Thread: Just looking for some Advice
06-19-2004, 01:28 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
Just looking for some Advice
I was just wondering if anyone had any intresting advice for me about the fire service. I just graduated high school and heading to a community college for fire science classes. Ive also been an explorer for a better part of 3 years. Anything would be great, im just looking for anything that one day i could see or use.
06-19-2004, 02:11 AM #2
If you are going to try to make this your career your on the right track already by getting some education and experence. From what I've been told, and some experences take as many FD exams as you can, this will give you alot of experence with test taking. Everytime you take a test you get used to it and relax while taking it, also you might see the same or same type of exam over again. Along with that prepare for interviews, I had a fire instructor at the college that I went to that gave a bunch of us mock interviews that really gave some insight on what to expect.
06-19-2004, 11:50 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Fairview, Texas USA
Good advice. Also, make sure that you stay in shape by running and lifting weights. You don't want to score high on a written test and then can't pass the physical agility. Good Luck!
06-19-2004, 12:50 PM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
You are on the right track, keep going, be the engerizer bunny, study, take classes, and prepare for interviews. Check out posts from Captbob in hiring and recruitment.Good luck, and stay safe.
06-19-2004, 01:30 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
- Just North of South Central But way the hell out there
Look for a Firefighter academy at a local area college. Lot's of hands on training. Also, try to become a volunteer or paid call f.f. with a local dept.
06-19-2004, 01:37 PM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Firefighter or Fire/medic?
Hands down the fastest way to become a firefighter and get more bang for your buck is to become a paramedic.
Should you become a paramedic to get a firefighter job?
I know you will hear that if you really don't want to be a medic don't just do it to get the job. That all you really need is your EMT to get hired. But, if you answered yes to the majority of the following there is no doubt where you will be the happiest. If I were in your position I would beg, borrow, and run with my afterburners on to get to medic school! Because unlike a regular entry level test where there are up to 800 candidates for each job, there are only 20 candidates for every fire medic job. It is by far your fastest way to the badge.
Consider these ideas: You understand that there are up to 800 candidates for each firefighter job, that you could be running out of hope and the love of your life is not going to wait any longer unless she has a ring and a date. Been the frequent-flyer mileage king flying all over the country and unsuccessfully taking tests and your biggest income last year came from your credit cards. You have lost friends. Don't know how you're going to live without the job of your dreams. Can afford to take the time and loss of income to make it happen. Have a supporting partner. Know you would have to spend about a year getting certified and it will be the toughest thing you have ever done.
Can a relative pay for your education? Do you have GI Bill education money? Can get a student loan. Know that 80% of the job offerings now are for fire medics and up to 75% of our calls are EMS related anyway. Know that even if you become a medic, you still may never get this job. Have been riding ambulance anyway and this will pave the way into many medic schools. Aren't going to take the chance of some college medic programs that only take 35 people a year and receive over 200 applications. Will step up and pay the $7,000 plus dollars to be in and out of a program in about a year.
You're the energizer bunny who will keep going and going and going when others would stop. Know that if you are a medic taking a regular firefighter entrance test you will probably get a better shot. You won't be happy until you can puff your chest out with a badge and have people wave at you in the jump seats, carrying on a family tradition. Want that shift work with great benefits that go way into retirement. A career position with chances of advancement.
You will have the opportunity to use the education and experience you have acquired. To work for a department that offers you everything a firefighter hopes for. Calls that cover anything from air, land and sea. A place where you can't wait to get back from your days off. You will be able to go from one call to another to another on a busy rig. Believe me there is nothing like it.
But it's still the Oral Board that Gets You the Job
The Problem with candidates not gettng hired is they Probably have Poor Oral Board Skills!
If you're passing the written and agility, which are usually pass/fail, and you're not placing high enough on the oral, that's where the problem exists. Like you what most candidates do if they don't place high enough on the oral is go back and try to pack on more credentials. ďOh, I have to finish my degree or get through that academyĒ You wrote, ďI am considering taking the 9 Fire Officer classes?Ē Iím not sure how that will help you get hired? They do little to nothing in gaining the skills for the oral board, which is usually 100% of the score.
If you don't do anything to improve your oral board skills nothing is going to change. Getting this job is all about presentation skills. Unless you can present the package of your great credentials you will never, ever see that badge. The oral board is for all the marbles. This is where the rubber meets the road.
As Captain Steve Prziborowski 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%.
Candidates who get this far in the process usually get discouraged and tell me they feel like they have hit a wall. They don't know what to do next. Some of their friends (with fewer credentials) have been hired. They're frustrated and embarrassed.
This is an e-mail received from a candidate that reflects how fast things can change:
I noticed many of your students successful testimonies on the bulletin boards. I have many certifications including Paramedic. The only hindrance that I found myself with was not passing the oral.
To make a long story short, nothing counts until you have the badge, nothing. For all of the candidates out there that don't believe this, try passing and ranking #1 on orals with a stuttering problem... I did. Thanks Captain Bob Dave
ďNothing counts Ďtil you have the badge . . . Nothing!Ē
ďGetting the job of your dreams is like winning the lottery!" Jerry Price
You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.
Fire "Captain Bob"
06-19-2004, 04:21 PM #7
Well, a great resource already spoke. Capt. Bob offers some
great advice. He has helped me several times over the years
both entry level and promotional level.
He is not slick salesman, rather just painting a picture
of experiences and roads traveled.
Here is another GREAT website source for you-
06-20-2004, 12:59 AM #8
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
Thanks for everything guys for everything. Capt. Bob thanks in particular for the advice. You talked alot about the oral test and the ability to sell myself. With that said i was wondering just what kind of questions and topics will I be asked to explain or anwser?
06-20-2004, 01:01 PM #9
Get the answers here...
Go to Bob's site- www.eatstress.com
06-20-2004, 01:53 PM #10
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Attack of the Clones
Don't be A Clone Candidate!
I believe there are only about 30 oral board questions. Plus or minus a couple. But these 30 can be disguised into hundreds of different questions. You can find the sample oral board questions here http://www.eatstress.com/thirty.htm
Itís not the interview questions that are the problem, itís the answers! Unfortunately many candidates become clones and give clone answers. And the bigger problem is they donít know it. I hate to say, but often they are cloned in fire colleges and academies. Clone answers can doom your oral board.
One of our officers was on an oral board for a big city. Several boards interviewed 965 candidates. His board interviewed 350 candidates over a period of 10 days. Imagine you were this officer and it is the fifth day of interviewing. You have just come back from lunch where the city has wined and dined you. Youíre tired and you know you have another five days of interviews ahead of you.
The next candidate is called in. The first question you ask is, "What sparked your interest and why do you want to be a firefighter?" He proceeds to give you the same clone answers you have heard from almost every candidate for five days. Public service, helping people, not the same thing every day, blah blah blah. The magic that you needed to hook up with the oral board has passed and you didnít hook them into listening to your stuff. You have just scored yourself. Trust me. You can see the glaze come over the ratersí eyes. Itís like a deer caught in the headlights. They are gone and they wonít come back.
Itís not that you canít use clone answers. You can. But first you need to deliver a signature story about you. Not a clone answer of anyone else. I havenít met a candidate yet that couldnít come up with signature stories. Signature stories demonstrate experience. They also tell that you not only know the answer to a question, youíve lived it. Firefighters love firefighter stories. If you open up with a signature story, you instantly separate yourself from the other clone candidates. Stories show the oral board who you really are. You capture the board and take them on a journey with a story they have never heard. Is this making sense?
The toughest thing for candidates to do in an oral is being themselves on purpose. When you are yourself, you become conversational because you are on your own turf. This alone can lower the stress and the butterflies.
An oral board member told me they had a candidate who didnít answer all the questions the way they wanted him to do, but he had such great personal life experience in his answers (stories), they hired him anyway. This is human nature. Stories help bridge that gap. Clone answers and clone candidates donít have a chance here.
Stories are more than facts. If you can create the excitement, emotion, the color and magic to relive the actual event. You will capture the interest and a top score on that question. A big part of getting this job is convincing the oral board that you can do the job before you get it. Stories are convincing and can demonstrate your experience, even if theyíre not fire related.
Some say, "Captain Bob" how can you help so many candidates without making them into clones?" Good question. Simple answer. The real reason is nobody else can tell your story! Nobody! When you start lacing your answers with your personalized experiences is where you start to shorten that gap between you and that infamous badge.
In a coaching session a candidate was telling a story about being a federal firefighter in Yellowstone when it burned. The story was not too exciting the way he was telling it. I had to stop and ask, "It sounds like you were trapped?" He was. Now he tells that story and the hairs start standing up on the back of your neck. Youíre trapped with him. You can smell the smoke and see the embers dropping around you. Does this story make a difference? Please say yes.
So the point here is not the question, but the answer. Start establishing your personalized stories.
Last edited by CaptBob; 06-20-2004 at 02:25 PM.
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