Thread: Oral exam?

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    Default Oral exam?

    I just found out today that I successfully passed the written exam for Ventura County. Apparently the next step will be an oral "exam" (they state it is not an interview) in front of an oral board. Just curious if anyone else has been through an oral "exam" (before the interview) and what I might expect.
    Thanks,

    Sean

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    Talking Oral Exam

    Hi Sean,

    The oral exam is called an exam because they have the same questions to everyone. It mainly will consist of " what would you do", or " how would you handle" type questions. I have been through several in both police and fire testing and it's really not that hard of a test. The biggest part of the test is your nervousness of not knowing if you are answering the questions the way you think they want you to. The best advice I can tell you is to be honest. Don't second guess yourself, especially when you are in the room. They will sense that immediately, and it will take points away. RELAX!!!! That is the only thing you can do to help yourself. And the biggest thing to remember is that no matter what the results, if you relax, and answer honestly you can only do your best at that point. I will leave you with a sample question from a police test I took several years ago.

    You are called for a possible burglar call in a quiet residential neighborhood in the middle of the day. You are a rookie only 6 months on the job. When you arrive you check the outside parimeter of the residence to find nothing unusual. You approach the door to check on the status of the resident. When the door opens you find a very attractive female, in a robe. She appears to be shaken up. She asks you to check the residence for her. After you enter the residence you hear the door close and lock behind you. As you turn, she drops her robe and asks if you like what you see. Since your initial reaction is shock, she tells you it's ok because her husband is chief at one of the precincts and this could make or break you. What do you do?

    Any Questions, let me know. I only try to help.

    WVa FF/EMT

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    Sean, Sean, Sean... you are well on your way to the badge, but since you have seemed to make it over here to Firehouse, go one step further and search for every posting here by CaptBob. If there is a discussion going about oral boards, he's involved. There is a psychology to oral boards that one needs to learn about more than just a simple interview. Read & learn from the careers like Captain Bob's to get a feel for what you need to absolutely stun that oral board & make them see that you're the one. If you have any trouble finding Bob (he's probably reading this right now!), email me at kghemtp@hotmail.com and we can get some information exchanged. Take care, and good luck!
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
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    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

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    Default 100% of the score!

    Kevin is right that you need to stun the oral board to listen to your stuff, because the oral board is usually 100% of your score to get hired!

    The Oral Interview

    According to retired Battalion Chief Dennis O’Sullivan, "The oral interview gets you the job! This is where you putt for dollars. Understand one very important thing here. If I’m on you're interview panel and your my kind of guy or gal, I will fill in some of the blanks to make up for your short comings. If you start off without establishing this natural bridge and being a know it all, I will never fill in any of your shortcomings. This is human nature."

    This became crystal clear at an interview when a lateral candidate was asked how he would throw a ladder. After explaining how he would remove the ladder from the rig and the procedures to raise it, he went blank when they asked him where he would place the ladder.
    Then, one of the panel members said, “Little Jack Horner sat . . .” The candidate smiled and remembered that ladders are placed in the corner of the building.

    Captain Paul Lepore, author of "Smoke Your Firefighter Interview", wrote: As an evaluator I am not looking for a candidate to answer the question exactly like I would. I do have a preconceived idea of what I am looking for, however, if you show me a different and reasonable way of solving a problem I will accept it.

    That's it!

    Oral Boards

    What are you actually doing going to an oral board? If you answered: selling yourself, making a good impression, and, yes, and don't forget to ask for the job are good. But, what you're really doing is auditioning for the part to be a firefighter, engineer, inspector or officer. Just like the part in a play. Do you know your lines? Do you know your part? If you went down to a local college to audition for a part in the community play, you have to know your part and lines wouldn’t you? Right? It’s the same thing in an oral board. You have to know what you’re going to say before you sit in the chair.

    Does a Broadway play start on Broadway? Of course not. It starts in Iowa, Miami or Connecticut. They take it on the road to try it out, work out the script, refine and polish it up. If they create enough interest, sell enough tickets and get great reviews from the critics, they make it to the bright lights of Broadway. It’s the same in getting ready for your oral boards. You have to take this on the road to get ready for your oral boards. You have to get your script down.

    A script about you, not a clone of someone else. Then, you practice, practice, practice. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse until it becomes second nature to you. Once you do this it will be in your subconscious. That’s where the magic takes place.

    You can find more on testing secrets on the job section career article section of this firehouse.com web site

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    So do they ask almost the same questions on your second oral with the Chiefs. Or do they use more specific job related questions. In Arizona after your first oral you do your CPAT then your second oral so how do the questions work for that?

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    Default Chief's Oral

    The chiefs interview is open to any type of questioning. They are really trying to find out more about you. How you're going to be as a firefighter for the next 25+ years. Do you fit their culture? We like to hire candidates that are themselves on purpose in the interview. Someone who has a personality and is conversational. Are you that person in an interview?

    Many candidates start to panic when they are notified that they are going to a chief's oral. They think they have to reinvent themselves. Reinvent the wheel. WHOOAA! Understand what got you there. You are only going to the Chief’s Oral because of the great stuff you already used in the first oral. You're riding the winning pony. Don't switch ponies. You're coming around the club house turn, you shoot out from the back of the pack, go to the whip, you're on the winning pony, you're friends and family are on their feet in the stands cheering you on and you ride her home for the badge.

    Too many candidates switch ponies because "They Said". I've never been able to find out who "They" are. If you do not continue to use the good stuff that got you this far, you could drop out of the race. This is a new arena. Candidates who are going to the chiefs interview start talking to their friends. They convince them that they need to do something more. By the time of the interview, they're a wreck. It's not them going into the interview. A clone of someone else. The badges are often given to other candidates.

    Stan was going to our departments Chief’s Oral. He made an appointment to come by our station. While there, he asked what more he could do to make it over the top. I told him he was riding the winning pony and not to switch during the home stretch. Three months later I was down at the training center where they were training new recruits. I saw a familiar face. I said, "Stan is that you?" He said, "Yes, I rode that winning pony all the way in!"

    Saddle up and ride to glory.

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section in the job section of this firehouse.com web site.

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    Default

    Sean, take kghemtp and Capt. Bob's advice! I know what dept that I want to be on..we all have what i think is a "dream dept". I tested before and thought I did well. After the oral I found I didn't pass. Then someone referred me to Capt. Bob's www.eatstress.com page and I went and ordered his cd and took notes..did as I was told and rehearsed..did my homework.
    When I tested for my "dream dept" I was # 7 after the Oral boards, over 300 had applied. I woud have been further down only by being eligable for preference points (resident of that city and former POC on their dept). I am still on their list for Career but what I have done is put in my application for POC to get those extra points just in case Currently I have passed their oral for POC and they told me that out of 40 applicants they only have 6 openings FOR POC!! But I feel very good about it. I also got a call from another FD and I have an oral set up with them this Sunday morning. NEVER GIVE UP and do your homework.
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    I have my first oral ever with the Gilbert Fire Dept. in AZ on the 21st of this month and I am getting nervous. When I was talking with a captain in Gilbert he told me that since I did not have as many life experiences as some one who is older than me I am 20, then I probablly wouldn't do as good. Does age really matter, do life experiences matter? I found some possible questions on fire prep.com and I am going to fill them out and practice in front of a camera. Does anyone else have any suggestions? Thanks for any advice.

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    Default Younger Candidates

    Age????????


    Younger candidates have credentials too!

    If you believe what that officer said, you could psych yourself out. This might help:

    Question:

    Capt. Bob,

    Just recently, I began testing for fire departments in California (Predominantly Southern California ). I am a fire academy graduate and I have two years of experience on a basic life support ambulance.

    I am also currently testing for auxiliary and volunteer positions for added experience and my firefighter 1 cert. In January, I'm planning on going to paramedic school. My question is this... I'm only 20-year old- I won't be 21 until August. Does being this young hurt me whether or not I shine on my written and oral tests?

    I don't see too many rookies this young with departments and I don't hear about people being hired this young. Just curious.

    LCM.

    Reply:

    As long as you can present your package at the oral board, age should not be an issue. The problem is many younger candidates don't think they have the life experience needed. First you never tell the board your age. They won't know until the day you're hired. That's the law.

    LMC, I would continue your pursuit for a volunteer position and definitely get into medic school ASAP.

    I gave a presentation at Shasta Fire College. Many students didn't feel they had any experience that would apply to the position. That was until I asked several candidates to tell me about their first and succeeding jobs in life; no matter how menial it seemed. Many had paper routes, mowing lawns and working at Burger King. O.K., what did you learn? Once the answers started flowing, we heard how they learned to work hard, have responsibility, learn customer service and how to work as a team. Did you participate in sports in school? Isn't that working as a team. Do any of these areas apply to the fire service? You bet! So any time you can relate your personal life experience in answering an oral board question, you are telling the oral board that you not only know the answer the question, you have already lived it!

    When the board asks what you have done to prepare for the position, don't forget to rewind the video tape of your life and create an early trail of how you learned how to work hard, have responsibility, and work as a team.

    The biggest part of getting a high enough oral board score that will get you the badge is convincing the oral board you can do the job before you get it. Stories are convincing evidence that you are the match for the badge!

    I had several fire explorers who were too young to test. They would hand out flyers at written tests in exchange for products and coaching. At Oakland's badge ceremony last month one of the fire scouts got a badge on the first test he was old enough to take. You have never seen a happier rookie firefighter.

    For more on testing secrets, check out the Career Articles under the Job section of this web site.

    As we all know . . .Nothing counts 'til you get the badge . . . Nothing!

    "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    Default AGE???

    >>I have my first oral ever with the Gilbert Fire Dept. in AZ on the 21st of this month and I am getting nervous. When I was talking with a captain in Gilbert he told me that since I did not have as many life experiences as some one who is older than me I am 20, then I probablly wouldn't do as good. Does age really matter, do life experiences matter? I found some possible questions on fire prep.com and I am going to fill them out and practice in front of a camera. Does anyone else have any suggestions? Thanks for any advice.<<

    Here is my advice: Don't listen to him! When i went for my interview they asked me to tell them about a time when I had to use a positive attitude to get me through a very difficult time. If you are a negative person it will take you a long time to think of a time when you had to use a positive attitude at all, much less in a difficult time or situation. Life experiences matter but so does how you present them.I would definately practice and get rid of the um's and uh's.
    I am by all means no expert nor do I pretend to be. A good presentation and appearance goes a LONG way.
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    Well my bro and I both passed and now it is on to the CPAT and our second oral. But the second oral is not a chiefs oral it is with the FF and Engineers and Captains again so I am pretty excited about that. I just relaxed and told them what I felt I would say and that coes with my personality and it. So now it is time to conquer the CPAT. Best of luck to the rest of you.

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    Default Congrats

    OK, Here are two link resources to gain information on the CPAT:
    http://www.phoenix.gov/FIRE/recruit.html
    http://firepat.mtsac.edu

    Captain Bob

    www.eatstress.com
    Last edited by CaptBob; 12-07-2003 at 06:59 PM.

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