Questionk the oral board should be fun as all heck. one of the questions that they are going to ask is why do you want to be a Firefighter I know that is coming. ut not to sould like a clone answer but this is wy I want to be one

I want to be a Firefighter becouse I want to help those who are in trouble and need it. I want to give back to the community for all they have ing give in me.

that is going to be clone answer Im going to say it and so is everyone sels who is applying for the job. here is teh question

how should I word it in a why that will make the board job


Reply: It's when that candidate comes in after all the clones that grabs our attending with something fresh, unique, original that will cause us to sit up in our chairs and think we have been waiting for this all week.

There was a time in your life, an experience, something happened to a family member when the fire department responded, or a drill, being a volunteer when you mind when click, this is it. My life will not be the same until I get that badge. When was that?

Why Do You Want to be a Firefighter?

This is one of the toughest questions to answer without sounding like a Clone.

Candidate: I have thought long and hard about the answer to “why do you want to be a firefighter”. I’m having a tough time putting it into words. My biggest desire to be a firefighter is because I love the way the department functions first as a family, then as a job.

I’ve had way too many jobs that were just corporate ladder climbers and backstabbers. Do you think if I push the “family” aspect will I get max points for that question?

Reply: This is a “Clone” answer. It will doom your oral board. Try to think of what really sparked your interest to be a firefighter. Come up with those signature stories. Once you have the board hooked into listening to you, you can use those other “Clone” answers to caboose your answer.

By the way, I would never use, “I’ve had way too many jobs that were just corporate ladder climbers and backstabbers”, as part of your answer. It might give a bad impression of you to the oral board.

I asked a candidate, who was testing for Oakland, during coaching one day why he wanted to be a firefighter. He gave me the typical “Clone” answer, “It’s giving back to the community, public service, helping other’s, blah, blah, zzzzzzzzzzzz.”

I stopped him and asked, “What really got you interested in being a firefighter?” He said, “Oh, well I grew up in Oakland, but moved to Shasta during high school. After graduation I went to hotel management school in Reno. That didn’t work out, so I moved back to Oakland and started going to Chabot College. I met an old friend who was in the fire science program. We ended up over at his house. His father was a Captain for Oakland. They got me all fired up, I signed up in fire science, got my firefighter 1, became a medic and I’m currently a federal firefighter.”

I just sat there amazed. I asked him if he had ever used this (his signature) story before? He said no. You gave me the “Clone” answer and you had this beauty sitting here? He polished up the story and practiced it with a tape recorder. He works proudly for the City of Alameda.

Another candidate remembered he had the Gage and Desoto dish and cup set from the TV series Emergency. His mom had a picture of him in front of the TV as a kid eating off it when the show came on. He took that picture to his orals. Did it work? He works for San Jose Fire.

After a written test I asked a group of six candidates why they wanted to be firefighters. They were amazed that what they thought was unique was only a “Clone”. After I worked with one in the group with his signature story of why he wanted to be a firefighter, the rest of the group used the formula to put together their own too.

I have yet to find a candidate who doesn’t have signature stories. The problem is they don’t know how to use them. You might not know yours today. But, after reading this, you will have some aha’s in the next few days.