1. #1
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    Default Interview Advice

    Hello - After a couple of years of volunteering I've tested with a career department and have my panel interview next week. I've never been through this process before and don't know what to expect. I know there are four interviewers from a variety of department's - not just fire - and they ask about 8 questions. The questions are the "what is your greatest weakness?, best asset?" type questions. Any advice on how to answer these? I believe in complete honestly, but other interviewees tell me they think there are "right answers" to these questions and plan to tell the interview board what they think the board wants to hear. I'm female by the way if that makes any difference. Kelly

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    Hi Kelly,

    I am also with a Vol. Dept. I totally agree with you on honesty. That is the best policy. I have never had to go before a board like that for a paid Dept. but I did have to do something simular to that with a Vol. Dept. in Arkansas. This might not help but this is what I did. I took some time by my self, actually went on a hiking trail to be totally alone, Look deep within yourself to find the answers you might think they will ask. Strongest points, weakest points, what kind of asset would you be to our department and why, why you want to be a firefighter/EMS, what fears do you have. You can ask alot of people these questions and all answers will be different. It has to come from your heart, how you truely feel inside. This all might sound corny but it worked for me

    Be Safe,
    David Sallee FF/EMS
    Avilla Fire Dept.

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    You don't sound corny at all and I totally agree with you. There has to be some sort of compromise between being totally honest and fine tuning my answers so I can display the qualities the board is looking for. Do you think the board can tell the difference between someone trying to give all the "right" answers and someone who is being honest and really revealing who they are? For instance, a guy I work with is interviewing too. His answer to the "greatest weakness" question is that he is too much of a perfectionist. It happens to be totally untrue. He's actually rather sloppy in his work, but he intends to answer this way because he thinks its the "right answer" and he can explain how this weakness is actually a strength for him. I could give the same answer and it would be closer to the truth for me, but it is my no means my true greatest weakness. How should I approach this question?

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    Wink Tough Choices

    Hi Kelly,
    My name is Dee Sallee, and I am David's wife and I am with the Avilla Fire and Rescue's EMS team. He has shown me your post to get my views on it. I don't envy your situation, bless your heart...because I know it is a difficult one. I feel though, that being true to yourself is the way to go, because you are the only one who will have to live with regret. I'm saying this because....look at the fellow you spoke of, who describes his greatest weakness as being a perfectionist..
    when actually he is "sloppy" in his work. These board members have seen and heard it all from hopefuls for years....and if he goes ahead and answers this way..and also continues to perform poorly...they will not respect him...and respect counts in this line of work, because it affects the teams trust in him...therfore his untruthful answer will become a regret he will have to live with. If you answer as truthfully and honorably as you can, and with integrety....that would be more worthy of respect in their eyes, I believe.

    I don't know how much time you have before this review, but I would like to recommend a book that I have read. It is called..
    "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers", by Debbie Ford. It helps you examine your greatest fears and turn them into assets. I found that my BIGGEST fear was of failure. By turning that around....my fear of failure pushes me to not fail...to not let that person's life slip away. I now use my fear, instead of being held back by it. Everyone has things about themselves that they concider drawbacks...but they are apart of us all. It's all a matter of how you see it and how you use it, and become impowered by it.

    When I was a little kid...everyone called me Jabber, because I talked all the time...never failing to have something to say. It hurt my feelings! I used to think that was a drawback, but....by turning it around....I am a good communicator and can talk to people I don't know, easily which helps in this line of work. (I'm also a Disc Jockey and so is David, so it helps there too, LOL!) There's always light in the dark, if you look for it.

    So, pick your answers honestly. They will respect you for it. Good luck Kelly, and we will be thinking of you. PLease let us know what happens!

    See you on the flip side~

    Jabber
    Last edited by DSallee_FF/EMS; 09-28-2002 at 01:37 AM.

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    Lightbulb But then....

    But then who knows, hun....maybe keeping the fear answer to spiders and snakes might be good too. It's up to you....and whatever you really feel is best!

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    Thanks so much for your replies. I can tell they were carefully thought out. I'm going to be honest in all my answers and hope for the best. I'm not a very good at lying or BS anyway. The interview is Thursday and I'll let you know how I thought it went after it's over. Kelly

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    Just finished the interview! I think it went very well. I came up with a reasonably intelligent reply to every question and seemed to have a pretty good rapport with the interviewers. I was completely honest in all my answers and feel like a gave a very true representation of myself. They didn't ask any questions like "what is your greatest weakness?" All of the questions were about "positive" traits or "how have you prepared yourself for this job?" kind of questions. A friend of a friend of a friend told me that he heard I did very well and they liked that my answers seemed very real and unrehearsed. So now I'm cautiously optimistic that I may score high enough to get a chief's interview. Thanks for your advice!!! Kelly

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    Thumbs up Way To Go Sis.......

    Very COOL Kelly.
    We have our fingers crossed for ya..... sounds like you might have done good. * wonders if the other "person" was prepared for these answers instead of what he rehearsed, lol. Probably not, was expecting certain questions to be asked but wasn't.

    Sounds like you did some soul searching and found the answers you needed.

    Congrats.. on 1st interview. * hoping for 2nd......

    David Sallee
    Dee Sallee

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    David and Dee - I'm #6 on the hiring list! I'm pretty happy with that since this was my first try and there were over 90 people that took the test. I hear they will hire 3 or 4 so I'll definitely get a chief's interview at some point. I'll probably be writing again, asking for advice for that interview! - Kelly

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    Glad to hear you placed high on the list........was hoping for top 3 but 6th is GREAT!! Good luck in all that you do and be safe..... Keep in touch We don't know you personally but we are very Proud of you!!!


    David & Dee

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    Thanks! I knew top three wasn't possible because of the veteran's preference points. All but one of the people above me are veterans and got either 5 or 10 points added to their score depending on their service. I got the top written score and the second highest interview score so I would have been #1 or #2 if no one got preference points. The top scorers are usually only a point or two apart so having 10 points added to your score usually moves you above almost everyone else. That's just the way it is with this department - guess I could have joined the military rather than go to college. Thanks for your support! Kelly

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