This is to all the aspiring FFs,
I wanted to tell my story, and hopefully inspire a few people who may be discouraged and on the verge of giving up on their dream of becoming a fire fighter.�
I am just like all of you; a hardworking individual with a goal. Nothing special on paper accept for your required certifications, education, ect.�
I have taken over 21 department tests an a handful of interviews to finally get my badge.
How did I do it? Persistence, determination, and a will to accomplish my goal. After being rejected over and over I finally decided what (I) was doing was not cutting it. So I did some research and found out about Captain Bob's Gold Package which includes information on the application, written test, cpat, interview, psych test, poly test, and medical processes. I studied his books front and back, listened to the CDs �until I was scoring in the top 10% on all written tests.�
Once I got better at the written test portion I realized my interview skills needed fine tuning. I didn't want to go through another interview and not score in the top. So I used Capt. Rob (Capt. Bob's son) as an interview coach.�I truly believe Capt. Bob and Rob's coaching techniques will allow you to properly present the best (you). They take your personal experiences and education to help mold you into what the fire service is looking for and even more.
It worked for me, because now I start next Monday at my dream career department! Let me tell you, this can also become your reality. I've seen way too many people make it through the fire academy and give up after the first few tests. Don't let this happen to you. Invest your time into a program that is proven to work.�
Don't hesitate to call Capt. Bob for more information. He is always quick to respond to emails and phone calls. I am extremely impressed with what they have going on to help people like us get our dream job.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Good luck to all of you in your process to becoming a Fire fighter!
The Clock is Ticking
When you turn in an application for a fire job the clock starts ticking. Sometimes the clock goes slow. Sometimes it speeds up. What we find with too many candidates is they let time get away from them and they’re caught flat footed for the next step in the hiring process. Usually it’s when they get the letter that their oral board is in a few days. Ouch.
A candidate called me this week that had applied for a job last May. Now in short order everything was put on the front burner. The oral board, background, medical and psych. He panicked to get up to speed to be prepared for these critical important steps in the hiring process. The clock had been ticking since May. What was he doing to be prepared? As our son Captain Rob says, “You knew when you turned in the application there was an oral in your future. You just didn’t know when.” Now, it’s an emergency.
When I returned a call to another candidate week he told me his oral board was the next day and what can he do to get in a coaching session. What? That wasn’t going to happen in the eleventh hour but I told him I would listen to a couple of his answers. The phone went silent. I could hear tumble weeds in the background. He finally said he just couldn’t think of anything right then. If he couldn’t think of anything right then, how was he going to show up the next day for his oral board interview?
What time is it?
An hour later this same candidates wife calls and wants to go over some of his answers. What? Sorry we only talk to the candidate. By the way is your husband practicing with a hand held recorder that goes everywhere his car keys go. Silence. Then, well, I know he’s practicing some. Have you ever heard his answers? Now I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this reply. She said no. He won’t let me listen to his answers. Yea, I heard this all the time. What’s up with this? Here’s the love of his life that has been on the sidelines cheering their guys on and they won’t tell them their answers.
Then the bride goes on with he’s such a great guy and if only the panel could know that. Oh, boy, hear that all the time too. Sorry, you have to convince the oral board that he is.
I get a lot of calls from mothers, wife’s, and girl friends looking for a ring and a date calling on behalf of the man in their live who’s been trying to get a badge. Why too many struggle in the hiring process these ladies see it crystal clear why their guy can’t get a badge. Their guy has somehow convinced himself through the four inches between his ears that they have what it takes and just around the corner at that next test they will get their badge. These women are doing the research and making the calls hoping this guy will finally get it. They will be on the phone with me and the candidate is sitting in the room with them telling her what to ask. What? Let me talk to him. Oh, hi.
Had another candidate who had all kinds of education, experience, a volunteer but couldn’t seem to get hired. He wouldn’t share his answers either. What are these guys in the witness protection program or what? So, his wife went with him on a mini vacation where he was going to take an oral board. Turns out she’s sitting in the hallway outside the room where the orals were being conducted and could hear her husbands answers for the first time. When she called me she said he stunk. Bad. So, she gives him a coaching session for his birthday. She was right. He stunk. Bad. No mystery why he wasn’t getting hired.
Got another call from a candidate where the last step of the hiring process was his medical in a couple of days. Are you concerned about anything? Not really. But I do have elevated blood pressure. It runs in the family. What? Like, how elevated? Well, 135 over 96. That’s high enough to be medicated. Yea, my doctor has told me this. But I didn’t want to get medicated and have to put it down on my medical form.
Had several e-mails and finally a call from another parent who’s son had taken the written portion of a psych test, found an article about our psych report and wanted to go over his sons answers and damage control before the interview with the doc. What? How come your son isn’t calling? We only talk to the candidates.
I was at a written test for a large department. How many parents showed up with their little precious children candidates surprised me. Yea they walked though the line and then big hugs good-bye at the door. What? When are you going to cut the cord?
The clock is ticking.
Station Visits/Ride Alongs
Ride alongs can help or destroy you! Candidates want the opportunity to do ride alongs as a way of showing interest, gain information for their oral, and can say in their oral they had been to the stations. Often they don’t know the culture and etiquette. If you’re bent on doing a ride along, first make an appointment. During test time things get crazy. Be patient. Act like you would if you were the new rookie in the station.
Dummy Up! You don’t have enough time or experience to have an opinion! In this situation you have to be humble, have your questions already written down i.e. what do you expect of a new firefighter, what is the work schedule, what is the daily routing of a firefighter, etc.. Don’t go endless on your questions. Realize you are a snott nose rookie. Too many candidates come in wanting the badge so bad they act like they already have time and want to impress the guys with all of their knowledge. BIG ERROR!
This information will spread like wildfire and destroy you with those who will be making the decisions. Too many candidates tank themselves here and they never know what happened. This applies even if you’re already a firefighter applying for another department.
If you’re lucky enough to do a station visit or a ride along, show up on time with a desert. Home made is best. Gourmet coffee would be well received. If it’s ice cream, make sure it’s the round stuff; not the square stuff. We had so much square stuff during one of test we had a contest in the back yard to see who could throw the square stuff the furthest.
Understand this is our home. We spend more time at the firehouse than with our own family. So here you come waltzing into our home not knowing what to do.
If you’re fortunate to get a station visit or ride along, stay for lunch if offered. Offer to pay your share and do the dishes. Leave before dinner (unless asked to stay) and never spend the night. You might interfere with the kick back time during and after dinner.
Should you go to as many or all the stations in a department? Please spare us this part. Don’t turn yourself inside out trying to cover all of the stations hoping the word will get back that you did. It will make you look anal and compulsive. This will raise its ugly head in the psychological test if you get that far. One or two stations are fine. If you try to do them all, it only increases the chances of saying or doing the wrong thing or catching a shift of malcontents that will badmouth you.
For anyone getting ready to take the CPAT. This was posted from someone who helped administer the test a few weeks ago.
The Excuse Board used at CPAT. Actual excuses used by applicants ( We don't make this stuff up).
All of these were used by the applicants after they failed the test.
I didn't know I was on a clock
I didn't eat
I ate too much
I ate at Taco Bell
I worked last night
I didn't make it to any of the open or formal practice sessions
The vest is too heavy (the vests all weigh 50 lbs)
The proctor slowed me down
I am not a "Morning Person"
I am not an "Afternoon person"
The course is confusing
I have allergies
I worked out this morning
The ladder was under control (while lowering the rope, he let go)
I am Sick
I got Asthma
My feet are too big (for the stepmill)
If I could just use my own gloves
I think you changed the course
If you could speed up the stepmill, I wouldn't stumble so much
I am only 5 minutes late (for his test)
I had the wrong vest size
I was out of the country
I was stopped by a train (same guy)
I was stopped by a cop
I got a ticket
I ran the mini marathon
I got the same cramp as I had in the mini marathon
I have a bad knee
I have water on the knee
I couldn't get a grip on it
I didn't want to burn out
I didn't know where to go on the course
I had the flu, last week
I need bigger steps (stepmill)
I didn't want to get dirty
I didn't train because the video made it look so easy
I didn't get any sleep last night
I didn't lean on the rails that much (stepmill)
I got lost in the maze
I made it through before (years ago)
I have a pinched nerve in my toe
I was a marine. I can do this. I've done 25 mile humps before ( failed Miserably)
I got a cramp
I feel through a roof (while roofing)
I stepped on a nail
How long will this take? I have an appointment to make
Do I get a break for my age? (34)
Can you hold my inhaler?
Can I carry gatorade with me?
Whats the course record ? (Did not get off the stepmill)
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"