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  1. #1
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    Default in need of some advice

    I had my first and only interview for paid-on-call employment this week and have already been cut before the physical testing. This has come as a total shock to me considering a number of factors. But maybe I'm too naÔve to understand that maybe I don't fit this line of work no matter how much I wish to be a part of it. This is why I'm seeking input from those of you who either hire or have been where I've been but have moved past it.

    I'm 35 and a strong 6'5". I have zero training and knowledge of the job. But I'm college educated, have been a member of Mensa and believed I portrayed my need to fulfill my civic responsibility in being a firefighter. In other words, without pulling out my ACT and SAT scores, college diploma and neighbors for whom I've done numerous good deeds, I don't believe I could have done anything else to give myself a shot at the full-gear run-throughs.

    Unregrettably, I told the panel I am not motivated by money because I wanted to prove my honesty. What motivates me is knowing that my community, particularly children, is knowledgeable in fire safety and that I can provide the peace of mind it might need if there ever comes a time for it.

    My denial letter alludes to the department nearest my home being inundated with applicants but the specifics as to why I was bailed stop there. (There is another station within the required zone from my house but there is no reference to that in the letter.) I can understand if all other applicants have experience and I plan on following up for more information about me but are you noticing something in me or my approach that already has you throwing flags?

    I've never interviewed for a public service job but I know this is where I need to be. Without proving it on the testing grounds and in the classroom, I'm clueless as to how I can snatch that opportunity.

    Thank you for your time. I've learned the hard way that I need some mentoring here. At least a little bit.


  2. #2
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    Default Not a Regular Job Interview!

    are you noticing something in me or my approach that already has you throwing flags?

    Yep!

    Not a Regular Job Interview!

    Many regular job and corporate interview candidates like the following are stunned and baffled why they don't have high scores on their firefighter interviews.

    Captain Bob:
    I just received my oral board score for the City of Glendale. The score did not represent how I felt I did during the interview. This is a big problem for me because I now realize that I DON'T KNOW what the board was looking for. I make presentations for a living, so I felt confident in what I did to prepare. I was sure that I just about nailed it. I've always been competitive about what I set out to accomplish, using every tool that I can utilize to reach my goal. Sir, I would greatly appreciate your training to help me be the best that I can be at the oral boards.

    I've been preparing for these orals for months and felt extremely prepared. I don't want to waste another oral board without knowing that I've done all that I can to be the best candidate possible. If you or your son have the time to help, I will make the most of that training. Please advise me on how to begin the process.

    I look forward to your response. Thank you for your time Sir.
    Regards, Fire Recruit Jeff

    Reply: Jeff, You're not alone here. You have discovered like many other's that a fire department oral board is different than anything you have encountered. Too many candidates beat their heads against the wall for years getting to the point where you are now.

    Capt. Bob:

    After my interview rejection an east coast city last week, I sent a letter to the D/C thanking him for the opportunity and telling him I'd appreciate any feedback from the interview. Well - he was honest - he indicated he wanted me to keep testing & interviewing, but wrote that I:

    -talked too much & over answered the questions
    -talked too fast
    -some of my answers were based on book knowledge (?)

    Also - as I mentioned I approached this like I would a corporate interview (BAD IDEA) and I tried to 'close' them at the end - they asked if I had any closing questions (jeez I wish I read your web site before going in) and I opened my big stupid mouth to say 'I kept your rejection letter from last year (I actually showed it to them - this was my second time interviewing) and it mentioned that candidates had failed to prepare and properly sell themselves to the board. I've been working to improve myself in these areas for the past year - have I properly done this?'

    The D/C mentioned in his letter back to me that, 'I don't think that showing the letter I mailed out last time was the best thing you could have done. It was as if you were showing it off and showing us that you still had it.' I need to keep my damn mouth shut and just answer the questions. Live and learn. I look forward to getting your package.

    Stay safe Dave

    No more questions. The defense rests your honor.

    Captain Bob,

    I am so glad I ran across your program on the web. Here's my story:

    At the age of 29, I had a "successful" career in management. I was making great money. But I was miserable working long hours behind a desk struggling to meet my employer's payroll week-in and week-out. I decided on a career change.

    I joined my community's volunteer fire department to see how I'd like being a firefighter. I loved it. I enrolled in EMT school and applied for several departments in middle TN.

    After my first miserable interview experience, I did some research on the web. I had always interviewed well and received most positions I had applied for, but this interview was not like any I had previously encountered. And then I found your website. It changed my life.

    I started my first day on the job this past Monday. I couldn't be happier!!! I could not have done it without your help. I am finally doing what I love. There is no better place to be in life. I only wish words could do justice to the gratitude I have for you and your program! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Chad Hollingsworth
    Franklin, TN
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  3. #3
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    Default

    Understood and thanks for the info. However, maybe it's me but I'm still not understanding the "how it's different" or even the "why it's different." I mean, I am who I am and I'm motivated to do this. If it's a character issue, I have half a mind to show up at the physical testing anyway and prove to them they made the wrong decision. I'd have zero to lose.

    Don't read that as a threat to the department. Rather, I'm too competitive to allow one brief encounter determine my future and will fight for the right to earn it. I waited months to have the chance to learn more about the opportunity locally and begin to introduce the department to me.

    If I had reasons that made logical sense as to why I was passed over, so be it. But how can I accept an incomplete decision?

    Any feedback on this would be appreciative. Be as honest as you want. If I'm coming across as a total pest, I need to know that but I also need to know what I'm missing if you have an idea.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Captbob, i need your help!! I am a 19 year old student pursuing my fire science degree. i have 1 yr left and i just found out that i didnt pass my emt-b national. (i feel like a dumba**) i know that you are very experiened in the fire service and hiring. i have read some of your postes(good stuff). So i was wondering if i have any chance on getting on a paid department without emt-b. i plan on taking the national again and passing, but i just want your input on what is the best path for a 19 yr old that has be down on his luck... i have grown up in a fire house and this is all i know(or think i know) and i just need pro. help!! please respond!!

  5. #5
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    Default

    Have you ever thought about joining a department as a volunteer? That may be an option you might won't to explore so that next time you have the opportunity to interveiw, your answers can come from experience rather than education.

  6. #6
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    Default Time

    mattweldin

    So i was wondering if i have any chance on getting on a paid department without emt-b.

    Even though a department might not require an EMT to apply, they look for it because it will shorten the academy or other training by several weeks. It's not uncommon for candidates to not pass the first time out.

    Time is on your side. Are you trying to pack on too much in your pursuit? It sounds like you have a lot on your plate at this time. My advise is to step back, lick your wounds, regroup, have a new plan and be ready to pass the next registry test.

    Do you know which area caused you problems in the registry test? Was it stage fright? An EMS/Medic mentor would be a good idea. Practice your skills, obtain the study guides for the registry. Practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature to you.
    Last edited by CaptBob; 09-07-2005 at 11:27 AM.
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  7. #7
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    Default Overkill?

    Levine92

    I have half a mind to show up at the physical testing anyway and prove to them they made the wrong decision.

    I think your statement is a clue of how much you don't understand about the culture and what they're looking for. I guanrantee if you show up for the PT you will never, ever be considered again.

    The biggest problem I've seen on oral boards with older, educated life experience candidates taking entry tests is they can't place themselves in the position they are applying for; that of being a snotty nose rookie. They try to hammer the oral board with their credentials thinking the board will just hand them the job. Their oral board's skills are rusty and antiquated.

    Many candidates don't understand that if they're testing in a smaller area you might already have established a reputation, good or bad, to those who will be making the decisions.

    This is a delicate balance here. You must leave your time and rank in your locker from where ever you came from. You must be humble, place yourself in the rookie position and build a natural bridge to present your education, experience and integrity to the oral board panel. Without this bridge, you're dead meat. This is not easy for many candidates. An attitude adjustment is needed. Attitude is a small thing that can make the big difference. Remember the position you're applying.

    The savvy candidate can roar past any of the other candidates if his attitude and game plan is in place.
    Last edited by CaptBob; 09-07-2005 at 11:29 AM.
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

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  8. #8
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    Default

    thank you captbob for your reply, you are right, i try to do too much at one time because i am so excited to get onto a paid department. People are always telling me to slow down and take one step at a time (my mom) I want it to happen all at once and i know that it is not possible. I am currently a volunteer and have been for over a year, and i dont want to be stuck at that for the rest of my life. It just seems impossible to get on a carrer department. i do have a lot of little certs here and there in stuff but i dont think that will help my chances in a big department. well enough of my raving, thank you again captbob!!

  9. #9
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    Default now I'm confused

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptBob
    Levine92

    I have half a mind to show up at the physical testing anyway and prove to them they made the wrong decision.

    I think your statement is a clue of how much you don't understand about the culture and what they're looking for. I guanrantee if you show up for the PT you will never, ever be considered again.

    The biggest problem I've seen on oral boards with older, educated life experience candidates taking entry tests is they can't place themselves in the position they are applying for; that of being a snotty nose rookie. They try to hammer the oral board with their credentials thinking the board will just hand them the job. Their oral board's skills are rusty and antiquated.

    Many candidates don't understand that if they're testing in a smaller area you might already have established a reputation, good or bad, to those who will be making the decisions.

    This is a delicate balance here. You must leave your time and rank in your locker from where ever you came from. You must be humble, place yourself in the rookie position and build a natural bridge to present your education, experience and integrity to the oral board panel. Without this bridge, you're dead meat. This is not easy for many candidates. An attitude adjustment is needed. Attitude is a small thing that can make the big difference. Remember the position you're applying.

    The savvy candidate can roar past any of the other candidates if his attitude and game plan is in place.

    The feedback is appreciated. I was in no way as forceful in my interview and my attitude is just fine despite my kneejerk feelings for showing up at the PT. I'm not a loose cannon but I am a logical thinker. Haven't you ever been denied something and not know why? It's one thing if you're a toddler.

    Honestly, my thoughts are all over the place. I was extremely conservative, or so I thought, in the interview. Really held back from extrapolating on everything like I tend to normally do. But how am I to understand the expected dynamic unless I go out there and test it? We learn by making mistakes. Isn't there respect that goes along with that? The frustrating part of this is that I don't know what kind of mistakes I made in the interview.

    My town is not small or large. It's a burb with more than enough people in which to blend. I wasn't born or raised here so any reputation is pretty much non-existent.

    I'd like to review the oral board info on this site but I can't find it. Am I blind or is it down for repair? I am obviously missing the point on the interviewing process. I'm willing to adapt to the dynamics in place as long as it puts me closer to full-time employment in a department.

  10. #10
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