Yes, Stories Get Badges!
I was having lunch the other day at Chipotle’s I noticed a group wearing T-shirts from the near by American Health Education where they were going through the EMT program. All wanted to be firefighters. After I introduced myself I asked a few of the candidates why they wanted to be firefighters? I heard public service, helping people, giving back, not the same thing every day, blah blah blah. They were surprised that what they thought was unique answer was just a “clone” answer of everyone else in the group.
If you used these “clone answers in your oral board the magic that you needed to hook up with the oral board has passed and you didn’t hook them into listening to your stuff. You have just scored yourself. Trust me. You can see the glaze come over the raters’ eyes. It’s like a deer caught in the headlights. They are gone and they won’t come back.
It’s not that you can’t use clone answers. You can. But first you need to deliver a signature story about you. Not a clone answer of anyone else. I haven’t met a candidate yet that couldn’t come up with signature stories. Here’s how:
Don Hewitt, one of the pioneers of television news and the creator of CBS's "60 Minutes" said, “The key to my success is four words that every child in the world knows. Tell me a story. Learn how to tell a story and you will be a success.” It's the same with getting a firefighter badge!
We encourage candidates to lace their answers with personal life experiences. Since no one else can tell a candidate’s life experience stories they can’t be placed in the mold of a profile. They become unique, fresh and convincing. Not a profile robot “clone” of everyone else.
If you have all the education, experience and the burning desire to get that badge, you’re not getting hired, having to cool your heels in another position waiting for that next opportunity (not a bad ideal), you have be asking yourself why?
Why some candidates getting hired and others are wasting opportunities? Those getting hired simply got positive results by putting simple techniques into action. The big difference is they figured out how to maximize the points in their oral boards, are now riding big red and taking home a pay check.
Here’s how they did it. Since oral board scores for many departments (not LA City )are calculated in hundredths of points (82.15, 87.63, 90.87, etc), the goal is to keep building on a few hundredths of points here on this question, a few hundredths there on that answer, gaining a few more hundredths with their signature personalized life experience stories at the appropriate time, delivering the all powerful “Nugget” answers that no one else can tell, and pulling away from the parrot salvo dropping clones.
Before the clone candidates realize what has happened, these candidates have added on extra points to their score placing them in a position to be invited to the chief’s interview where they get a real shot at the badge. Just being 1 to 2 points out of the running can decide whether you will go forward in the hiring process or not.
The toughest thing for candidates to do in an oral is to be themselves on purpose. Your stories establish a natural bridge between you and the panel. When you're yourself, you become conversational because you are on your own turf. This alone can lower the stress and the butterflies. Every one has butterflies. The trick is to get all the butterflies to all fly in the same formation than can make the difference.
Stories are more than facts. If you can recreate the excitement, emotion, the color and magic to relive the actual event, you will capture the interest and a top score on that question. A big part of getting this job is convincing the oral board that you can do the job before you get it. Stories are convincing and can demonstrate your experience, even if they’re not fire related.
One reason stories work effectively is because they go directly to the brain and entertain. They do not require the mental processing of more formal nonfiction writing. Stories have heart and ring true.
Collect illustrative stories as you are collecting facts, quotations and other information for your signature stories.
Practice those stories with a hand held voice recorder. Condense them down to a couple of minutes or less. Don’t go on a journey. The oral board is not packed for the trip. You won’t have time and it’s not appropriate to use a signature story for every answer. Tell the story. Make the point. Move on. Once you answer an oral board with a signature story, you can marry the rest of your answer with those clone answers you have been using. Try it and see the amazing difference.
“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”—Joseph Pulitzer, (1847-1911) American journalist.
I was talking to a candidate one day who was giving me those clone answers why he wanted to be a firefighter. I stopped him and had him rewind the videotape of his life to where he first got the spark to be a firefighter. He said, “Oh, I’m from South America. When I was growing up, we lived with my grandfather who was the fire chief of the city. I got to go with him and be exposed to the whole department.”
I asked if he had ever told that story in any of his oral board interviews? He said, “No”. Why not? I will bet you big money you are a clone candidate right now. But, I bet you also have some personal signature stories that could instantly change your interview scores.
Some say, how can you prepare for your orals without turning into a clone?” Good question. Simple answer. The real reason is nobody else can tell your story! Nobody! So the point here is not the question, but the answer. Start establishing your personalized stories. When you start lacing your answers with your personalized experiences is where you start to shorten that gap between you and that infamous badge.
“You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”
The proof is in the badges!
Congrats to those that passed and have their backgrounds scheduled. I'm really jealous, and cannot wait to get my turn in front of the panel!
On that note, has anyone heard anything about when the next batch of interviews might be? I know they are scheduled trhough June currently. I'm hoping they send out letters in June with July dates...just wishful thinking though...
anyone have any actual info?
Nothing other than rumor, but the last rumor I heard was September. I can in no way confirm the validity of that, so take it how you will.
Has anyone else here interviewed? Im just wondering how many are making it through?
I had an interview 10 days ago and walked out thinking I did so well and got a white card to goto personnel office and she said thank you and I would get a letter in the mail. Now the person that went into another interview board at the same time got background papers on their way out. So who knows the reasons. Had more to bring to the table than last time but who knows what it was. Have not got the letter in the mail yet but we will see what the letters says.
Originally Posted by ramrod63
Interviewed a couple weeks ago. got a card brought it to personnel. got a paper explaining how to download my background packet. moving on.
Congrats to everyone who got their background packets! Can't wait for my chance in front of the board
So I got my final interview letter in the mail today and got a 90 percent. So if you got a 90 which is excellent why wouldn't they just give you a 95 and move you forward. O well that is what cities and counties can get away with. This is the kicker of all kickers it says you can't review any of the interviewers comments or notes. So at the end of the day you have no way of what you can do better next time. Trust me at the end of the day I could of not done any better especially getting a 90 percent. Basically they said we will give you a great score but since we are not going to give you another 5 percent or 5 points which is nothing that you are not moving forward. Crazy
It would of been better just to give me a 70 percent instead of a 90 and teasing me. So who knows what is going to happen. I guess I will stay on the list for a year and then go back and take the CPAT again and interview again. So that will be 3 interviews in 5 years with The City of Los Angeles.
Only if I had military credit or some kind of credit I would be in the door. I think I should be some credit for being a local citizen all of my life and pay taxes to the city all of my working life. I think its only fair.
I was looking at the LAFD Applicant thread from 2008/2009 and they were so much more vocal than we are! I think these days people are afraid to talk about the process using social media, but a lot of guys/gals who were discussing the process in 2008 got hired. That should prove the point that if you are respectful and stay on topic, you don't have anything to fear. That being said, how goes filling out the background packet?
Well, this thread pretty much died....
No it's still alive I think people just want to keep to themselves.
totally agree with ya. wondering if anyone else has gotten anything from LA. any new news?? waiting game i guess.
still waiting, a guy in my paramedic program passed his interview with a 96% and is currently in backgorunds
I got background papers after my interview. No mail regarding my interview score as of yet.
thanks for the reply back (brian and Fireman). hope the list is good for at least 3 years. according to the join LAFD facebook page, the last thing they posted was "At LAFD, we need our firefighters to be up to date on all their certifications, in the best physical condition possible, and to keep a positive mind-set. What are you doing to make sure you stay LAFD ready" in reply to this, im wondering if the applicants they are looking at are not meeting min standards. Is it actually a lottery process or first come first serve? best wishes to those who pass.
Has anyone who went to the background meeting heard anything back since?
Nothing..... And I was at the first day of backgrounds. I do, however, know they pulled my credit report.
Same here I was just curious as if I had got dropped since I havnt heard anything back besideds the credit report.
I would be surprised if we even heard sometime in July. LOTS of people to go through. This is only my guess to what is going on. I have no proof or "inside knowledge" to what is actually happening.
They will first start with the highest scores (105) then review their application and give them a numeric value. (2 points for AA degree, 4 points for Bachelors, 3 points for medic, ect) then look at their bg packet and give them a score on that as well (-2 points for minor drug use, -5 points for major drug use, -5 for DUI, ect) After they evaluate the perfect score people, they will go down the list to the 100s and 95s until they get their list.
Again, this is only MY guess to what is happening and trying to figure out a fair, non-opinionated way of approving people to go to the next step in the process.
Anyone else getting a call from their background investigator? my buddy got a call from his and meets with his in July. No one else I know though has gotten a call from them.