Becoming A Firefighter or Officer-----The Complete Guide to Your Badge! Fire "Captain Bob"
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Coyright 1998 - 2016

 

 

"Getting the

job of your

dreams is

like winning

the lottery!"

 

 

 

 

 

"Nothing

counts 'til

you have

the badge

Nothing!"

 

Anything

less and

you're

still the

bridesmaid.

 

 

 

 

 

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FREE 101 Inside Secrets How to Get A Badge

Psychological Interviews

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There is a wealth of information in past issues of our newsletter here

CPAT Agility

Coaching Entry Level

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FREE 10 day test drive of inside secrets.  Learn more here

Resume Service

Five Nuggets for successful Oral boards

30 sample oral board questions

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New badges from our program

Check out how candidates have improved their position in gaining a badge. What changed?

Whoís Captain Bob?

Robís corner:  Wisdom and insight

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Links to other firefighter web sites

Coyright 1998 -2009

How to Become a Firefigher

Get an Immediate Edge and Bonus when you sign up for our Free Newsletter here

Site Map

Home

Store/Shop

FREE 101 Inside Secrets How to Get A Badge

Got A Question? Call or e-mail us here

LA City Fire Now Testing Monthly Here!

Los Angeles County Fire Testing

Entry Level Firefighter

Entry Level Coaching

Promotional

Law Enforcement Testing

Oral Board Tools

Products

Psychological Interviews

Written Test

There is a wealth of information in past issues of our newsletter here

CPAT Agility

Coaching Entry Level

Coaching Promotional

Shop

FREE 10 day test drive of inside secrets.  Learn more here

Resume Service

Five Nuggets for successful Oral boards

30 sample oral board questions

Bonus Nugget

Affiliate Program

New badges from our program

Check out how candidates have improved their position in gaining a badge. What changed?

Whoís Captain Bob?

Robís corner:  Wisdom and insight

Seminar dates

Links to other firefighter web sites

Coyright 1998 - 2010

 

 

"Getting the

job of your

dreams is

like winning

the lottery!"

 

 

 

 

 

"Nothing

counts 'til

you have

the badge

Nothing!"

 

Anything

less and

you're

still the

bridesmaid.

 

 

 

 

 

Site Map

Got A Question? Call or e-mail us here

Contact Us

LA City Fire Now Testing Monthly Here!

Entry Level Firefighter

Entry Level Coaching

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I couldnít Believe My Ears!

Well it finally happened, after all these years of hearing things firefighter candidates have said in interviews, that some expert has told them was the right thing to do, I hear it first hand.  I was sitting in the office of the fire station were I was working.  The engineerís son had a friend testing for our department and he wanted him to talk to our firefighter, the newest guy on. 

Iím sitting there doing my work, and from the other room I hear him recommend this guy tell the board that he wants to be a firefighter because the pay is good and there are lots of days off.  Now Iím waiting for them to laugh, and tell him theyíre kidding.  It doesnít happen.  The engineer has been on for 26 years, and hasnít had an interview for 19 years.  The new guy was a lateral medic, and didnít have much of an entry interview.  So I can see how this poor guy can be thinking, heís in a fire station for the dept heís testing for, and heís got a guy with many years on, and a guy who was the last one hired. He must be getting the straight scoop.  He was getting the exact opposite.  He had signed up for the ďHow To Fail An Oral Board" class, and he didnít know it.

As I walked into the room, I couldnít let this go, the new guy was telling him that a good weakness to share with the board is that youíre a perfectionist.  Now Iíve worked around perfectionists and itís no walk in the park, they think they donít do anything right, and neither do you.

The candidate was Hispanic, and I asked him if he spoke Spanish.  He told me he spoke a little and could understand a little more. I asked him if that might not be his weakness, that while he spoke some Spanish, it needed improvement.  He bought some language tapes on the way home from the station, so he could demonstrate he was doing something to fix the problem.

Now I find myself arguing with the new guy about what the best response is to why you want to be a firefighter.  His theory was the board really wants to know why you want to be a firefighter.  Trust me on this one, WE DONíT CARE, if you like the hours, pay, and status the job will bring you.  You need to tailor your responses to match what the board is looking for, not what you feel, save that for your girlfriend.  But you can take those things that motivated you to become a firefighter, and make a beautiful response to this question, and then it's your story.

I worked with this same guy, the expert new guy, again the other day.  I mentioned to him that I thought his responses were about the worst I'd heard.  He said, "Yea, I've always been lousy at oral interviews."  I asked him why he was giving advice and he said, "Well, everyone keeps sending people to me because I'm the new guy, so I figured I'd try to help."  I told him he was, if anything hurting their chances, not helping, and he agreed.  

Know this. There are people out there who know their bad, but will still give you advice because you asked.  

In entry- level interviews we are going to ask three types of questions:

1.  Situational questions: to find out how you will handle lying, cheating, stealing, drinking, drug use, and getting along with others.
                                                
2.  Information questions:  What have you done to prepare. What do you know about our department?  These questions have a definite answer, itís like a math question two plus two is always four.  There is a way, on our ratings sheet, for us to indicate you got it right, or you got it wrong.

 3.  Subjective questions:  Why do you want to be a firefighter, what first got you interested, what is customer service, ethnic diversity, your closing statement.  These are not questions that have a right or wrong answer.  We are going to rate you, basically, on if we liked your performance, and if you drew us in.  Itís more like an English exam; your score is based on you getting us to identify with you.

You want to think of the responses to these questions like a military operation.  You want to get in, hit all the targets you can, and then pull right back out.  You don't get any points for just talking, and you run the risk of loosing the board.

Take every opportunity you can get to practice your oral interview skills; you can ever take police tests.  Every time you speak in front of others you will get better, and more comfortable doing it.  But please understand everybody on the fire department is not an expert, some of them donít even know how they got hired, and after listening to them talk I canít figure it out either.

Good Luck, Firefighter Rob
                         Nrtc@sonic.net
                         707 869 1330

Here's more:

Got a call from a candidate last Monday.  He lives in Washington now and his oral was to be on Friday.  He got his FF1 from an academy in So Calif.  He said he hasnít helped much trying to get a job.  He has now been a medic for 8 months with no luck in testing.  In the most pathetic monotone voice he said this is the department he really wants to work for and (with absolutely no enthusiasm) he will be one of the 15 hired.

He asked if he could run one of his answers on what a negative is for him that his firefighter buddies and other friends helped him work out.  Sure, shoot.  Joel said a negative for me is my past.  Even though I got a DUI and some other minor stuff, thatís not who I really am.  

Like FF/Rob said above, I couldnít believe my ears.

Uh, Joel that answer would only open a can of worms that you would never be able to close.  Donít use it.

Joel said, OK how about this one.  Another negative for me is my paramedic skills.  This job will help me improve them.  Again, I couldnít believe my ears.  Yep, thatís the guy we want to hire, the one with the poor medic skills.  Canít use this one either.

Like Rob mentioned above, everyone becomes an expert when they get hired.  The answers Joel worked out with some firefighters and friends were definitely not helping but hurting him.  The bigger problem is he didnít even have a clue.  This was just one answer.  How bad were the others?

I would like to say this was an isolated incident.  Joel is not the only one.  We encounter these bad answers on a regular basis.  It is especially painful in an actual oral board where we see the candidates die a slow dead one question after another.  Then the candidates wonder why they don't get hired. This is an area where we try to help candidates from stepping on the land mines.

After a little probing, we did find a negative Joel could use that he was working on to improve.
Has any what you've read made sense? Would you go on an African safari without a guide?  Then why would you go to an oral interview without a guide to show you where the rocks are so you can make it across the river without being washed away? Haven't you been beat up enough yet?  We would you like to work with you to turn things around?   It's been said that when the student is ready to learn, the teacher appears.  Are you at this point now?  

We can help you where ever you're at in the process.  From the written test, physical agility, resume, oral board, background, psychological, or promotional interview.  We can shorten the learning curve to the closest point between you and the badge.  The proof is in the badge!  To date, we have handed out 2,077 badges in our program. One of the next could be for you.  The ball is in your court.  How are you going to field it?

Then This:

I was speaking at a college fire technology program recently.  The candidates seemed to sluff off their attention when I touched on the psych test.   Yea, yea, yea this does not apply to me was the reaction.  Until they couldnít believe their ears when a candidate said, you had better pay attention to Captain Bob because he is right on target.  He said, ďHey Iím not a bad guy, but I recently took a psych test as the last step in getting hired.  By the time they got done, they made me look like Charles Manson.  There was dead silence and full attention as he revealed his story.

This opened a flood gate of questions that seemed would never end.  Just because you have passed the written, physical, oral, background and medical, please donít get the illusion that you are bullet proof, on a roll, and the psych test is going to be a day at the beach.  Once recent candidateís dad was a captain at the department where his last step was the psych.  He called devastated that he was out of the process.

ďNothing counts Ďtil you have the badge . . . Nothing!Ē

"Captain Bob"

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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 books "Eat Stress For Breakfast" ISBN 09657620-3-3, "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.

E-mail: captbob@verio.com  Web site: www.eatstress.com