Cutting edge interview skills to get that badge from Fire Captain Bob.
More than 1,943 candidates have received their badge from this program!
March 26, 2001.  Copyright Code 3 Publishing 2001
captbob@verio.com  web site:  www.eatstress.com  888-238-3959
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             IN THIS ISSUE

1. Quick Presentation Skills Tip

2.  Entry Level Skills Tip  

3.  Promotional Level Skills Tip
     (Entry level should read this too)

4.  Who Nailed Badges?

5.. Humor

6. Useful Websites

1.      Quick Presentation Skills Tip

What posture is acceptable in an oral?  I often receive
questions like this one:

Is it o.k. to use your hands when in the oral board?
I have taken public speaking classes in high school and
college and have learned to use my hands to help emphasis
points, etc. I feel pretty comfortable using my hands to
explain myself, my question is will it hurt me in the
oral board. Chris


Yes it's O.K. to use your hands.  A Stanford University
study showed that getting a job is 15% knowledge and 85%
percent enthusiasm!  How can you be enthusiastic
if you're a frozen statue in the chair?  It can't
be done.  If you can light yourself on fire
with enthusiasm and bring the excitement, emotional,
the magic of the actual event in
a story, the oral board with stand up, applaud and
watch you burn.

I have candidates tell me, well, they said you can't
use your hands.  Sit on your hands if you have to. 
I always ask, "Who are they?  Where is that written?" 
I've never been able to find out who they are, or
where that is written.

It's perfectly acceptable to use your hands.  If you
are already using them, you will cause problems trying
to stop.  You will start concentrating on stopping
and that will throw off your timing, concentration and
presentation.  A good rule of thumb is the keep your
hands and arms in the confines of your body.

When I play back a video for review during private
coaching sessions, many candidates go to a different
posture.  Some even lean forward with placingtheir
elbows on their knees.  I look for this different
posture. I will ask if that position is more
comfortable?  If so, I encourage them to use it. 
It makes for a better personalized delivery in the oral.

I've had candidates in an oral move the chair right
up to the table and place their elbows on the table. 
After a candidate did that in an oral, one of our
rater's commented, "Did you see how he took it right
to us!"  He got top
scores.  It was this candidates style and personality. 
He was able to pull it off.  You might not.  It can
be risky.  If you're going to try it, first ask the
raters if you can move the chair.

Also, when you're that close to the interviewers you
have to use the owl affect to talk to the raters. 
That means you have to turn your head way to the
extreme right and left to make contact and answer
the raters questions.  This can also violate the
raters healthy boundaries and make them feel

Sitting in a comfortable boundary for yourself and
the raters is critical.  A healthy boundary is where
others end and you begin. 

As each candidate enters the room at an oral board,
they have a tendency to pull the chair back a little
 as they sit down. 

After several candidates cycle through an interview
room the chair can end up further away from the
interview table than you want.  If so, ask first,
and place it where you would feel most comfortable
to make your delivery.

I hope this helps.

Do you have any questions that I can answer?  I am
just an e-mail or toll-free call away 24 hours a day. 
Please do not wait until you are in the oral to try
and figure this out; thinking some kind of magic will
take place.  It does not.
Luck is usually given to the prepared!

2.      Entry Level Skills Tip 
I've been on over 100 oral boards.  I've never encountered a time when we
didn't have enough copies of applications or resumes for the raters.

It is your responsibility to update your application, resume and any certifications
before the interview.  Get them to personnel to be placed in your file before the
interview. Don't fax It. Make the appropriate copies and hand deliver or
FedEx them.

On the first oral board of an entry level test, there is just not enough time to do
more than read the application (if the city provided it.  Some candidates only
had a number; no app or resume) and the first page of a resume.  This is why
 it is so critical to have just a one page resume.  Write it like they will never go
off the first page.  Save a tree. Don't send us on a treasure hunt with certificates
and letters of recommendation.
Here's how it usually happens.  A candidate leaves the room after their oral. 
The file of the next candidate is opened and distribute the information
between the raters.  We read or just scan the application and resume. 
We might make a comment of an interesting point or credential.  They call
in the candidate.  Time allotted?  About three minutes.

How long do you think you have when you first walk into the oral board
room to hook the raters into listening to your stuff? . . . 32 Seconds.  That's
right. They call this the "Halo" effected.  During this first 32 seconds, they are
checking out what you're wearing (the strongest nonverbal statement you can
 make), eye contact, choice of words, expression and inflection.

Trying to distribute material when a candidate first walks into the room interferes
 with the normal flow in this critical first 32 seconds and can get the candidate off
on the wrong foot.  I've seen this happen to candidates who have tried to give us
stuff thinking they were unique, someone told them it was the thing to do to make
 an impression, or just being cute.  When it fails, it can psyche out, throw off their
timing and confidence. You don't have a second chance to make a first impression. 
We might be a courtesy look at the resume, but we never read it.  We wait until the
candidates leaves the room and we place it back in their file unread.

Testimony from Allan:

Well I'm sorry to say that at 37 years old I thought I knew
how to put together a resume. I sent an email to Capt. Bob with a simple
question, he asked me to fax over the resume for his review. OUCH, man
did that hurt!! It came back with all kinds of "who cares" and scribble
marks all over it.
Well you know what? I have never had a resume look so
good in my life and with two pages and years of classes, I
thought there was no way it could be one page. Boy do I
still have a lot to learn! I advise you to give Capt. Bob a
chance to look at your resume too, you might just be surprised
by what you see.

 3.     Promotional Level Skills Tip 
Bob, I am already in the hiring process with my "Dream" dept. I do however wish I had seen your article in Firehouse a couple of months ago !!  The last interview I had was in my current dept. for a captains position & they interviewed 23 people & took 2, I was # 3.. I will be ordering your packet/system after payday (the 1st).

I did want to get your opinion on a couple of my answers.

Q: The question "Describe a stressful situation that you were involved in, how it changed in levels, what you did, how you handled it & what you would do different today ?" I related a story about when I worked as a correctional officer in a state prison & was assinged as a tower guard with a gun. "There was a riot on the yard, 250 inmates fighting, staff responding, faced with the decision to shoot or not to shoot. Then I put in what I feel was the kicker... In our job as firefighters, we don't think twice about saving a life, it is what we do, but when you are faced with the decision to take a life or not... if that is not stress, then I don't know what is, but the beauty of the situation is that at the end of the day, all of the people that are supposed to go home go to their families & the ones that are supposed to be in their cells are, that is true job satisfaction.".. Opinions ?

Captain Bobs Reply:

A: I personally would not use a cop story in answering a firefighter promotional interview question.  They were looking for a simple answer.  You got too heavy.  Were not cops.

Q: The second one I want to ask you about was one I had for another interview where they asked me about "How would you feel about taking orders from & working for a woman ? I answered with "I was in the military for 8 years & had females assinged in positions of authority over me & had no problems with it. Also, in the prison system there are females that are also in positions of authority there, but the situation that best attributes my ability to handle that situation is the fact that I have been married for 11 years & have no problem taking orders from a woman in any situation."

A: Any time you answer this type of working for a woman question with "no problems with it", somehow relays there could be a problem with it.  And you continued with ", but the situation that best attributes my ability to handle that situation is the fact that I have been married for 11 years & have no problem taking orders from a woman in any situation."  Please spare me this part.  This certainly doesn't convince me or the panel that you have it together to take orders from a woman.    A simple answer would have been "I see no difference."  If they ask for more, just be the broken record repeating only what you  first said.   Anything more would just be opening a can of worms you will never be able to close.

I get the impression from just these two questions you're the type of candidate who feels they need to give the panel so much information so there is not doubt in your mind they understand you.  It's this type of intellectual mental masturbation that drives us crazy on the panel.  You try to give us a blue print, when we just need a sketch.   You want to give us a dump truck, when we only need a trailer.  You try to build us a watch, when we only need the time. Is this you?

This came back:

Thanks, I guess that is why I was 3 instead of 1 or 2. Thanks for your honesty & frankness.  So often people tell you niceties rather than reality.  I appreciate it!  Looking forward to learning more from you!Thanks for your help !!  A. I want to see you get the badge!  Let me know if I can help you further.

The following was written on a speaker evaluation form after Fire Captain Bobs Conquer the Promotional Interview presentation at the 2001 Fire Rescue West Convention in San Jose:

Captain Bob moved like a TV evangelist!

 4.  Who Nailed Badges? =====================================================

Capt. Bob,  My name is Allan Marshall. We have never met
or spoken on the phone  but I felt the need to express
to you my thanks. Several months ago a friend  of mine
and I split the cost on your "Conquer the Job Interview
Tapes." My  friend, George Martinez, and I had been doing
fairly well in the job process.  We both were making it
to the interview phase but we weren't scoring high  enough
to move on. That's when we heard about you. We decided to
give your  service a try and we couldn't believe what we
heard. All of our answers were  clone answers that we had
been taught in the fire academy!

With the help of  your tapes we were able to personalize
our answers and right away there was a difference.  George
got a job with the Sacramento Metro Fire Dept. As for
myself,  I got the call from the department I had hoped
for all along the Santa  Barbara City Fire Dept. My academy
starts March 12th. Your tapes and the  psych report helped
both of us a great deal. Thank You!!!! Keep up the great work. Sincerely,Allan Marshall

Hi Captain Bob-

Just wanted to let you know that I recently got the badge
and could not have done it without your help.  I am in week
two of my 5 week academy and am absolutely loving it. Every
day I practically have to pinch myself to be sure it is real.

I used to go into the oral boards trying to wing it.  It took
me 3 years to figure out that was not working.  Then, I bought
 your tapes. They were worth every penny.  My scores instantly
shot up and I get chiefs orals on every test I took.  I also
bought your psychological exam packet and used every bit of info
on your web site.  Just wanted to let you know that you
were a tremendous help to me an I thank you for all of
the info you made available to me.

Thank you, Scott


 5.     Humor


Subject: Darwin Award Nominees

 * Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport
hotel after he tried to pass two counterfeit $16 bills.

 * A man in Johannesburg, South Africa, shot his 49-year-old friend in the
 face, seriously wounding him, while the two practiced shooting beer cans
of each other's head.

* A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record showed
its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety goggles on the job.
According to Industrial Machinery News, the film's depiction of gory
industrial accidents was so graphic that twenty-five workers suffered
minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others
fainted, and one man required seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a
chair while watching the film.

* The Chico, California, City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons,
setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within city limits.

* A bus carrying five passengers was hit by a car in St. Louis, but by the
time police arrived on the scene, fourteen pedestrians had boarded the bus
and had begun to complain of whiplash injuries and back pain.

* A convict broke out of jail in Washington, DC, then a few days later
accompanied his girlfriend to her trial for robbery. At lunch, he went out
for a sandwich. She needed to see him, and thus had him paged. Police
officers recognized his name and arrested him as he returned to the
courthouse in a car he had stolen over the lunch hour.

* A Los Angeles man who later said he was "tired of walking," stole a
steamroller and lead police on a 5 mph chase until an officer stepped
aboard and brought the vehicle to a stop.

 6. Useful Websites for Candidates


Perfect Firefighter Candidate.  Job listing and a
complete resource web site with a community bulletin board.  

Don McNea Fire School, Inc. is the #1 Firefighter
Preparatory Entrance School in the Country.  They
have the inside information how to tackle those
psychological and personality questions on the

Learn how entry level and promotional candidates are
improving their interview scores up to 15 points and
nailing that badge!
www.eatstress.com/newpage 2.htm

FREE 101 Inside Secrets How to Get a Badge!


I have many articles available for reprint in your
publication, newsletter, etc. You may use
articles written by me that you see in Fire-Zine or
go to our web site @ http://www.eatstress.com/faq.htm
All you have to do is print the article in its entirety along
with the by line, the credits, and complete contact
information found at the bottom of the web site page. I would
appreciate a tear sheet or electronic copy too. Thanks


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. . . Absolutely Nothing!


Code 3 Publishing.  Fire Captain Bob Smith, Speaker, Author, Publisher
Information Products on How to Get a Badge.
Web site:  http://www.eatstress.com  Over 300 pages of helpful information.
5565 Black Ave. Pleasanton   94566 (near San Francisco)
Phone: 888-238-3959  local 925-846-3959 Fax: 925-846-9650
 E-mail Mailto:captbob@verio.com