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  1. #1
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    Default Chief's Interview vs panel interview

    I made it to the next step in a hiring process to the Chief's interview. I was wondering if the differences are so great that I have to intensify or change up my preparation.

    Here's how I prepare:
    1. Record audio and video of my answers.
    2. Repeat the department and city information over and over every day.
    3. Choose which life experiences/examples to use to justify my answer.
    4. Practice body language.

    I'm wondering if this will suffice like it did for the panel interview. I'll willing to step it up a notch but I don't know what to add to prepare for the interview.

    I did get some good tips by searching the forum but want to hear what you all have to say about it.

    Thank you in advice for your input.


  2. #2
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    Sounds like you're on the right track...I'm in the same boat as you - I've had a few chief's interviews recently.

    One thing I recommend is doing some research at the department with the most recent class of new hires to see how their chief's went. I've noticed that chief's interviews can really vary as to how they are structured. I had one that was only about 10 minutes long in which the chief just wanted to put a face to the name he'd already heard and a stamp of approval on what had already been done. But I've also had a really intensely structured interview with 8 questions and timed answers, etc...

    See what you can find out.

  3. #3
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    You might want to relax a little more with the chief, just not to relaxed

    Like said more to let the chief size you up

    But more than likely also there is still some cutting going on after the interview

  4. #4
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    Many candidates start to panic when they are notified that they are going to a chief's. They think they have to reinvent themselves. Reinvent the wheel. WHOOAA! Understand what got you there. You are only going to the chiefs oral because of the great stuff you already used in the first oral. You're riding the winning pony. Don't switch ponies. You're coming around the club house turn, you shoot out from the back of the pack, go to the whip, you're on the winning pony, you're friends and family are on their feet in the stands cheering you on and you ride her home for the badge.

    Too many candidates switch ponies because "they said". I've never been able to find out who "they" are. If you do not continue to use the good stuff that got you this far, you could drop out of the race. This is a new arena. Candidates who are going to the chiefs interview, start talking to their friends. They convince that they need to do something more. By the time of the interview, they're a wreck. It's not them going into the interview. A clone of someone else. The badges are often given to other candidates.

    The chiefs interview is open to any types of questioning. They are really trying to find out more about you. How you're going to be as a firefighter for the next 25+ years. Do you fit their culture? We like to hire candidates that are them selves on purpose in the interview. Someone who has a personality and conversational. Are you that person in an interview?

    Stan was going to our departments chiefs oral. He made an appointment to come by our station. While there, he asked what more he could do to make it over the top. I told him he was riding the winning pony and not to switch during the home stretch. Three months later I was down at the training center where they were training new recruits. I saw a familiar face. I said, "Stan is that you?" He said, "Yes, I rode that winning pony all the way in!"

    Saddle up.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamessmitchell View Post
    Sounds like you're on the right track...I'm in the same boat as you - I've had a few chief's interviews recently.

    One thing I recommend is doing some research at the department with the most recent class of new hires to see how their chief's went. I've noticed that chief's interviews can really vary as to how they are structured. I had one that was only about 10 minutes long in which the chief just wanted to put a face to the name he'd already heard and a stamp of approval on what had already been done. But I've also had a really intensely structured interview with 8 questions and timed answers, etc...

    See what you can find out.
    James, did you get any job offers after these cheif's interviews?
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  6. #6
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    What can you expect in a Chief's Oral?




    Chief's Orals will vary widely depending on the style of the Fire Chief and the department. However, here are some suggestions:

    1. Get to know about the Department and the Chief before the interview. What are some of the core values of the organization? What are some of the key issues or projects that the department is involved with? Some Chief's like that you took the time to know a little about what the department is all about? However, if the topic comes up...be genuine...don't B.S.!

    2. The Chief's interview is often casual in that there are not necessarily a specific set of fixed questions like on the more formal oral board. The Chief may ask about anything that is on your resume or follow up questions in response to your comments. Casual does not mean that you don't wear professional business attire.

    3. One thing is certain, this is the Chief's brief opportunity to get to know you. I cannot speak for all Fire Chiefs, but I tend to use this opportunity to look for examples in your experiences that demonstrate maturity, stability, responsibility, judgement, compassion, work ethic and other characteristics that I believe are important to be a successful firefighter.

    By the time you reach the Chief's interview, you probably have already been through the written, PPT, and oral board(s). In those portions of the testing you probably have demonstrated your memory, reading comprehension skills, mechanical aptitude, basic math, physical ability, ability to work others as part of a team, understanding of firehouse etiquette, communication skills, and likely have addressed some honesty/integrity scenario.

    4. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself in terms that demonstrate the qualities mentioned above. Give specific examples.

    5. Stay on track with the point you are trying to make. Don't get lost and wander off into irrelevant areas. You'll miss your point, which may also cause you to become more nervous than you already might be. Listen closely to the questions and be responsive to them.

    6. Finally, try to be relaxed and conversational in your manner. Be confident, but not cocky. Make good eye contact. Try to be natural...be yourself...that is who the Chief wants to get to know!

    I hope this helps. Good Luck!

    Ruben Grijalva
    Calif State Fire Marshall, Retired.
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  7. #7
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    ok so i was asked a question at an oral interview and its been buggin me (cant sleep at night).
    i currently work as a FF but i applied to a "dream department." i was asked something about how do i feel about practical jokes, like if someone did one on me. i didnít spend too much time thinking about the question, i just kinda laughed as i reminisced over a prank that was played on me involving a chain saw in the middle of the night. my answer that i gave was, i wouldnít take it too seriously, that i would just laugh with 'em.
    So now its 4 days later, and i truly believe that i answers that question totally wrong. i know that most departments these days have a ZERO tolerance for hazing, and pranks are not cool.
    ...so am i stressing too much, or did i perhaps bomb this question.

  8. #8
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    Do it's only been 4 days? Too soon to pass judgement. Get some sleep. Hey when you first got hired that was expected, right?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptBob View Post
    James, did you get any job offers after these cheif's interviews?
    Not sure on a couple of them - still waiting for word from two departments.

    On one chief's the candidates were ranked prior to the chief's interview, and myself and everyone's rank stayed the same after the interview. On that particular chief's interview, the chief said he just wanted to take the time to meet the potential employees, look for any red flags, and give his stamp of approval. It lasted no more than 15 minutes. It pretty much included, "Tell me about yourself. Why do you want to work here? Anything else you want me to know? On that particular list, I'm ranked very high, and I hope it will turn into an offer.

    On the other chief's, which both had 8 structured questions, I have not been given final results yet. But I handled it like any other interview.

    By the way, I have your program, and I borrow from it in every interview.

  10. #10
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    I wanna thank everybody for the tips. The interview is next week. The first interview was structured and the most in depth I have ever had.

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    Good Luck bro...

  12. #12
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    Had the interview it went well but, wasn't what I expected. I was more relaxed than the panel but was still up there.
    They took my picture too, I should of asked why but I didn't.
    Has that happened to anybody before?

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    I've had pics taken a few times...it's just their way of cataloging you and identifying you when they talk about the candidates...it doesn't mean anything...

  14. #14
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    Consider putting a small photo of yourself in the upper right hand corner of your resume. One agency interview 176 candidates for 5 positions. Two of the five have the only pictures on their resumes. It was easier for the panel to remember them.

    Pulling Out All the Stops

    Candidates were asked to submit a photo with their applications to go forward in the hiring process. One candidate called to find out what the requirements were for the photo. They said just a head shot, because one candidate had already submitted a photo of himself in uniform, standing on an engine, with a dalmatian dog on a lease, and holding a little girl in his other hand.

    Talk about pulling out all the stops.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamessmitchell View Post
    I've had pics taken a few times...it's just their way of cataloging you and identifying you when they talk about the candidates...it doesn't mean anything...
    Ok cool, That was my guess. I will keep you all updated.

  16. #16
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    That's correct. We look at the photos to jog our memory of each candidate. It gets confusint to remember each candidate after a day of interviews. After a while they all run together.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

  17. #17
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    How does the background check work? If they find something that you didn't list in your application they disqualify you?

    I went to a different college and only took three classes there before returning to my old one and didn't list it on the application because I never list it.

  18. #18
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    Put it down or else it will be considered intentional withholding of information (aka "lying").

  19. #19
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    Not automatic disqualifier , kind of depends on what it is

    A few College hours should not be a problem , plus something like that is hard to find out about

    You should get a transcript and submitt it

    It's more arrest, driving problems, work history that trips people up, if not reported

  20. #20
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by ffbam24 View Post
    Put it down or else it will be considered intentional withholding of information (aka "lying").
    Fair enough. I put down everything except that, I'll just have to wait and see how they take it.

    In the meantime, still applying. 7 months out of the academy and over 50 applications deep.

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