What do you think?
I'll be interviewing for a dream department soon, and having second thoughts on some of the information I've prepared to tell.
For example on the "Tell us about yourself" question, I have included information about how I've competed in natural body building competitions, where I earned my pro-card.
I'm curious to know how others view this. On one side, it could show my dedication, discipline, work ethic, and sacrafice to reach a specific goal, but on the other side it could show being selfish, vain, or anything else negative one can think of.
I'd like to hear your opinion, to maybe help steer me in the correct decision to tell or not to tell. I know this sounds pretty minor, because this is not a scored question, but I want to make the best first impression I can.
Thanks in advance for the input.
Is this your first paid dept you will be on??
Maybe slant it towards the fire dept job, as in I have prepared myself physically for the fd, as part of that I also competed in body building comps
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. Whatís real important to understand here is that answer is not scored! Thatís right; there is generally not a box to score the answer for an opening or closing statement. So, I would stay away from what you preceive they want to hear.
A one minute or less answer about you and your hobbies is all that is needed here. 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 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. This question is generally not scored. Then, when the panel starts asking why they want to be a firefighter, what have they done to prepare and the other standard 30 possible oral board questions, they have to reiterate what they have already said. They lose valuable time and points here.
When some candidates start talking in an oral, itís like going on a journey. There could be no final destination. Most panel members arenít packed for the trip. I asked a candidate to tell me a little about himself during private coaching one day. I stopped him 12 minutes later. I said you have just used up 12 minutes of a 20 minute oral. What do you think we have time for now?
Personally, and this is just me...if I had other positive interests and character traits I'd probably leave this one out, or just say you're committed to being physically fit.
Originally Posted by jjohnson3
Not discounting bodybuilding; the dedication and commitment level is admirable. Firemen are very juvenile...if you were to tell guys you were a bodybuilder (we make fun of calendar firefighters relentlessly...not the same but similar), it could just open up a can of worms.
First and foremost DO NOT BELIEVE THIS IS NOT A "GRADED" QUESTION. THIS IS BAD ADVICE!
You are graded on EVERYTHING. This includes how you interact with my secretary before you enter the room. It also includes whether you typed or hand wrote your application. DO NOT believe you are ever NOT being graded when in the presence of the panel or of those who are administering the exam.
As far as your specific question goes about talking about competing in body building competitions;
The choice is up to you. The positives are that physical fitness is important to you. You are in good physical condition and that is extremely important. You also pay attention to what you eat. This too is healthy. The down side is that my perception of guys who are/were body builders is that they tend to have problems as they get older. I know of plenty of former "studs" who have had hip and knee replacements and others who are having significant problems with their neck, back, and shoulders. The other question lingering in my mind is whether someone may be using steroids.
I would recommend you focus less in your interview on the HARD CORE body building and emphasize the importance of physical fitness. Even in a suit and tie we can tell you're a stud.
For the record, I am much more impressed with someone who has completed a marathon or a triathlon than with someone who is a body builder.
Thank you for the response.
Originally Posted by BCLepore
What you conceive a body builder to be was exactly what I feared a panel would think also.
As a personal trainer for the last 4 years I have developed a great understanding of biomechanics and how the body works. I've also specialized in corrective exercise to help people recover from injuries by designing a program based off strengthening and flexibility techniques to correct deviations in the body.
It saddens me to know that I am viewed as someone who will have "problems/injuries" as I get older (although when performed correctly, strength and flexibilty training is the prescription for any hip/knee/back/shoulder/neck injury) and viewed as someone who may be using illegal substances (even though I have never taken any drug in my entire life).
In the account of the abilities of marathon and tri-athletes is impressive. Body builders also show great cardio vascular conditioning and strength endurance due to the amount of attention they must focus on with their cardio regimens to reach the low body fat levels they seek.
In the end, you are correct. I didn't merely focus on this one aspect in my interview, but showed them the whole package of who I am and why I am going to be a great firefighter.
So far I am right on track, passed the interview process, and now moved into the background investigation.
Regardless of your "form" the body isn't meant to carry the body building loads and I know of award winning body builders at my gym who complete very little cardiovascular exercises. It's more about diet. Physical fitness is very important in the job of a firefighter but if your dream department is as dreamy as you say, they're looking for people who are smart enough to fullfil more than just the grunt ranks.
Maybe talk a little about your education studies. Like BCL said, they'll know your dedication to physical fitness by looking at you. They'll know your dedication to intelligence by listening to you.
You can mention this, but the hiring board is simply looking for one thing:
TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE "NORMAL."
Would you want to hire someone that lives in his moms basement and plays video games all day long? Probably not?
The more ideal candidate is one that is socially, physically, and mentally sould.
You have the physical part down, but just hit on other parts of your life. I wouldn't put as much emphasis on bodybuilding as you do, I would mention it and cover it for the majority (2/3rds) of the answer, but include other things.