Creating A Natural Bridge
The Oral Interview:
I marvel at all the postings on this list asking "Has anyone heard from Anaheim, LA City, Band 2, Stockton Agility, ETC." What you need to be asking yourself is what are you doing to make the difference. If you had that answer, you won't be asking questions, you would have already received the letter to go forward in the hiring process.
According to retired Battalion Chief Dennis OSullivan,"The oral interview gets you the job! This is where you putt for dollars. Understand one very important thing here. If Im on your interview panel and your my kind of guy or gal, I will fill in some of the blanks to make up for your short comings. If you start off without establishing this natural bridge and being a know it all ass, I will never fill in any of your short comings. This is human nature."
The Oral Board is for all of the marbles! If you don't know how to establish yourself and the other essential skills needed to score high enough, you might as well not show up. You're dead meat!
What are you actually doing going to an oral board? If you answered: selling yourself, making a good impression, and, yes, don't forget to ask for the job are all good. But, what you're really doing is auditioning for the part to be a firefighter, engineer, inspector or officer. Just like the part in a play. Do you know your lines? Do you know your part.
This testimony proves how fast it can happen:
I just wanted to take the time and thank you for all the help and guidance you have given me in my pursuit for the badge. I recently tested for a really nice department in California. It was the first time in two years that I had actually got invited to an oral interview. I was really nervous, I wanted this department more than anything else in the world. It was my FIRST interview ever.
I didn't know what to do and I wanted to at least score above an 85. So I called you . You talked with me for a bit and you sent me the audio/video tapes. I studied then and followed every instruction to the tee.
The day of the interview came...I was sweating bullets I got there 15 minutes early as soon as I walked into the waiting area they were ready for me. The candidate
before me was a no-show. There was NO time to gather my thoughts, but I had rehearsed my lines just as you said to. I went in said my lines and I was out of there in 6 minutes. I felt like I screwed up big time. It went by so quick I thought for sure I doomed the oral board. (Then I went into the bathroom and got sick) I had written off my chances and went on with my life.
A few weeks later I get a letter and I open it thinking it's one of those "thank you for testing with us" letters.. I just about passed out when I read it. I was ranked # 1 !!!! I could not believe it..I had to call the human resources lady to make sure it wasn't a misprint. Sure enough..... she confirmed that I had scored very high on my oral and I was the number one candidate and congratulated me. Now I'm moving on in the process and am getting my shot at "the badge" . Thank you for all your help. It was your guidance that got me here and I won't forget it.
Although we're not going to mention the department here, it's one that has had many postings on how tough the physical agility was. Got it? Jeff is still in shock. Not bad for his first oral he?
Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
Fire "Captain Bob" Smith has coached countless entry level and promotional candidates to get their badge. He is a retired 28-year Hayward, Ca. Captain, speaker/author of the audio/video program "Conquer the Job Interview," the book "Fire Up Your Communication Skills" ISBN 09657620-6-8 and a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association. You can book him as a speaker or get a copy of his books and tapes by calling toll free at 888-238-3959.