1. #1
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    Nov 2007

    Question Telephone Interview in place of Oral Board Interview?

    Has anyone heard of this happening? I am dumbfounded to hear that this is happening in MY Fire Dept.

    I thought the purpose of the Oral Interview Board was to ask pointed questions and give EVERY candidate the EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to answer those questions-and grade them accordingly by answer and body language.

    Your thoughts and analysis please?!?!?! This is TRADITION in the Fire Service and I'm struggling with the legal issues surrounding this change in past practice....

  2. #2
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    Mar 2005
    Omaha, NE


    Omaha Fire Department offered this option this fall for those living at least 250 miles away.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Even though this is for all of the marbles, don't panic now!

    Phone interviews are becoming more common. It could be because of time and distanc and to whittle down the numbers for a final in person interview.

    Deactivate your call waiting beep. Remove pets and any other distractions.

    Don’t use a cel or speaker phone. If you can, use a hands free head-set. Take the call standing up in front of a mirror to project your smiling, confident image over the phone line to convince the chief you’re the right fit for the badge.

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

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


  4. #4
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    HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    New Jersey


    GREAT!!! not all of us live locally. if I wanted to interview for a department in the middle of nowhere, or on the west coast, I would hate to fly over, either rent a hotel room or go straight to the interview, spend 1-2 hrs in the interview and then fly home. a phone interview would be much more preferable.

    you are correct, you do lose something by not getting to see body language, but you do allow for a larger pool of applicants, and if a person passes the phone interview, a follow up in person interview can be held, along with the physical exam.

    I wouldn't want to fly for an interview if I only had a 1 in 100 chance of getting hired. but if it was a 1 in 5 chance or so, I would be much more inclined to spend the money for a chance of a dream job.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!


  5. #5
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    JayDudley's Avatar
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    Jan 2006

    Default Saves Time and money

    There have been a few that I have helped who said they've had Backgrounds and orals presented to them by phone. In their case's though they were smaller Departments and were trying to save some money. It does get expensive when they send B.I.'s to god knows where in the U.S.A.
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  6. #6
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    btrotta's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Enfield, CT

    Default phoners

    A phone interview is a courtesy to the applicant, usually only afforded to applicants that are already high up in the pecking order. If you're offered one, be sure your ready for it, because you're likely high on the department's wish list and you can only go down.

    The catch with the phone interview is they're a lot harder than a traditional interview because you get absolutely no feedback in either direction. You can't see if your witty, but relevant anecdote amused or annoyed the panel. Likewise, they can't see you squirm or wince when they bring up a sensitive topic.

    Because of that, you have to work that much harder to project yourself positively to the panel.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2007

    Unhappy Clarification

    I am not the applicant. I am part of the Interview Board as the President of our IAFF Local.

    This has NEVER been done before within our FD; and when pressed for answers I have learned that this is an out-of-state applicant /// and a female applicant.

    Both of which I have no problem with---BUT we have NEVER done this before. I would expect a policy change or update on this to happen quickly for CYA purposes alone.... and have been advised this is a no-win issue and to let it go....

    Tradition. I want to see the applicant squirm. I want to feel the excitement in the room---the energy---the absolute want & desire to be a firefighter. These things are MEASURABLE and necessay.

    These applicants are the finalists of 100+ on the current list pulled from our CPAT source. They have been hand-picked by our Admin and are being given the shot to "interview." This IS NOT a blanket interview of ALL applicants---this is the real deal.

    Is this where the Fire Service is headed?

  8. #8
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    ffbam24's Avatar
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    Jan 2004


    Your last paragraph may have summed it up: "hand-picked by our Admin"

    Is said candidate the ONLY one who is being allowed to interview via phone?

  9. #9
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    Nov 2007


    Yes she is...

  10. #10
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    Mar 2007
    Anaheim Hills, CA


    If you take a telephone interview, isn't easy for a canidate to prepare answers to all the basic firefighter oral board ?'s ahead of time and then just read them off. I mean if the board cant see what your doing it is so easy to hame an outline of the answers to help get a higher score. It's almost like cheating if every canidate does not recieve the same type of interview. If every canidate does recieve a phone interview, then having prepared notes in front of your face to help answer the ?'s is ok. But if even 1 person has to go in person, it gives the phone guys an unfair advantage, because there answers are right in front of them. Of course if you just read them off and make it totally obvious, your out.

    By the way, it is true that only the top canidates or finalists recieve phone interviews. At my work it is the top 3 to 5 canidates. So yes, if you reach the point in the process, your odds are pretty good.


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