answers, reflecting their personal life experience.

    This question can be asked in many ways, i.e.: What attributes do you think a firefighter should possess, or what qualities, what strengths etc. I think you can come up with better strengths. Education, starting at the bottom and a diverse background are not really strengths. They are what youíve done to prepare for the position. Areas relating to loyalty, honesty, and being dependable etc. are strengths.

    When youíre deciding a weakness, use something that might have been a weakness, but you have already done something to correct it i.e., you had a problem speaking in front of groups. You have improved this situation by taking a public speaking class or joining Toastmasters.

    Since firefighters are in a living environment, we would not be looking for someone with occasional tunnel vision and excitability. No full-time experience is not a good choice for a weakness either.

    Got a call from a candidate who lives in Washington now and his oral was in 4 days. Joel got his Firefighter 1 from an academy in Southern California. He said it hasnít helped much trying to get a job. He has now been a medic for 8 months with no luck in testing. In the most pathetic monotone voice he said this is the department he really wants to work for and (with absolutely no enthusiasm) he will be one of the 15 hired.

    He asked if he could run one of his answers on what a negative is for him that his firefighter buddies and other friends helped him work out. Sure, shoot. Joel said a negative for me is my past. Even though I got a DUI and some other minor stuff, thatís not who I really am.

    I couldnít believe my ears. Uh, Joel that answer would only open a can of worms. Donít use it.

    Joel said, OK how about this one. Another negative for me is my paramedic skills. This job will help me improve them. Again, I couldnít believe my ears. Yep, thatís the guy we want to hire, the one with the poor medic skills. Canít use this one either.

    As already mentioned, everyone becomes an expert when they get hired. The answers Joel worked out with some firefighters and friends were definitely not helping but hurting him. The bigger problem is he didnít even have a clue. This was just one answer. How bad were the others?

    I would like to say this was an isolated incident. But we encounter these bad answers on a regular basis. It is especially painful in an actual oral board where we see the candidates die a slow death one question after another. Then the candidates wonder why they donít get hired. This is an area where we try to keep candidates from stepping on the land mines.

    After a little probing, we did find a negative Joel could use that he was working on to improve.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  18. #43
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    Default It works

    Capt. Bob,

    Three months into probation and I'm happier than ever because I am wearing a badge again every day I'm at work. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you and the valuable skills I learned from your package. I was a fulltime firefighter before and had suffered some setbacks with department layoffs. I thought I knew how to get hired, but I didn't know how to prepare properly for a new assault on the testing process. The Gold package is full of tips, tricks, and "nuggets" that I used to get my badge. If anyone doubts the program, the proof is in the badge that I wear and the countless other individuals who have contacted you for help and now wear the badge. If anyone asks me, I send 'em your way, because it works, and nothing matters until you get the badge, nothing! Thanks Capt. Bob!

    Sincerely,

    AJ

    And to add, Capt Bob went out of his way to help myself and another one of my friends when we were both laid off of a dept. He got us both the info we needed and it didn't matter when or if we could afford it. He helped a couple brother firefighters out. That's real class in my book.

  19. #44
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    Default

    "what is one of your weaknesses?"
    I like to turn a bad thing into a good thing, by adding "being too organized".
    -maybe this is bad response, if so let me know.

    Jmal

  20. #45
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    Default Correct

    I feel that if you can turn a weakness into an asset your way ahead of the game.....
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  21. #46
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    Default Resumes

    Most resumes are poorly done. The business resume format is not the best for firefighter candidates, because with the high volume of candidates, the raters only have a few moments to look at your resume before you walk into the room.

    I’m a one-page resume guy for entry level without a cover letter, not in a binder or folder. Do not give us a book. We will not read it. The board does not have enough time. And do not come an interview thinking you are going to hand out your resume and we’re going to read it. That is not going to happen. This upsets the normal flow of the interview. We’re going to read your application and resume before you come in the room. If you submit a resume, get it to personnel to be placed in your file before the interview. Don’t fax It. Make the appropriate copies and hand deliver or FedEx them.

    A candidate faxed me his resume. The cover letter for the position he was applying for stated, “Attached is a “brief” description of my qualifications.” I laughed out loud because he had sent me a book. The printer ran out of paper. Save a tree, the raters will not read these volumes. Don’t send me on a treasure hunt to find your great stuff. Hit me with your major qualifications starting with your experience on one page. Write it believing the raters won’t go past the first page. You can put any supporting details, documents, certificates and letters of recommendation following the first page. Keep it simple.

    Many people start their resume with their education. For me, I like to see professional experience jump right off the page. Hit me with experience, bam! Fire fighting, bam! Some kind of training, apparatus operator training, fire school, whatever it is. Hit me with that experience. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be in chronological order or fire service experience. On so many of the resumes I see, I find the important stuff way down at the bottom of the first page. Because that’s how it falls in chronological order. It starts with some education up here, some college, whatever, blah blah, experience, now we’re down at the bottom of the page where I might not see it.

    I was reviewing a candidate’s resume and in chronological order his paramedic certification was at the bottom of the page. I asked him, “What are the most important items on your resume? He said, my Firefighter 1 and Paramedic Certification.” They were at the bottom of the page where they might be missed. We put those items on top so those are the first things that hit you. We put the dates on the right side of the page where it can be referenced. Once you put the dates on the right-hand side of the page, you list your experience in order of importance, not just in chronological order. This makes a big difference.

    My suggestion for a firefighter resume format: name, address, phone number & e-mail address, professional experience, education, volunteer and community service. That’s all you need. Nothing more. Nothing less. Keep it simple.

    Make a photocopy because you never know when you’re going to that job interview. I talk to people who have put in applications and resumes, and six to eight months later they don’t have a copy and don’t remember what they’ve put down.

    Here’s a sample:

    Carl Mcfly (Revised)
    1284 Main St.
    Kensington, Ca 94588
    Phone: 510-286-5890 e-mail: Iwantafirejob@aol.com

    OBJECTIVE: To achieve a level within the fire service.

    PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

    Firefighter Fire Department, CA 2-00 Present
    Duties include but are not limited to fire suppression in structural as well as wild land environments and emergency medical services under highly stressful emergency conditions. Also, fire prevention, public education, vehicle and station maintenance under the supervision of a Captain, always focusing on providing quality customer service.

    Engineer (Acting) 2-03 Present

    Firefighter Fire Department (Auxiliary) 3-99 2-00
    Perform in a probationary capacity under emergency situations, fire suppression, emergency medical services, also fire prevention, public education, vehicle and station maintenance.

    EMT Ambulance Service, CA 3-99 2-00
    Perform under emergency situations; emergency medical services under the direction of Redondo Beach and L.A. County Fire Department Paramedics. Vehicle and station maintenance and Code-3 driving.

    INSTRUCTOR Emergency Response CPR Training 3-03 Present
    Adult, Child, & Infant CPR training for the community as well as for the professional rescuer.

    Owner/Operator Pool Company, CA 5-97 2-00
    Service and repair of residential and commercial pools and spas according to County Health Department specifications.

    EDUCATION
    Bachelor’s Degree
    EMT Defib and Combitube certified
    Firefighter I
    Red Cross certified CPR Instructor
    Firefighter II
    Federal Red Card System Member
    Driver/Operator State certified
    Class B Driver’s License

    ACTIVITIES
    Member of State University Track and Field Team.
    Member of State University X-Country Team.
    Volunteer for Hubbs Institute White Sea Bass Population Restoration Project.
    Volunteer for Red Cross on various projects.

    Keep it simple. Nothing more or less.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    Captain Bob,

    I wanted to share my testemonial below...........

    I have been a DOD firefighter in for ten years. I decided a year ago that I wanted to work for a big city. This was my first attempt at a major firefighting hiring process. I had no idea what to expect so I purchased Captain Bob's full package on the advice of a friend. Because of the information I learned in the program I went into my "Chiefs Oral" fully prepared. I was not surprised by a single question. I found out this week that in a month I will be starting with one of the biggest fire departments in the country. There is no doubt in my mind that Captain Bob's materials where instrumental in making my dream a reality!"

  23. #48
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    Captain Bob,

    I'm having trouble with question 20 What if your ordered to do something that you felt was unsafe? This seems almost like a trick question because it seems unwise to rush into every order without considering your safety but equally wrong to question a direct order from a more experienced firefighter.

    What is the correct answer to this question?

    Thank you

  24. #49
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    When were you Going to Tell Us?

    What have you left out? If it doesnít come out of your mouth during the interview, it didnít happen.

    You may be leaving important stuff out of your oral board presentations. The following are segments from our son Captain Robís coaching sessions.
    Two recent candidates left out they were Eagle Scouts. Is that important? Yea!

    Although this was a firefighter in Kansas this candidate forgot to include in his oral interview that he grew up in the Las Vegas area and was testing to come back home to Vegas.

    Military experience can be a big asset if you present it correctly. Most military veterans donít expand enough on their experiences to the panel. Like many this candidate only mentioned that he was in the military. Which branch? Marines. Weíre you stationed over seas. Yep. Where? Okinawa and Japan. Did they prepare you with cultural diversity classes before you went to Japan? Yes. So you were taught and lived in a cultural diverse country. I guess. A lot better than just I was in the military. When were you going to tell us?

    Another candidate mentioned he was in the military. What was your assignment? I was part of the ground crew for Marine One. Isnít that the President of the United States helicopter? Yes. Did you have a security clearance? Yes, because I was around the President. Should I use that? When were you going to tell us?

    This candidate only said he worked for a private company that provides fire protection. What do they do? Weapons research, development and testing. Have you been trained to handle emergency situations and suppression with rocket fuels and explosives? Yes. Do you have a security clearance? Yes. What security clearance do you have? I canít tell you. If he couldnít tell us, this is pretty big right? So, when were you going to tell us?

    This candidate was asked, werenít you activated for Iraq? Oh, yea. Tell me the story. Well, I was at the firehouse at Columbia Fire College and the phone rings at 11:30 p.m. It was my crew chief from my Air force reserve unit with orders to report at 7:30 a.m. the next morning at Travis Air Force base. We flew out in a C5A transport and I spent the next year in country and did . ... Iíve now been in 27 countries. Did you learn about cultural diversity? Yes, let me count the ways. When were you going to tell us?

    Did you play sports in high school? Yep. Iíve been playing sports since I was 6 years old. I played three sports in high school. Did you letter? Yes. In all three sports. Were you captain of the team? Yea, baseball. What did you learn? Commitment, being physically fit, working as a team, supervision, recognizing and using the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. Do any of these have any parallels to the fire service? Every one. Have you ever used these in an oral? Nope. Why not? Theyíre golden. Who else can tell the story?

    The candidate only mentioned he was a volunteer. After a few questions it was revealed he lived in the fire station while he was going to school and racked up 8,000 on duty hours. Important?

    Too many candidates have been told by firefighters to only use EMS and fire stuff in their oral boards. They end up leaving out 30-40% of critical life experiences from volunteering and jobs they worked through out their life, including high school that can demonstrate skills and attributes that could separate them from the other candidates.

    There are, however, things you shouldnít say:

    Even though you went into the mission field with your church you never know how this might play out with members of the panel when you bring up church or religion. All you have to do is offend just one panel member and it could affect your score enough to be out of the running. Consider just mentioning how you helped people when and where in culturally diverse parts of the world. You better be praying because your competition is.

    From Seattle area: I have a few accomplishments that look really good on paper, but it seems like every time I say them in my voice recorder or in practice with my fiancť they sound like I am bragging. Where can I fit these in, or should I at all.

    High School Valedictorian
    Full Ride academic scholarship to college
    Academy - Most Inspirational
    Academy - Most Inspirational, Top Recruit, Most Fit
    Yada, yada, yada

    Like I said I am not telling you to brag, but I do think they say something about my work ethic and willingness to work with, and help others.

    Reply: The reason they sound like you're bragging is you are bragging.
    I know you want to drop those in but what would you think as a panel member hearing these rants of accolades? When I hear a candidate continue to boast like this I think teacherís pet, can I do the erasers, kiss ***, yada, yada, yada, etc. Yea, you can use one of these accolades but donít go to overkill.

    When this candidate was asked if he had any questions for the panel he would reply, do you see any reason why I shouldnít get this job, (because a firefighter friend told him to say that)? Everyone becomes an expert when they get hired you know. This did not play well on the other side of the panel.

    A candidate in a recent oral told the panel he stayed in shape with arena boxing. Isnít that cage boxing? Yea. This lead to more questions into areas you might not want to go.

    Anytime I hear someone is involved in motocross, cage boxing, ice hockey or any other extreme sports I wonder how many times this candidate has had their bell rung or injuries they have already had or will have that could affect future time and sick leave or ability to do the job. Iím not the only person that feels this way. All you need is a little doubt with one rater and it can affect your score to keep you out of the running to be considered.

    In response to the tip I got this e-mail:

    So would ballet and bowling be a better choice to put on my resume as opposed to ice hockey or other extreme sports?? Would I not want to include sports that are demanding and rigorous on the body as experienced in firefighting? I noticed you left off the bell ringing all American sport of football?? Thanks for the tips.

    Reply: A way to present this is to say you are physically fit and can play most any indoor or outdoor sports.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  25. #50
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    Default Not a Regular Job Interview!

    Many regular job and corporate interview candidates like the following are stunned and baffled why they don't have high scores on their firefighter interviews.

    Captain Bob:

    I just received my oral board score for the City of Glendale. The score did not represent how I felt I did during the interview. This is a big problem for me because I now realize that I DON'T KNOW what the board was looking for. I make presentations for a living, so I felt confident in what I did to prepare. I was sure that I just about nailed it.

    I've always been competitive about what I set out to accomplish, using every tool that I can utilize to reach my goal. Sir, I would greatly appreciate your training to help me be the best that I can be at the oral boards.

    I've been preparing for these orals for months and felt extremely prepared. I don't want to waste another oral board without knowing that I've done all that I can to be the best candidate possible. Thank you for your time Sir.
    Regards, Fire Recruit Jeff

    Reply: Jeff, You're not alone here. You have discovered like many other's that a fire department oral board is different than anything you have encountered. Too many candidates beat there heads against the wall for years getting to the point where you are now.

    Another:

    After my interview rejection an east coast city last week, I sent a letter to the D/C thanking him for the opportunity and telling him I'd appreciate any feedback from the interview. Well - he was honest - he indicated he wanted me to keep testing & interviewing, but wrote that I:

    -talked too much & over answered the questions
    -talked too fast
    -some of my answers were based on book knowledge (?)

    Also - as I mentioned I approached this like I would a corporate interview (BAD IDEA) and I tried to 'close' them at the end - they asked if I had any closing questions (jeez I wish I read your web site before going in) and I opened my big stupid mouth to say 'I kept your rejection letter from last year (I actually showed it to them - this was my second time interviewing) and it mentioned that candidates had failed to prepare and properly sell themselves to the board. I've been working to improve myself in these areas for the past year - have I properly done this?'

    The D/C mentioned in his letter back to me that, 'I don't think that showing the letter I mailed out last time was the best thing you could have done. It was as if you were showing it off and showing us that you still had it.' I need to keep my damn mouth shut and just answer the questions. Live and learn. I look forward to getting your package.

    Stay safe Dave

    You don't want to waste any opportunities. How do you turn it around? Remember you're applying for a snott nose rookie position not fire chief. If you try to use regular corporate job interivew skills it could bite you like it did the above candidates. There is a delicate balance here.
    _____________________________________________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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