It feels like being an air traffic controller around here with all the e-mail and phone calls from candidates needing flight instructions, weather conditions, course corrections, and take off and landings towards their destination of getting a badge. Here are a recent few:

e-mail:
Hi, My name is Dave. I have been looking over the testimonials in your site, wishing that I had discovered it sooner!!! I was lucky enough to receive a date for an oral interview with a department that I would love to be on. The BAD news is that it is on Wed June 25th!! I have gathered quite a few ideas about what to do/not to do by reading through your testimonials and information, and will most likely order some literature in the future.

Here are my questions:

I have an unrelated Associates degree (AutoBody design),which I am not going to specify unless asked. I have both my FF1 & 2 certifications and EMT-B license.

I graduated at the top of the class in the fire academy and second in my EMT class w/ an 95.6 average. Is it important that I mention this? It was quite an accomplishment for me, but I do not want to sound snobby or Ďbook smartí.

Also, should I mention that I am an Eagle Scout? Or will this be ,likely to stereotype me?

Reply:

I graduated at the top of the class in the fire academy and second in my EMT class w/ an 95.6 average. Is it important that I mention this?

You can mention these in your answer what have you done to prepare for the position i.e.: I have my FF1 where I was top or my class, EMT where I placed second in my class.

Also, should I mention that I am an Eagle Scout? Or will this be ,
likely to stereotype me?

You definitely want to include being an Eagle Scout! Not many can tout that.

Phone call 8:00 pm:

Captain Bob Sir (I feel uncomfortable when they call me Sir). I didnít believe it when I read on your web site donít be surprised if you get two job offers. Well, thatís my dilemma. Two job offers. One is moving faster than the one I really want to work for. Problem is one wants me to come in for uniform fitting and pay for them next week. They will reimburse me once Iím in the academy. I really want to work for the other department.

Reply:

Take a piece of paper and put a line down the center. On the left put all the pros. On the right put the negative. Do the same for the other department. See if that clears it up. So come next week what are you going to do? I donít know.

You guys are killing me. What happens if you pass this department and for what ever reason youíre not hired by the other department? How would you feel. Real bad was the answer.

Then, I suggest you go write that check for uniforms next week. The amount is chump change, nothing in the total scope of things. Hell, Iíll write it if you wonít! If the other department offers you a job in writing, make a decision then what you will do.

e-mail:
Capt. Bob~
I just heard that I passed my psych in Colorado and am moving on to the chief and medical! Thank you so much for your help! Your packet really gave me a heads up. Here is some info on the test, if you are interested: At the very beginning of the 4 hour written they gave us a 12 minute IQ type test with 50 questions. Instructions said just 'do the best you can'. Questions like basic math, and putting shapes together, and word meanings. I got through maybe 30.

Then the big written with all those monotonous questions! They had an employment history and essay question on 'why are you qualified' right in the middle of it, probably to give your mind a break. All in all a very tiring test. I think the key was answering strongly agree or disagree.

The interview was fairly formal. I wore my suit...and power tie! He asked ?'s that he said he had to ask everyone like drug history, driving record stuff, 'have you ever hit your wife', 'tell me about father/ mother', any traumatic experiences as a child, 'what the most stressful thing to happen to you'? etc. And then he asked specific questions to my test, like one answer I had mismarked, one answer where I said I can be 'wild'. He wanted me to expand on that. I said it really depends on the definition of 'wild'. Some people think I'm wild b/c I ride motorcycles, rock climb, love being a firefighter, loud music and have a good time with my buddies when we get together. I donít think Iím wild, I said, but others might say I am.

All in all, the interview went really good and I think the key was connecting with the interviewer and getting him to like me. Anyway, I wanted to share any knowledge about the test I could with you and thank you again for your help. Keep on doing the good work you do for people. Your help can really change peoples futures.
Thanks again, Capt, Phil, Colorado


e-mail:
Dear Captain Bob, I have been a reserve with my department for nearly 2 years, and was recently offered a fulltime position, and sent to take another physical. According to the department's contract physician, my pulse does not drop to normal fast enough after a treadmill stress test. I have completed the test twice, and have apparently failed both times. The physician refuses to give me the specific criteria required of his standard, only telling me that the test is in compliance with NFPA 1582. The Chief has informed me that I have 90 days to obtain medical clearance from this same physician, and that I will be placed back on the list, not hired, pending the passing medical results. I was also specifically told that I have no right to a second opinion from another doctor.

I am in no way an expert in personnel matters (hence I am writing to you), but it seems to me that something is not right. Is there anything I can do to get a fair shake at this, or am I better off seeking employment elsewhere? Thank you for your time, Mike

Reply: Something isn't right! Here's why:
What if you don't Pass the Medical?
What do you do if you have not passed the medical or psych test?

Pre-employment medical examinations must comply with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and in California with the California Fair Employment Act Section 7294.0(d) of title 2 of the California Code of Regulations states:

(2) Where the results of such medical examination would result in disqualification, an applicant or employee may submit independent medical opinions for consideration before a final determination on disqualification is made.

What this states is that if you have failed a medical or psychological test that was part of a medical, you should be given the chance to obtain a second opinion. Cities and agencies might not be aware of this law. Most people are unaware that they can appeal the decision.

Have the leading expert in this field of medicine (no, not just your family doctor) evaluate your condition. If they feel you're fit for duty, have them give you a letter.

Candidates will say they donít want to pursue this option because it might ruin any chance that this city might call them back in the future or will cause problems applying to other agencies. Although the way to law is written, you can qualify for a list for an agency over and over again; UNDERSTAND that if you are eliminated from the process because of a medical or psychological test, this agency will NEVER consider you again! The time to act is now! And, there are no black lists out there of those candidates who try to get a position that is rightfully theirs.

Because of this change in the law, agencies that previously were eliminating candidates because of a medical condition are now setting a base line of the condition as a reference for future injuries, clearing the candidates for hire. Pretty cool eh?



Phone call

Hey cap Iím going into background for a big department in the NW. One of the things they require is to be tobacco free for the last year or sign a statement you will be. I ask so whatís the problem? Well, I chew. How long have you know about your chances for this job? About a year. What in the hey is wrong with you guys. You know you have a shot at this job for a year, have a chance to give up the chew and here you are when the letter arrives chewing, right? Well, yea. But Iíve told everyone including my fiancťe to not to mention it.

So, let me get this right. Youíre going to sign a statement you have been tobacco free for one year and there is no way they will find out? How are they going to find out? Then you have no clue what goes on in background. All they need to do is find one person that has been ****ed off by you and have them tell about the chew. Then, because you signed the statement you lied. You are instantly dropped from the hiring process. Is this what you want Mcfly? NO! But you say not to create trails where you donít have to. True. On this one, is this true? They canít find anyone who will slip with the truth? Well, maybe. I guess I should step up and sign the statement I will quit and go back and tell everyone to be honest. Now, thereís a concept.


e-mail:
captain i need help im 1st on the list after being passed over 2x. had a [post interview with chief and was advised of my interview skills sucked! please contact me asap and advise me of whqat i can get from you as to help me in this process. Carl

Reply: Happens more than you know. Here's how to turn it around:

The Formula
Here's what we know after 30-years of experience. Since the written and physical ability are pass/fail, 100% of the score to get a badge is in the oral board. This is where you go for all the marbles. After being on over 100 oral boards, I have seen candidates with great credentials. Yet, they couldn't present the package. And, if you can't present the package, you will never, never, ever see a badge!
Our candidates are improving their interview scores up to 15 points and nailing that BADGE!

They begin by getting our Audio/Video Entry Level Oral Board Program, use the work booklet, practice with the all-important TAPE RECORDER, and come back for a private coaching session. They catapult themselves into the Olympic camp. That's where you get a shot at that badge you have been looking for. Click here for more: www.eatstress.com

e-mail:
After looking at NFPA 1582, the medical standards, a couple of things stuck out to me. First, I have occasional migraine headaches and am on medication to stem them. Second, I am diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. I am not be treated for this however as it doesn't affect my life in any significant manner.

I am confident that my neurologist would be willing to give me a letter stating that in her opinion, I am fit to perform the duties of a firefighter.

The main question is, should I mention these conditions on any questionnaires that I'm required to fill out? If I leave them out, will the department find out about them by doing any research on me? If I should put them down, would a letter from my doctor keep me out of hot water and let me move on?

Reply: If you leave anything out and they find out, you will be eliminated from the
process. I'm not sure if a letter from your doctor will keep you in the
process.

e-mail:
dear captain bob,

I am a career firefighter in Illinois wishing to go back to the state of Wisconsin as a paid firefighter. I am applying to only a few of my dream departments. I have an interview coming up and was wondering if you have any insight to the preparation i will need to partake in to really stand out. Is there any specific questions you think they may throw my way that i may not be prepared for. The size of the departments is relatively the same with completely different way's of doing things. Thanks for your help!

Reply: Don't limit yourself to testing for just a few of your dream departments. The more tests you take the better you get at taking tests. Take as many as you can. Then when the dream department comes along that you really want to work for, you are up to speed to nail that badge! The biggest problem I see with current firefighters going back to take and entry level test is they donít leave their time and rank in their locker applying for a snotty nose rookie position.


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

Fire "Captain Bob"

www.eatstress.com

888-238-3959