Thread: LA City FD

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    Default LA City FD

    Anybody know if the LAFD (city) is going to offer another written test soon? I passed the CPAT right before the last one, but was too late to get scheduled for it. When I called they said they were going to probably have another one in March, but I haven't heard anything. Kind of bums me out b/c I called to see if the date I scheduled for the CPAT would allow me to get in to the written, and was told by one employee that it would. When I passed it and called to make sure I could take the written, I was told no dice, that they had already closed out for that date. Frustrating. Any help would be great.

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    Dooley,

    I am in the same boat you are, only i didn't even bother taking the CPAT since i was already too late. On my application, there was a note that said they will test twice in the year (the first one being the one we missed), and i also heard that it was going to be sometime in march as well. I check the LAFD website every couple days to check when they will be doing the written test again, i suggest doing the same.

    Patrick

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    Default

    Thanks for the info. Very frustrating, considering I was told by their own employee that I would be all set for the Feb test. Oh well, at least now I know that I can pass the CPAT. Take care.

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    Default LAFD

    Patrick,

    Just got a letter in the mail today that says I'm scheduled to take the written test on the 19th--not sure if they are going to give any more tests this year, but if you call the number at the bottom of their web site they should be able to give you an idea. You might want to think about taking the CPAT to keep your options open.

    Good luck,
    Dools

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    Default

    You guys should look at firecareers.com They have alot of LA City and County hiring discussions in their forums ( listed under: Community). Alot of the department's members give info.

    Good Luck!
    KC
    Last edited by prymtym; 03-05-2005 at 07:59 PM.
    "PHILIPPEANS 4:13"

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    Default CPAT

    What many LA City candidates missed was all you had to take the test was show proof that you were signed up to take a CPAT and they would let you take the written.

    For those who did take the written:

    LA City Test Results are in the Mail!

    Successful candidates are receiving their LA City results for the written test with their oral boards dates scheduled as early as March 14, 2005.

    Your ranking on the LA City exam will be determined by how well you do on the oral exam. This means 100% of your score to be hired will be in your Oral Board Score! In past LA City tests if you pass the written you will be invited to an oral board.

    For continued up dates on the LA City Oral Boards go here
    http://eatstress.com/la_city_test.htm

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

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959
    Last edited by CaptBob; 03-05-2005 at 10:11 PM.

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    I don't work in recruitment or recruit training, but I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty....

    Whenever you have a need (not a desire, but a genuine need) for specific information that will guide your key career decisions, rely on nothing less than original and signed letterhead correspondence. If it's not addressed to you on letterhead, it's likely to be nothing more than one person's opinion or interpretation.

    Oh, and since we're speaking of the LAFD, please allow me to share a popular adage:

    "If when you get hired is more important than where, the LAFD is not the Department for you!"

    Best Wishes,

    Brian

    Brian
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    Default You must pass the CPAT first...

    Actually, Capt Bob, this is taken directly from the LAFD web site:

    "In order to be scheduled for the written test candidates must submit proof of successful completion of CPAT program (for further information please see CPAT Frequently asked questions listed on the menu)."

    Thus, you can APPLY to take the written test, but you cannot be SCHEDULED to take the written test until you pass the CPAT. Just to clarify...

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    Default Going to the Oral?

    Since100% percent of your score to get hired for LA City is in the oral board, what are you missing that will keep you from wearing the LA City shield? How are you going to stun the oral board to convince them to give you the badge over the other candidates?

    Bottom line most candidates don't do enough interviewing to get good at it. You've got around 20 minutes for a 25+ year career. It’s time to get ready! Just a one or two points either way will make the difference in you going forward in the hiring process.

    The Problem is Poor Oral Board Skills!

    Too many candidates do poorly on their oral boards. The problem is most of them don’t know how poorly they are doing. I’ve seen it too often sitting on oral board panels. It’s the most misunderstood and least prepared for portion of the testing.

    Steve Prziborowski, Captain AKA Chabotfire
    www.chabotfire.com 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%.”

    With all respect to the following comment, this is one of the most important clues why candidates have trouble in their oral boards:

    “I recently had an interview, and I know my answers were great especially after hearing how another candidate answered them. He made the list, and I did not. Go figure!” Jed.

    This is the problem! Most candidates think their answers are great, when they aren’t. If their answers were as great as they thought, they would make the list and get a badge. They listen to other candidates and firefighters who make them into clones. Have you noticed, once a person becomes a firefighter, they’re instantly the experts on how to get hired?

    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. If you don’t do anything to improve your oral board skills nothing is going to change, you will never, ever see that badge. The oral board is for all the marbles. This is where the rubber meets the road.

    Stop looking in the magnifying glass at others . . . and start looking in the mirror at your self. That’s where the problem is.

    With the letters going out for the upcoming LA City Oral Board dates do your self a favor and learn how to take an interview. You have time to get Chief Paul’s book "Smoke Your Firefighter Interview" www.smokeyourffinterview.com or my material below, use the resources of this web site ,and arrange a coaching session with Chief Paul, Rob or any other qualified coach to test out your material before game day.

    Remember, you’re going up against candidates who have already learned how to take an interview and have honed their skills.

    This from a candidate who learned how to take an interview:

    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. — Dave

    “Getting the job of your dreams is like winning the lottery!” Jerry Price, Firefighter

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959

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    Default Re: You must pass the CPAT first...

    Originally posted by dooley
    Actually, Capt Bob, this is taken directly from the LAFD web site:
    And to further clarify...

    The information you mention was posted on the City of Los Angeles Personnel Department's website. The LAFD and the Personnel Department are two separate agencies. It is profoundly important that candidates distinguish this difference!

    Brian
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    Default Orals

    Don’t panic if you hear candidates already receiving their scores for the LA City written test. HR said results for written test will be sent out four to six weeks from your test date. The LA City web site stated that there would be no advantage given to people no matter what test date they were given.

    You have to pass every portion of the hiring process, before you get there, to be able to move on be considered for a badge. This includes the next phase, the oral board. For LA City 100% of your score to get hired will be in your oral board.

    Tape Recorder — The Miracle Oral Board Tool

    What tools can you use to practice and rehearse your oral board answers? Right, a video camera. You need to see how you look in action. But you are trapped with a video camera. Mirror? Sure standing in front of a mirror is good. But you are missing the most valuable tool of all. A hand-held tape recorder. The closest distance between you and the LA City badge is picking up a tape recorder and hearing what’s coming out of your mouth!

    I received a call from candidate. He has made it to a few oral boards and one Chief’s Oral without success. He has been invited to the LA City 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, “Well, no. But, I’m thinking about it.”

    Even though he has heard me hammer and hammer the point home that you have to use a tape recorder and hear how you sound, he still didn’t get the message. His answers were garbage. Many applicants want this job so bad they will do almost anything ethically and morally to get it. I guess that doesn’t include using a tape recorder to get your timing, inflection, volume, where to cut out material, get rid of the uh’s 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. It’s narrows the distance between you and the badge you’re looking for!

    What is the first thing a candidate says when he hears his voice on a tape recorder? Yep. That’s not me. Yes, it is McFly. You need to get married to a hand held tape recorder and practice everywhere you go.

    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 don’t! The brain and mouth don’t work that way.

    Try this. Take 3X5 cards and write down your oral board questions. You can find our 30 Sample Oral Board Questions here http://eatstress.com/thirty.htm 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 don’t want to say.

    Let me tell you how critical this really is. If you’re 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 be wasting the oral boards time and your time! Seek out another career. Understand you still have to interview there too. The above candidate has already lost some great opportunities. Had he been faithfully using a tape recorder to prepare for his oral boards, he probably could have had a badge already.

    Some will say, “Well, if I practice it too much it will sound canned.” NO it won’t! It sure will be planned though. Practice makes permanent. “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” 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. That’s where the magic begins. You can’t be fooled.

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

    Instead of posting messages on bulletin boards asking others where they’re at in the testing process for this city and I’m 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 can’t pass the oral board, or score high enough on the list, you don’t get the job. Never! Ever! Ever! Now, where’s your tape recorder?

    If you want to stay ahead of the curve on the LA City process, go to the web site below.

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

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959

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    Default

    "Don’t panic if you hear candidates already receiving their scores for the LA City written test. HR said results for written test will be sent out four to six weeks from your test date. The LA City web site stated that there would be no advantage given to people no matter what test date they were given."

    CAPT Bob: So does that mean that they wait until all the results are in for all three test dates before they rank everyone based on their oral scores? If so, that is certainly good news for me since I'm not taking the written until the 19th!
    Thanks.

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    Default Orals

    That's right. My undersanding is they are still giving the written test. You score will count in the overal ranking.

    Captain Bob

    www.eatstress.com

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    Default LA City Round 2

    LA City Round 2

    I’ve had contact with many successful candidates who scored high enough on their LA City oral board to be heading into background.

    One wrote:

    “The only guy that did intimidate me at the interview as far as competition ran into the bathroom when I was checking the bottom of my shoes and my hair and threw up. So after that I felt pretty good about it.” Keith

    With the written results of the second group coming out and the oral board dates set, these successful candidates have to be asking themselves how can they make the cut? Especially after seeing postings from candidates who thought they had done better in their oral boards but left without getting a background packet.

    I’m still baffled how so many candidates have convinced themselves between the four inches between their ears, without learning how to take and interview, that they just know the oral board panel will select them over the other candidates who have really prepared.

    In a coaching session with Rob a week before his oral, a candidate opened his answer to the question why he wanted to be a firefighter for LA City was because two of his cousins work there. Where did you get that answer? From a couple of on duty LA City firefighters was his answer. The remainder of his answers weren’t much better. This was his first interview ever. Well, in the following week he was able to put it together enough to walk out of his interview with a background packet.

    Remember, you’re going up against candidates who have already learned how to take an interview and have honed their skills.

    As this candidate wrote:

    I would of hated not to have had this knowledge and gone up against somebody who did!

    Stories Get Badges!

    We encourage candidates to lace their answers with personal life experiences. Since no one else can tell a candidate’s life experience stories they can’t be placed in the mold of a profile. They become unique, fresh and convincing. In a recent fire academy half the recruits were candidates who went through our program. You couldn’t tell one from the other in the oral board because they were using their own stuff. Not a profile robot “clone” of everyone else.

    If you have all the education, experience and the burning desire to get that badge, you’re not getting hired, having to cool your heels in another position waiting for that next opportunity (not a bad ideal), you have be asking yourself why?

    You can talk all you want about what we do here, how you want it or think it should be, but the candidates you are reading about in our material are a lot like you. They simply got positive results by putting simple techniques into action. The big difference is they figured out how to maximize the points in their oral boards, are now riding big red and taking home a pay check.

    Here’s how they did it. Since oral board scores are calculated in hundredths of points (82.15, 87.63, 90.87, etc), the goal is to keep building on a few hundredths of points here on this question, a few hundredths there on that answer, gaining a few more hundredths with their signature personalized life experience stories at the appropriate time, delivering the all powerful “Nugget” answers that no one else can tell, and pulling away from the parrot salvo dropping clones.

    Before the clone candidates realize what has happened, these candidates have added on extra points to their score placing them in a position to be invited to the chief’s interview where they get a real shot at the badge. Just being 1 to 2 points out of the running can decide whether you will go forward in the hiring process or not.

    The toughest thing for candidates to do in an oral is to be themselves on purpose. Your stories establish a natural bridge between you and the panel. When you're yourself, you become conversational because you are on your own turf. This alone can lower the stress and the butterflies. Every one has butterflies. The trick is to get all the butterflies to all fly in the same formation than can make the difference.

    Stories are more than facts. If you can recreate 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 they’re not fire related.

    One reason stories work effectively is because they go directly to the brain and entertain. They do not require the mental processing of more formal nonfiction writing. Stories have heart and ring true.

    Collect illustrative stories as you are collecting facts, quotations and other information for your signature stories.

    Practice those stories with a tape recorder. Condense them down to a couple of minutes or less. Don’t go on a journey. The oral board is not packed for the trip. You won’t have time and it’s not appropriate to use a signature story for every answer. Tell the story. Make the point. Move on. Once you answer an oral board with a signature story, you can marry the rest of your answer with those clone answers you have been using. Try it and see the amazing difference.

    “Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”—Joseph Pulitzer, (1847-1911) American journalist.

    I was coaching a candidate one day and a candidate was giving me those clone answers why he wanted to be a firefighter. I stopped him and had him rewind the videotape of his life to where he first got the spark to be a firefighter. He said, “Oh, I’m from South America. When I was growing up, we lived with my grandfather who was the fire chief of the city. I got to go with him and be exposed to the who department.”

    I asked if he had ever told that story in any of his oral board interviews? He said, “No”. Why not? I will bet you big money you are a clone candidate right now. But, I bet you also have some personal signature stories that could instantly change your interview scores.

    Another Example:
    I was doing private coaching session with a candidate. He 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. You’re trapped with him. You can smell the smoke and see the embers dropping around you. Does this story make a difference? Please say yes.

    Case in point. I just talked to a candidate who was dumping only clone answers on the question “Why do you want to be a firefighter?” Then he realized he could begin his answer with a signature story. He remembered a story he could use about a prank being played on him when he did a ride along with his brother. He couldn’t believe the difference when he used this personalized signature story at his next oral board.

    The story brought smiles and laughter from the panel members. Along with the calls they went on by the end of the day he knew this was the job that blended all his needs. He followed this story with his standard landmark clone answers. This was the first question on his oral. His answer made everyone more comfortable and the interview flowed a lot smoother than before.

    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! So the point here is not the question, but the answer. Start establishing your personalized stories. When you start lacing your answers with your personalized experiences is where you start to shorten that gap between you and that infamous badge.

    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 and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959
    Last edited by CaptBob; 03-28-2005 at 11:44 PM.

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    Default results/oral

    Just took the written test on the 19th with about 100 others (hurt my brain trying to remember how many ounces are in a gallon!). I'm assuming it will take about six weeks to get results--does that sound right? Also, can someone out there tell me how long it was between getting their written results and getting a date for the oral interview? I'm pretty sure I saw people waiting there for the interview when we filed in for the test, so they must have been from the first test that was given in January.
    Finally, I am in the Navy--I'm assuming that for the interview (hopefully I'll get scheduled for one!) I should wear appropriate civilian attire instead of my dress uniform. Any opinions?
    Thanks much.

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    dooley:

    Congrats and good luck. I'll say NO to the military attire and YES to the nicest contemporary conservative gentlemen's suit and ensemble you can obtain.

    Best Wishes,

    Brian
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    Default LAFD vs DCFD

    Thanks, Brian. I have one suit I had tailored for me in Thailand so I guess I'll get a chance to use it. Are you currently on the job in L.A.? If so, can you tell me the work schedule there and how you like it? I am currently trying to decide between staying in SoCal and trying to get on the LAFD and going back east to Washington, D.C. I'm on an active duty deferment for the DCFD, so when I get out if I move back there I've already gone through most of their process. I know that D.C. still gets a LOT of fires, so I'm just looking for info about the LAFD in general so I can make an informed decision. Thanks to anyone who can provide info.

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    Thanks, Brian
    You are welcome.

    I have one suit I had tailored for me in Thailand so I guess I'll get a chance to use it
    Good call. If it's contemporary and profoundly conservative (like the rest of your ensemble), you should do fine. Captain Bob has many posts over at the Firecareers.com (free) forum that relate directly to this topic.

    Are you currently on the job in L.A.?
    Yes.

    ...can you tell me the work schedule there...
    http://www.lafd.org/shift.htm


    .. and how you like it?
    While the LAFD is not everyone's cup of tea (I guess you could say that about any Fire Department). I happen to enjoy my time here immensely.

    I am currently trying to decide between staying in SoCal and trying to get on the LAFD and going back east to Washington, D.C.
    The best thing I can suggest is to closely visit and immerse yourself in the culture of both Departments and both regions. There are a million opinions from a million people, but it ultimately comes down to what works best for you and your family from both an on-duty and off-duty perspective.

    I know that D.C. still gets a LOT of fires...
    Yes they do, and from what I have observed firsthand, do a fine job at fighting them. The same could be said for many agencies. In the long run though, the amount of fire being fought "today" becomes the fires that were fought yesterday. I would opine that while prospective Firefighters need know where a Department has been, they also need to strongly focus on where a Department is headed.

    We of course see our own share of fire, but consider to be *in and of itself* (emphasis greatly added) to be a poor indicator of what may be your life's work for the next three decades.

    ...so I'm just looking for info about the LAFD in general so I can make an informed decision.
    Along with the basic recruitment information here (follow the highlighted links)

    http://www.lafd.org/join

    ... very strong emphasis is give on visiting Los Angeles Fire Stations (plural). If you haven't spent several days in and around the City of Los Angeles and immersed yourself in its Fire Department, you're not doing everything you can - and dare I say necessary - to attain a career position as a Los Angeles Firefighter.

    Best wishes,

    Brian
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    Default Getting a higher score

    Don’t be A Clone Candidate!

    Folks, it appears that if you get a 95% or above on your LA City Oral, you will be given a background packet as you leave.

    Some early LA City Oral Board Results:

    Hey Captain Bob!
    I am 24, and have been trying to get this far since for about two and a half years. I just took my oral for Los Angeles City. When I came out of my oral THEY HANDED ME MY BACKGROUND PACKET! (Which got me teary eyed when I got to my truck). By the way the confidence from your Gold Package Program made me feel years ahead of everyone there, well that and new underwear! Thanks to the tips and all from you and Rob.

    You’re going to love this:

    The only guy that did intimidate me at the interview as far as competition ran into the bathroom when I was checking the bottom of my shoes and my hair and threw up. So after that I felt pretty good about it. Keith

    Capt Rob,
    This is Jeff. I had a coaching session through you last Wednesday, in preparation of my first ever oral for LA City. Well I had my oral yesterday. They let me know right away, they handed me a background packet and scheduled me to meet and start my Investigation. So I am on to the fireside of the hiring process. Because of the preparation I was ready for the questions they threw at me. Thanks for everything that you and your dad did, not sure I could have nailed my first interview otherwise. Thanks again. Jeff

    Congrats Jeff on your first time out!

    Don’t be A Clone Candidate!

    It’s not the interview questions that are the problem, it’s the answers! Unfortunately many candidates become clones and give clone answers. And the bigger problem is they don’t 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 180 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. You’re 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 didn’t hook them into listening to your stuff. You have just scored yourself. Trust me. You can see the glaze come over the raters’ eyes. It’s like a deer caught in the headlights. They’re gone and they won’t come back.

    It’s not that you can’t use clone answers. You can. But first you need to deliver a signature story about you. Not a clone answer of anyone else. I haven’t met a candidate yet that couldn’t come up with signature stories. Signature stories demonstrate experience. They also tell that you not only know the answer to a question, you’ve 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 didn’t 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 don’t have a chance here.

    So the point here is not the question, but the answer. Start establishing your personalized stories.

    Instant “Clones”

    Recently I had the opportunity to participate in mock orals with one of my instructors who happens to be really great when it comes interviewing. In our class that comprises mostly of people starting fire tech classes, nobody did very well. It was a great lesson about how we need to start preparing and getting to familiarize ourselves with the testing process. However, 2 guys who were friends with our instructor participated in our mock orals, and put the rest of us to shame.

    They obviously have spent countless hours practicing orals with our instructor. They really knew their stuff and not having any oral experience myself, I was very impressed, along with the rest of my class. My question is that these guys were so well rehearsed and knew each question and answers like the back of their hand, they sounded like actors in a play—anybody could tell that everything down to expressions, and hand motions had been practiced over and over to perfection.

    Is this what interviewers want when they interview you? Do they really want to see rehearsed answers? Don’t get me wrong, the answers were very good, but seemed so artificial. Please let me know if it’s better to answer questions to the best of your knowledge, or just to memorize good answers. Thanks, any input would be great.

    Reply: What you saw was a perfect example of turning candidates into Clones. It’s impressive at first. But if you felt is was too rehearsed, so will the oral board panel. When you see it over and over again it gets old and puts the panel into a daze. We could tell who the instructors were on many of the clone candidates by the second question. This will stick out in an interview. One thing about clone candidates; they will end up with a score that will put them in the clone pack.

    One of our officers was going to be on an oral board panel for our department. He had been telling people that he could tell which candidates were coached by me. After the interviews, he was telling us about this great candidate who nailed his interview and came out number one. I asked him if he thought the guy had been coached? He said he was so good using his own stuff he couldn’t have been. When I told him this was one of my candidates, he screamed . . . NO WAY! Yep, he’s one of our guys.

    Not only that, this guy had been testing for over 3 years. He scored 532 on his last test in Stockton. He came to us three weeks before his oral with our department. He had great stuff, but didn’t know how to present it.

    The proof is in the badge, and, as you already know . . . Nothing counts ‘til you have the badge . . . Nothing!”

    You can find the previous LA City Oral Board Tips here: http://eatstress.com/LATip2.htm


    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 and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959
    Last edited by CaptBob; 04-03-2005 at 01:16 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default

    Great info, Brian! I've gone through the web sites you posted (I actually found the shift info right after I posted my last question) and like what I see. I'm also planning to visit a firehouse in the Hollywood area--my proctor from the CPAT is the captain and told me to give him a call (great guy).
    I'm glad to hear that you enjoy your job. I haven't heard from many firefighters who don't, but some departments definitely have more "esprit de corps" than others. Obviously I'd like to work for a dept whose members are happy with their jobs.
    On a different note, does anybody know if they are going to require a polygraph as part of the background? I'm not planning on lying or anything, but I've known good people who have not gotten hired b/c of false readings so they make me nervous. I'll just tell the truth and hope for the best!
    Anyway, thanks to Brian for the great response and best of luck to all!

  21. #21
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    Default Resumes

    The LA City HR web site said that they will accept resumes, but they are discouraged. These postings from candidates that have used them brings new light to the process:

    I read the website the same way Capt. Bob did- not to bring supplemental paperwork such as resumes. However, when I checked in with the personnel counter, the clerk asked if I had a resume to include. She said she would accept them if we had them, but they didn't want us walking into the interview with them because the clerk would pass it on directly. She directed me to go get my resume from my car and bring it in. So, I'd bring one to give to personnel.

    The two people on my panel reviewed my interview before I entered the room, and when I walked in one of them said 'it looks like you've been preparing for this for a long time.' To me that meant that they looked at it, knew that I wanted it, and had put a lot of time and effort into preparing for it. It's true that they grade you on the interview itself, but I honestly felt that having them see my resume played in my favor...

    This website www.lacity.org/per/lafd_intprep.htm tells you all of the do's and don'ts. My buddy took a resume and he said in the beginning of his interview they were reviewing it. Bring a resume.

    You don’t want to pass up this opportunity.

    Resumes

    What’s the first impression the job panel has of you? Your physical appearance? What else? Your choice of words, eye contact, and your handshake? If you guessed any of these, you missed the most important point!

    The all-important first impression is your application and resume, before you ever walk into the room! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen applications with misspelled words, chronological order wrong, and we haven’t even seen the candidate.

    Most resumes are poorly done. The business resume format is not the best for firefighter candidates, because with the high volume of candidates, the raters only have a few moments to look at your resume before you walk into the room.

    I’m a one-page resume guy for entry level without a cover letter, not in a binder or folder. Do not give us a book. We will not read it. The board does not have enough time. A candidate faxed me his resume for review. The cover letter for the position he was applying for stated, “Attached is a “brief” description of my qualifications.” I laughed out loud because he had sent me a book. The printer ran out of paper. Save a tree, the raters will not read these volumes. Don’t send me on a treasure hunt to find your great stuff. Hit me with your major qualifications starting with your experience on one page. Write it believing the raters won’t go past the first page. You can put any supporting details, documents, certificates and letters of recommendation following the first page. Keep it simple.

    Many people start their resume with their education. For me, I like to see professional experience jump right off the page. Hit me with experience, bam! Fire fighting, bam! Some kind of training, apparatus operator training, fire school, whatever it is. Hit me with that experience. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be in chronological order or fire service experience. So many of the resumes I see, I find the important stuff way down at the bottom of the first page. Because that’s how it falls in chronological order. It starts with some education up here, some college, whatever, blah blah, experience, now we’re down at the bottom of the page where I might not see it.

    I was reviewing a candidate’s resume and in chronological order his paramedic certification was at the bottom of the page. I asked him, “What are the most important items on your resume? He said, my Firefighter 1 and Paramedic Certification.” They were at the bottom of the page where they might be missed. We put those items on top so those are the first things that hit you. We put the dates on the right side of the page where it can be referenced. Once you put the dates on the right-hand side of the page, you list your experience in order of importance, not just in chronological order. This makes a big difference.

    My suggestion for a firefighter resume format: Name, Address, Phone number & e-mail address, professional experience, education, volunteer and community service. That’s all you need. Nothing more. Nothing less. Keep it simple.

    Make a photocopy because you never know when you’re going to that job interview. I talk to people who have put in applications and resumes, and six to eight months later, they don’t have a copy and don’t remember what they’ve put down.

    After seeing revisions of his resume to the following format, a candidate wrote, “Captain Bob, wow, what a dramatic difference. Much easier to read and pleasing to the eye.”

    Here’s a sample format:

    Carl Mcfly
    1284 Main St.
    Kensington, Ca 94588
    Phone: 510-286-5890 e-mail: Iwantafirejob@aol.com

    OBJECTIVE: To achieve a level within the fire service. (As Steve wrote this is optional. We really don't read it)

    PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

    Firefighter Fire Department, CA 2-00 Present
    Duties include but are not limited to fire suppression in structural as well as wild land environments and emergency medical services under highly stressful emergency conditions. Also, fire prevention, public education, vehicle and station maintenance under the supervision of a Captain, always focusing on providing quality customer service.

    Engineer (Acting) 2-03 Present

    Firefighter Fire Department (Auxiliary) 3-99 2-00
    Perform in a probationary capacity under emergency situations, fire suppression, emergency medical services, also fire prevention, public education, vehicle and station maintenance.

    EMT Ambulance Service, CA 3-99 2-00
    Perform under emergency situations; emergency medical services under the direction of Redondo Beach and L.A. County Fire Department Paramedics. Vehicle and station maintenance and Code-3 driving.

    INSTRUCTOR Emergency Response CPR 3-03 Present
    Adult, Child, & Infant CPR training for the community as well as for the professional rescuer.

    Owner/Operator Pool Company, CA 5-97 2-00
    Service and repair of residential and commercial pools and spas according to County Health Department specifications.

    EDUCATION: (is space is needed to keep on one page, these can be placed in two columns)

    Bachelor’s Degree
    EMT Defib and Combitube certified
    Firefighter I
    Red Cross certified CPR Instructor
    Firefighter II
    Federal Red Card System Member
    Driver/Operator State certified
    Class B Driver’s License

    If you have space left using a size 12 fount on the first page you can add:

    ACTIVITIES
    Member of State University Track and Field Team.
    Member of State University X-Country Team.
    Volunteer for Hubbs Institute White Sea Bass Population Restoration Project.
    Volunteer for Red Cross on various projects

    That’s all you need. Nothing more, nothing less. Keep it simple.

    Here’s another candidate who nailed it and is on the way to backgrounds:

    Capt. Bob! I took my interview for LA City on Wednesday and left with a background packet! This was my third interview and I felt confident going in. Your book and your e-mails have helped a great deal. I was told by another recruit in my Academy that your book was the only advice he could give. He told me to buy it and read it over and over, since he was getting hired I listened to him. I read your book multiple times and will continue to read it throughout this process. You are absolutely right that practicing your orals out loud with a tape recorder makes a world of difference. I would just like to thank you for you and your son's dedication to helping us
    that are in pursuit of this awesome career. I know nothing counts until I get the badge, but hopefully I will get this one. Brandon

    You can find the previous LA City Oral Board Tips here: http://eatstress.com/LATip2.htm

    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 and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959

  22. #22
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    Default Relative in the Fire Service

    I’ve heard from a number of candidates whose first oral ever was with LA City where they scored high enough to leave with a background packet. At first their friends and classmates didn’t believe them. Then, they were angry because they’ve been testing for years and didn't make the cut. Bottom line these candidates learned how to take an interview!

    This just came in:

    Captain Bob: I have passed my first oral ever for LA city and have received my background packet!It's hard to believe it myself. I managed to make it happen with only 3 weeks to prepare after receiving your program. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have tried to give myself at least 6 months.
    I was married to the tape recorder, sick of looking at myself in the mirror and because of the cramming, started loosing my voice, but in the end, I pulled it off. Captain Bob, I am thankful to have you in my corner! Carlo.

    A relative in the Fire Service?

    Rob was doing a coaching session with a LA City candidate. On his visit to several LA City fire stations, they told him to make sure he mentioned that his two cousins work for LA City! I believe that would not improve your position.

    Question: My father is a thirty-year veteran of the fire department. My grand father was a twenty-six year veteran of the police department. Would it be a good idea to incorporate that information into an answer on the oral exam? Thanks Rod

    It’s tricky. It’s a balancing act. It could hurt you. Too many candidates club the oral board over the head with a dad or other relative who is or has been a firefighter. The panel can interpret this as asking for more points.

    With my son Rob we used it this way: I’ve wanted to be a firefighter most of my life because members of my family have been firefighters. He never said who. If they wanted to know they would ask. They only asked once. That department hired him.

    We approved the way another candidate used his signature story:

    When I was 10 years old, my father as a captain on the Boston Fire Department took me to work with him. That afternoon we got a call. We rolled out with a lot of other rigs to an apartment fire. I saw my dad get off the rig, direct people for rescue and extinguish the fire. I knew right then that I would not be satisfied until I achieved my badge. — Steve

    Who else could tell Steve’s story? No one. He was there. After we worked on this story in private coaching, Steve was able to recreate the excitement, emotion, enthusiasm, and color of the actual event. You were on the rig with Steve; you saw the flames, and the hairs on the back of your neck start standing up. Again, firefighters love firefighter stories. We do. If you can tell the oral board a signature story from your life experience that relates to the answer, it can catapult you past the “Clone” candidates.

    You can find the previous LA City Oral Board Tips here: http://eatstress.com/LATip2.htm

    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 and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959
    Last edited by CaptBob; 05-01-2005 at 01:32 PM.

  23. #23
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    Default Next Round

    With the next round of LA City Oral Boards fast approaching, how ready are you for this or any other oral board that will be 100% of your score to get hired? Especially when you consider this:

    I had an opportunity to meet a high ranking Chief for the LAFD and he congratulated me on passing my oral and told me that only 3% of the people that take the oral will move forward.

    100 = 3
    1,000 = 30
    10,000 = 300

    I thought this would open a few eyes, especially the ones who say; oh I will just wing it! The individuals moving forward in the process are prepared big time, they are married to a recorder, checking themselves out in the mirror and doing whatever it takes. I wonder what the statistics are for the individual who wings it?
    Take Care, Carl

    Psyching Yourself Out?

    Many candidates are thrown in their oral boards because they can’t tell or get feed back from the interview panel members on how they are doing.

    You can’t know what the panel is thinking. Once you start trying, you will tank your oral board score. Just give your best performance no matter what you think the oral board is doing. Trying to interpret the expressions, attitudes of the panel, what they are writing, etc., is mental masturbation. I had several candidates contact me after their orals where I was on their panel. They would tell me what they thought I was thinking or doing. They were never right.

    Here is an example. We went to a matinee play in San Francisco. There was a fraction of the audience this theater could accommodate. You would have never known it by what took place on stage. During intermission I spotted two of the lead actors. I told them although the audience was sparse the cast wasn’t. The energy and enthusiasm were fantastic, as if they were playing to a packed house. These were professionals. They thanked me for noticing.

    Consider doing the same thing going into your oral boards. The door opens and they call you in. The curtain is going up, it’s the bright lights of Broadway. It’s show time. You have to grab your top hat, cane and know matter what the audience (panel members) you have to give it your best shot and step it OUT!

    Not floundering trying to remember the lines for your part. Being embarrassed by stage fright that causes you to forget your best stuff, as your mouth goes dryer than the Sahara Desert.

    Visualizing the tones are dropping and on your going on your first call. Everything you have worked for is on the line. You’re auditioning for the part to be a firefighter. You have practiced and rehearsed for this part haven’t you? You know all the lines for your part don’t you?

    The raters pick up on your energy and enthusiasm as we did at the play and they’re saying in their minds, bravo, bravo, we have been waiting for this all week. They’re starting to smile. Throwing you lines that you adlib to enhance your performance. Nothing has stumped you. You know you’re going to make the cut for the call back. You have never had an interview like this. The hairs start standing up on the back of your neck and the raters too. You walk off stage knowing you nailed it!

    Haven’t had this feeling in your oral boards yet? Well, do you have a script that you have been religiously practicing with a tape recorder? It doesn’t surprise me. Ninety-nine percent of the candidates I ask aren’t either. I asked a college program recently how many had been practicing with a tape recorder daily? No hands. How about weekly then? Nope. None. O.K. how about monthly? Finally three hands went up out of a total of 40. Then, don’t be confused by why you’re not getting high enough on the list to get a call back to play the part of a firefighter. The mystery has been solved.

    You might not have the oral board skills (the oral is still 100% of the score to get hired) to convince the producers (raters) you have what is takes. You see getting this part as a firefighter you have to convince the raters you can do it before you get it.

    For a look at the script to audition for the job of a firefighter job check here: http://www.eatstress.com/workboolette.htm


    Capt Bob,
    I just finished taking the oral interview with LA City and wanted to write a quick note.

    First I want to thank you for the information and tools that you have supplied me with in your Gold Package Program. It worked I scored high enough and have a background scheduled.

    As you have said before oral board is the most important step in the process and the step that is least prepared for. Well I can support your statement. As I watched the recording of my score (reading upside down) I noticed 60's and 70's on the scores of those that interviewed before me. I would assume there were about 25 names on the sheet prior to mine. Again the methods you teach do work. Thanks again for your help Rich

    You can now listen to more here: http://eatstress.com/mp3entryintro.htm

    You can find the previous LA City Oral Board Tips here: http://eatstress.com/LATip2.htm

    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
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards and
    It's Your Turn in the Hot Seat

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959
    Last edited by CaptBob; 06-19-2005 at 09:52 AM.

  24. #24
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    Default Who’s lying?

    The Polygraph Threat. Who’s lying?

    Q. Capt Bob, Does LAFD really conduct background polygraphs?

    CB: Noooooooooooooo!

    Q. I know that they conduct a very thorough background

    CB: Not anymore. The PD used to do backgrounds. Now many are being reviewed within the FD. Starting with the next class, they will do back to back classes until they hire 250 new firefighters!

    Q. So in regards to the polygraph testing with LAFD I am still amazed. After talking with you and others it is very clear that they don't conduct polygraphs. However, I am amazed on how far they carry the threat. I just called my background investigator and he told me that I had put down that I had never done drugs but he said he talked to several of my friends who were with me when I smoked marijuana. I told him that never happened. He said they were with you. I told him either they or you are lying. He said don’t forget you are for sure scheduled for you polygraph on August 18.

    I told this to an LAFD firefighter friend (20 yrs on) of mine and he laughed. He said that they will probably carry it out until that day, on which instead of doing a polygraph they'll do the psych/medical/ and he also mentioned an additional background interview with my investigator and a Captain. I know you are busy but I can't help be curious, is this similar to what you have heard?

    Yep. Happens all the time. I posted the following three months ago:

    Is anyone aware of a department that has included in their background information “Answers are subject to verification by a Polygraph Examination”, when it wasn’t stated on their job announcement that a polygraph was definitely going to be part of the testing process, and any candidate was singled out and actually had to take a polygraph without all the other candidates being required to take one?

    As of today I’m not aware of a department or candidates who have been forced to take a polygraph under these circumstances. Not one!
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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