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Food Fight

Here is a sample oral board question used in a recent entry level oral board:

You're a new firefighter. At dinner, the crew starts a food fight. Would you participate?

One candidate, who was a captain trying to get on a larger department said, "I would tell them it was against the rules and to stop."

Another candidate said, "If I was opposed to it as the question states I would simply leave the room (probably a good idea, because you don't have enough time to be in the food fight). Then they asked me what would I do if they asked me to clean it up. I said, "I would tell them that I didn't participate in the activity but would be glad to help them pick up."

Both candidates forgot they were applying for a snotty nose rookie position. This question is asked to see how far you would go to get along with others. In real life it could be one of the first tests in the firehouse. The captain didn't leave his rank in his locker at his current department. He answered the question as a captain, not as a snotty nose rookie. This is tough for someone who is already a firefighter or is an older candidate. He assumed there was a rule against food fights. Never assume; it makes an ass out of you and me. Always ask a question if you're in doubt. He was going to put a stop to it as a new rookie in his first weeks. BIG ERROR.

Our second candidate handled the first part of the question fairly well by leaving the room, but dropped the ball by saying, "I would tell them that I didn't participate in the activity but would be glad to help them pick up."

You're a rookie! You don't have any time. You don't have an opinion! You don't have a life. You would never, ever tell them, "I didn't participate, but would I would help pick up." You do what you're asked or told to do. If you did this in a real life situation, the firefighters would have eaten you alive.

The point here is you're just a snotty nose rookie. Answer all the questions like you would if you were new on the job.

Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!

"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 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.

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