Question: What is the oral board looking for when this question is asked? I have heard many different things on the subject and am confused on how I should approach the question. Thank you for any responses.

Another candidates reply: SELL, SELL, SELL!!! I am definitely not an authority on "The Interview" but I would take the opportunity to emphasize all of my strong points. I would also include things that I am interested in so as to seem human and not some firefighting robot. This is a question that I have been spending a lot of time thinking about lately. It puts the ball in your court and seems as if it could make or break your interview. Good Luck (but I guess the prepared don't need luck).

My Reply:

You could be WRONG, WRONG, WRONG about the SELL, SELL, SELL approach. That will come later. So you get finished with dumping the whole load on the first question tell us a little about your self to emphasize all of your strong points and the next questions are what have you done to prepare yourself for the position, why do you want to be a firefighter, why this city and on and on for any of the other possible 30 oral board questions. You have already used up all your good stuff in the opening question and now you have to REINTERATE, REINTERATE, REINTERATE for the rest of your interview with ďLike I just said, blah, blah, blah.Ē You 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 somewhere in Montana. I said you have just used up 12 minutes of a 20-minute oral. What do you think we have time for now?
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 icebreaker question to get you comfortable in the chair. A one-minute or less answer about you and your hobbies is all that is needed here.

They don't need your name (they already have it) and NEVER tell them your age (they don't have that and never will until you're hired). A "Nugget" here: If they look baffled after your short answer, ask if they want more. They usually won't.

I just had an oral where I was asked to tell them about myself, my training and education. I proceeded to "dump the whole load". Two questions later I was asked "What have you done to prepare yourself for the position of firefighter." I was stumped. I had just told them everything and now had nothing to say without reiterating. My question is: How do I differentiate the two questions especially because I don't know what I will be asked.

Yep, one of the worst things you want to do is reiterate in the body or closing of your oral board.
Sometimes the raters make errors in asking or combining more than one question at a time. Start with the icebreaker one-minute or less answer about you and your hobbies. If they look baffled after your short answer, ask if they want more. They usually won't.
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

Fire "Captain Bob"