1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Question How do I get noticed?

    Capt. Bob,
    I've got my fire science degree, read alot of your material on oral interviews, done some calling, and even have a few connections with the dept. i'm trying to get hired on at. I was curious of some other ways I can get noticed by the hiring commitee.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Noticed?/?????

    The best way to get noticed is to learn how to take an interview so you can place high enough on the list where they can't go around you.

    You say you have read a lot of material on our web site? Honestly now, have you picked up a tape recorder to practice and listen to what the panel is going to hear out of your mouth?

    Miracle Tool?

    I received a call from one of our candidates. He has made it to a few oral boards and one Chiefís Oral without success. He has been invited to the San Diego oral board and wanted to set up a private coaching session. In just a few moments I was aware of something critical. Then I asked him if he was using a tape recorder to practice? Like most people (99.7%), he hemmed and hawed and finally said, ďWell, no. But, Iím thinking about it.Ē

    Continually I hear from candidates like the above and the following that they are not doing well in their interviews:

    I received my results today....but I didn't do so well.

    Reply: Were you practicing with a tape recorder before your interview?

    I have to admit that I have not used a tape recorder prior to that (or any other interview). I knew the practice was key, but I never got around to doing it. Yesterday, I finally broke down and used the tape recorder method in order to study for my interview today. I must say that there were some things that I found very helpful. I will continue to use the tape recorder method in order to endlessly improve my interview skills. Bottom line...I feel that I did better on my interview today than I have ever done in the past. Thanks for inquiring.

    Help!! I have my oral interview and background check with Montgomery County, MD on Monday. Any advise and/or suggestions needed.

    This from a loved one (yes, your love ones call me because youíre driving them crazy and they donít think youíre doing everything possible to be in a position to get that badge):
    He says most of the time he "freezes" up. We do have a tape recorder and he did practice once with it for the Long Beach interview.....I think it is a "guy thing" and he is embarrassed to admit he is bad at something.

    Reply: As I suspected, this is one of the big problems. They're interconnected. If he doesn't hear what's coming out of his mouth with a tape recorder, nothing will change.

    You said he drives 120 miles round trip to work 4-5 days and week, drives all over hell and gone to tests, interviews, and station visits. This is a perfect time to use the tape recorder.

    . . . thought that I answered them well, but later the chiefs tell me I needed to give more information.

    Reply: The big problem I see in your answers is their just too short. Where are the stories you can use in these answers that can personalize them? Are you practicing with a tape recorder?

    Well.... in a word, no. I have been using my wife as my sounding board, but I now have a micro cassette recorder right in front of me and will be using it before the end of the night. Thanks for all of your help.

    Still more:

    I get a call from a candidate who has our program but has a few questions. Shoot. As he started asking me his looong list of questions, I asked him a question. Have you started practicing with a tape recorder? He said, I havenít bought a tape recorder yet. As it turns out he hasnít finished going through the complete program, filled out the script (you can download a copy of the free script here: http://eatstress.com/workboolette.htm ) and doesnít have a tape recorder to start practicing. Had he done all those things, he would have already answered his questions.

    What totally amazes me is how many candidates refuse, yea flat out refuse, to pick up a tape recorder and hear what the oral board panel is going to hear out of their mouths. Nothing is going to change in your oral board scores until you learn how to take an interview! Nothing! A big huge part of that learning curve is to hear whatís coming out of your mouth. Too many candidates I hear answers from are garbage. And, the big problem is they donít know it because they have never hear their answers from a tape recorder.

    What is the first thing a candidate says when he hears his voice on a tape recorder? Yep. Thatís not me. Yes, it is McFly.

    Some will say, ďWell, if I practice it too much it will sound canned.Ē NO it wonít! It sure will be planned though. Practice makes permanent. ďLuck is preparation meeting opportunity.Ē One practice session with a tape recorder is worth 10 speaking out louds. After practicing, you will get to a point where your answers will get into your subconscious. Thatís where the magic begins. You canít be fooled.

    Many applicants want this job so bad they will do almost anything ethically and morally to get it. I guess that doesnít include using a tape recorder to get your timing, inflection, volume, where to cut out material, get rid of the uhís and other pause fillers, or to find out if you really sound like Donald Duck. You need to get married to your hand-held tape recorder. You need to hear what the oral board is going to hear out of your mouth. Itís narrows the distance between you and the badge youíre looking for!

    This is usually a guy thing. Guys think about their answers in their head and write them down. Then they think their answers are going to come out of their mouths like magic in the oral. Trust me, they donít! The brain and mouth donít work that way.

    Try this. Take 3X5 cards and write down your oral board questions. Practice your answers with the tape recorder. If you hear something you do not like when you play it back, turn over the 3X5 card and write it down. The next time you go after that question, turn over the card first and see what you donít want to say.

    Let me tell you how critical this really is. If youíre not using a tape recorder to practice, practice, practice, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and over learn your material until it becomes second nature to you, you might as well not show up for the interview. You are wasting the oral boards time and your time! Seek out another career. Understand you still have to interview there too. The above candidates have already lost some great opportunities. Had they been faithfully using a tape recorder to prepare for their oral boards, he probably could have had a badge already.

    We think practicing with a tape recorder is so important; we will not do private coaching with a candidate if they arenít using one. It is a waste of our time and their money and like pulling teeth for us. Be advised that your competition knows the value of using a tape recorder. They are catapulting past you if youíre not using one too.

    Instead of posting messages on bulletin boards asking others where theyíre at in the testing process for this city and Iím in the top 40 on this list or whatever, start asking your self this question: What am I doing that can best prepare me for the most important part of the hiring process? . . . The oral board. Because if you canít pass the oral board, or score high enough on the list, you donít get the job. Never! Ever! Ever! Now, whereís your tape recorder?

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

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

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter



  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    May 2004

    Default Getting noticed

    The best thing you can do to get noticed is to become active within the department you are testing for. We are constantly looking for volunteers for disaster drills, Christmas drives and many other situations where we need warm bodies.

    Once the firefighters see you a few times, they will approach you. It's important to be humble and smile. Introduce yourself and explain that it is your dream to work for their department.

    Ask them what they suggest you do to get hired there. If they are receptive I would suggest asking for a practice or mock interview.

    If you are lucky enough to be invited to the station make sure you bring a pie or ice cream.

    If you are showing up to the stations after the department has announced it is testing you are already to late. Most departments have it as a part of their city charter to have an active eligibility list sot there is no "mystery" as to when we give our exams. The smart candidates predict when the department will be testing and show up several months before the projected date.

    Yes, it takes a lot of leg work but when there are 100 appicants for each opening you must stack the deck in your favor.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    Author of Smoke Your Firefighter Interview and The Aspiring Firefighter's 2-year Plan

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