1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Chiefs interview

    So I had test with a department back in June. Passed
    The written and then the physical. Was invited to a captains interview which I did well and made it with 10 others to the chiefs interview. They were only hiring one position but I was told that I would remain on a hiring list. Two weeks ago I recieved a call from their human resources asking if I was still interested and would I come back and interview with the chief again. So my question is what does this mean if anything? Thanks for any info.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area


    Uh, it could mean that they have one or more job openings. Get turned up to give your best presentation and see what happens.

    Don't be surprised if you're asked many of the same questions. One question could be what have you done since the last interview?

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"


  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003


    We don't waste our time if there are not any openings. As chief officers we have a very full plate. Recruit hiring is very time consuming.

    I believe this will help give you a better understanding of the process. BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!

    The Chief’s Interview
    Alan Patalano is the Fire Chief for the Long Beach Fire Department in Southern California. He has agreed to share his thoughts and ideas on what he is looking for from a candidate during a chief’s interview. His article is published as a chapter in Smoke Your Firefighter Interview.

    There are dozens of people around who will be glad to offer advice on how a
    candidate should perform during a Chief’s interview. They will tell you about the
    theory of interview questions, body language, dress and presentation. I don’t
    have expertise in any of those areas; instead, what I have is the experience
    of conducting Chief’s interviews from the perspective of a Chief Officer and
    from the perspective of sitting in the room after the interviews are completed
    and actually deciding which candidate gets a job offer.
    The Chief’s interview is far different from the structured oral interview that
    you may take during the initial testing phase. The initial interview usually asks
    every candidate the exact same questions, in the exact same order. This is
    done so that the exam is consistent for everyone. The Chief’s interview does
    not operate in this fashion. In the Chief’s interview I am free to ask questions
    of each candidate based on his or her resume, experience, education,
    background and responses to previous questions. I do not need to ask each
    candidate the same questions. This is an important point. My questions are
    based, in a large part, on your responses to prior questions.

    I evaluate your responses in several ways, including:
    1. How well do you communicate?
    2. Are your answers thought out?
    3. Are you confident?
    4. Are you truthful?

    Let’s look at each aspect:
    How well you communicate has a huge impact on your overall score. Your
    ability to utilize the spoken word to convey a message or make a point is the
    foundation of a great score. The first portion of good communication is listening.
    What do I mean? Simply stated, to develop a great answer you must know what question I am asking. It is not uncommon to stop a candidate a couple of minutes into a great answer because he or she is answering the wrong question! There are several reasons why this happens:

    • The candidate anticipates particular questions before arriving at the
    interview, classifies the question as one of his or her preconceived
    questions and provides the answer.

    • The candidate has a list of predetermined answers and utilizes the
    canned answer that is closest to the question I ask.

    • The candidate formulates a reply without listening to the complete

    • The candidate is nervous and gets off-track while answering.
    So before you can develop a great answer you should listen carefully to
    the question in its entirety. If you are unsure of what is being asked, then ask
    for the question to be repeated and/or clarified. This not only allows you to
    provide the best possible answer, but also shows that you are not afraid to
    speak up when needed to avoid mistakes (a good quality to have on the fire
    ground). But do not make it a habit to ask for every question to be repeated.
    This might only show that you are not attentive.

    Once you determine what the question is, make sure you take the time to
    formulate a great reply. Many times I no sooner finish the question before the
    candidate starts talking. I always think to myself, “I wonder if the candidate
    was listening when I was talking.”

    Tone of voice, volume and grammar all impact how I perceive your
    answer. An angry or aggressive tone makes me question how you may respond
    to the public during emergencies, especially when you are under stress. Low
    volume indicates a candidate may be timid or lack confidence.
    Poor grammar or slang makes me question your maturity. Remember that
    good communication is predicated on providing information in a format so
    that the listener (i.e. the interview panel) can understand it and not on the
    way you like to say it.

    Next I like to see that your answers are thought out, logical and realistic.
    Once I ask the question, you should be able to walk me through the sequence
    of events or the steps you would take. As an example, if the question asks about
    your education, your response shouldn’t start with high school, then discuss
    grade school, then a course you are currently taking and then your college
    experience. It should be presented in a logical sequence: grade school, high
    school, college and the current course. It is confusing to the interviewer when
    the answer is presented in a disorganized fashion and makes me wonder if
    everything you do is disorganized.

    Answers also have to be realistic. If asked a situational question about
    which task you would perform: 1) pull a hose line to a door, 2) hook to a
    hydrant, or 3) raise a ground ladder, the worst answer would be, “I would do
    them all because I am young and strong.” It’s not practical and shows a lack of
    understanding of the real world. On the fire ground we are faced with choices
    and every firefighter must be able to analyze facts and make decisions. I expect
    to see this same quality during the interview.

    Another big quality I look for during the interview is how you represent
    yourself. Do you appear confident? Are you sure of yourself? Your answers
    should reflect your confidence in your skills and abilities. An answer that is
    vague or noncommittal demonstrates a lack of confidence. The nature of our
    business makes confidence during emergencies a vital personal quality. Can
    you make a decision and then act on it? Needless to say, there is no crying
    during the interview!

    Finally, do not let me catch you telling a lie, stretching the truth or telling
    only half the story. I am willing to overlook past behavior (up to a point) if you
    have shown that you have changed that behavior. I won’t consider it past
    behavior if I find you to be dishonest or unwilling to share all of the facts
    during the interview. That is your current behavior and is unacceptable. It willProcess
    not matter to me if you can offer a good excuse for why you weren’t honest
    initially because I will already be looking for a better candidate. I cannot stress
    this enough. If I catch you in a lie you will not get a job offer today or for the
    life of the list, period.

    It is very important to understand that during the interview I am looking for
    candidates who will be able to work with my firefighters for 30 years. We can
    train you to pull hose, take a blood pressure and operate a hydraulic rescue
    tool. What we can’t train you to do is act in an honest, ethical manner or be
    professional or compassionate. You must have those traits “built-in” before
    you arrive for the first day of drill school, so I look for those qualities during
    the interview.

    Education shows that you can commit to a course of action and follow
    through until completion. Work history shows loyalty and commitment.
    Community activities show that you believe yourself to be part of something
    greater than just yourself, your family and friends. How you dress shows that
    you consider yourself important and respect the job and those who perform it.
    All of these things serve to assist me in “seeing” the real you. No single fact,
    statement, or resume line assures you a job offer. Instead it is a compilation
    of all of your various education, background, experiences and presentation
    that helps you to rise above the other candidates and secure a position.

    I have offered positions to candidates with years of firefighter experience
    and to those without any experience at all, to those with extensive education
    and to those with only a GED, to candidates with a list of certificates and to
    those who didn’t have a single piece of paper except what was required to
    apply. What they all had in common was desire, commitment, honesty, loyalty,
    compassion and a dedication to serving a greater good. If you possess these
    qualities and can demonstrate them to me during an interview, then there is a
    very good chance that within a year I will be shaking your hand and welcoming
    you as the newest member of my department.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief

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