1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Wasting your time?

    Is the message being received? 10-4 or say again?

    Brian wrote:

    Future firefighters though should not fret about things in which they have no control. Spend too much time trying to analyze such macro issues that are out of your grasp and you can easily lose your edge. Lose your edge... well, you know the story.

    The only analogy I can offer is akin to surfing...

    Don't spend too much time worrying about when the waves will come, rather focus intently on where you will be when they arrive.

    ... and they will!

    Reply: The question you need to ask yourself is if the waves come tomorrow will you be ready to go? With the regulars on this board providing great perfectly timed waves for you to catch, why are there still too many candidates showing up not prepared?

    Captain Paul Wrote:


    Make sure your wife or girlfriend sees you before you to leave the house. Some of the suit and tie combinations with opposing and conflicting stripes were pretty bad. I told one candidate the stripes colliding between his suit and tie were making me seasick.

    Reply: Knowing Paul has a deep sea fishing boat, where I would get sick in short order, and has written the book on fishing, this made me laugh out loud. You see all kinds of attire sitting on an oral board. A guy showed up one day in a bowling jacket. What you wear is a strongest non-verbal statement you can make. You need to dress for success.

    From Tom:

    Unless you know how to take a fire service interview, nothing is going to "fit well", especially that uniform you are not going to be wearing when you don't get the job offer.

    To paraphrase: To have even pondered subjects that should not be brought up in an interview is an indicator that candidates do not know how to take an interview, much less understand how the interview works. How many lurkers out there are not passing the oral interview? Not scoring high enough to make the eligibility list? Not getting a job offer from a chiefís interview?

    The candidate does not dictate to the interview panel how the interview will flow, much less which subjects will be discussed for the points! If you try this, you will never be offered a badge! STOP doing it your way.

    "LEARN TO TAKE AN INTERVIEW" is the key phrase here. Best wishes

    Reply: There are many pieces that need to be put together in the puzzle for your interview before you walk into the room. Other wise youíre just wasting your time and loosing great opportunities.

    As Paul wrote: My panel interviewed roughly 15 candidates. We were one of four boards. Overall the candidates were incredibly unprepared. We did have a few that I would have hired on the spot for my department (if I had any say).

    Reply: The big problem here is these candidates donít know theyíre not prepared. Even though they could have tons of education and experience. What can happen is the department will take the best of the worst. The surprising fact is it doesnít take much to improve your interview skills to gain the few points that can make a huge difference. Too many candidates donít believe this can happen.

    As Steve Prziborowski, Fire Captain - Santa Clara County Fire Department wrote:

    Do what you have to do be more marketable so you can take more tests and have something more to offer a department, but remember that it all comes down to that 15 to 30 minute oral interview. I've seen some awesome candidates with resumes packed full of accomplishments that couldn't sell them self in an interview to even make the top 50%.

    Paul again: It is imperative that you get an opportunity to show your presentation to people who are in the know.

    Reply: Getting to someone who knows can be interesting. Since almost everyone who gets hired seems to become an expert thatís not always that easy. Even candidates, who do mock orals with so called experts, go through college and academy programs still remain in that unprepared group.

    This from a medic candidate who just took another interview:

    I realized that after my last interview I needed some guidance on my orals. It went ok but still just shaky, you know. I feel like I have all this good stuff in my head,
    and I know I would make a great firefighter, but you said that if I cant
    present myself I will never get the job and you are 100% correct. I will have
    another shot next month for the oral at another FD. I realized that
    I cant let these opportunities go to waste every time, and then chock it up
    to a learning experience. I don't want to lengthen my time at testing. Thanks for the reality check. Nick

    Many write e-mails like this: I know I have what it takes to make it as a full-timer.

    My reply: Yeah, they all say that. You know that. But you have to convince the oral board panel that you really do.

    In that first seconds when you walk into your interview, the board is checking your appearance (the strongest nonverbal statement you can make is what you wear), choice of words, inflection, voice, eye contact and body language. Again too many candidates, that have never heard themselves on a tape recorder, donít realize they begin speaking in a monotone voice like giving a patient assessment. This is a critical error.

    Got a call from a candidate. He lives in Washington now and his oral was in 4 days. He got his Firefighter1 from an academy in Southern California. He said it hasnít helped much trying to get a job. He has now been a medic for 8 months with no luck in testing. In the most pathetic monotone voice he said this is the department he really wants to work for and (with absolutely no enthusiasm) he will be one of the 15 hired.

    Do you think this candidate had a chance?

    It doesnít take long on a phone conversation with a candidate to realize why they are having problems.

    Another recent candidate had such a monotone voice I asked if he knew? He said yea, but thatís just my voice. I told him I didnít believe that for a second. What can I do about it? Iíve been testing where I can for four years, going to school and work as a federal firefighter.

    Trying to get on his turf, I asked him during a coaching session what do you do with your time off? What are your interest, hobbies? What really rings your bell? Nothing seemed to work to break his monotone voice. That was until a few days later I get a call from an energized candidate. I didnít recognize the voice. Yes, it was Mr. Monotone. He told me he didnít realize how bad it was until he listened to his tape recording of his coaching session. He said, ďMan I sounded retarded. I canít believe how much stuff I left out. How many times I said ďWhat EverĒ and other stupid pause fillers I didnít know I was using." The mystery of why this super qualified candidate could not get hired was solved by listening to a tape of what the panel had been hearing for four years.

    These are a few of the key ingredients that are part of the puzzle that has to be put into place before you enter an oral board. How many more are out there that you are not aware of? The in house experts that provided the information above know the difference. What is it going to take for you to get the message and stop wasting your time? How long can you tread water? Again as Paul said, ďIt is imperative that you get an opportunity to show your presentation to people who are in the know.Ē

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    Last edited by CaptBob; 05-28-2004 at 01:33 PM.

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