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Thread: Oral boards

  1. #1
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    Post Oral boards

    I just took my oral board for Mt. Clemens FD and I blew it completely. I thought I was ready, I read articles, tips, partices questions, and I thought out well formed answers. They didn't ask me a single question that I didn't have an answer for. However, when I opened my mouth, those well formulated answers just didn't leave my mouth. I made a complete fool of myself. When they asked what my weaknesses are, I should have told them speaking. Any help that can be offered would be appreciated. Thanks.


  2. #2
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    Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice.

    It sounds like you did your research and homework, but the one thing I didn't notice was verbally practicing your responses. Use a video camera, mirror, ask a friend to critique your answers...all these can help. As you found out, the best thought out answers don't always come out right.

    The other thing that will help is experience. The more oral interviews you attend, the more comfortable you will feel. It took me 2 or 3 before I started to feel comfortable, so keep at it - you will get better!

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    I had a buddy come up with some questions and then used a video camera to record the "oral board". It helped me to be able to see some of my quirks, then I knew what I had to work on as far as my delivery. Like Crossfire said, after you do a few I think you'll become more comfortable with it.

  4. #4
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    Your situation is veru common. While you feel you had an answer for all of the questions, were they the right answers?

    Fire department interviews are completely different than ahy interview you will ever encounter. As was mentioned previously practicing is imperative. In addition it is critical to be practicing the right stuff.

    Your answer can be delivered in a clear and concise fashion but if the answer is wrong you will not score well.

    I have taken 100 of the most commonly asked questions and answered them they way I believe they should be answered. I have included and answered any follow up questions. After each question I have included the reasons why I believe my answer is correct.

    Critics have said I am giving the questions and the answers. Actually, I encourage the readers to read and understand what we are looking for. If a candidate does not know what we are looking for he or she will NEVER get hired. By understanding the concept of the question coupled with the knowlege of the fire service will make a candidate successful. More importantly, when you get hired on my department you will be a better rookie firefighter.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    Author of Smoke Your Firefighter Interview and The Aspiring Firefighter's 2-year Plan
    www.smokeyourfirefighterinterv iew.com

  5. #5
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    Default Miracle Tool?

    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.

    Another:
    . . . 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 answers are garbage. And, the big problem is they donít know it because they have never hear their answers from a tape recorder. I know this can't be you?

    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 and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959
    Last edited by CaptBob; 04-03-2005 at 03:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default 2 more cents...

    In addition to everything that was written above, I would like
    to add something.

    I think about the basic oral board questions in my head
    weekly. Sounds funny, but I do. "Why do you want to be a
    Firefighter?" What about stealing? Strengths and
    weeknesses? In closing, do you have anything else to add?

    These are the basic questions. As the situational ones
    come up, reflect back to a real life situation that
    happened to you.

    Research the department. Why do you really want to work
    there? Then if they ask, lay down the fireworks. I SWEAR
    TO YOU, THIS WORKS FOR ME EVERYTIME. Why? Because I am
    telling the truth and systematiclly outlining why I want
    to work there. It just flows for me. Might work for you
    too, I dont know.

    Hope these help out, please let me know if you need more.

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