Leaving a department can create serious problems in trying to get another fire job.
Dear Captain Bob, I am relatively new to the testing process, and I have a question about how to properly answer a question about a previous employer without going into a long, detailed story. The question relates to this: 4 years ago, I was employed at the fire department in a small city. During my employment, the Chief made several actions of a questionable nature. This ended up leading to several personnel being offered a choice of resignation or termination. As soon as the allegations and investigations started, I resigned and saved myself the embarrassment of becoming a headline. My question is, what could I say as a short, valid reason for leaving? Any help that you could give me on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Mike
"Captain Bob's" reply:
You would never bring this up in an interview unless they did. If they did, your answer above is short and to the point. It happened to many people, not just you.
Leaving another department or job for whatever reason puts you on the defense in an interview. You want to keep your answer as short as possible. Your answer could say more about you than the situation. Use K.I.S.S. (keep it simple sweetie). A simple logical answer, that would cause the raters to think, "Yea, that's reasonable", is all that is needed.
Hope this helps.
This from Mike:
Dear Captain Bob, I just wanted to say thanks a million! I went with this answer during an interview last week with a small department, and got the job! I've done several interviews in the past, and gave the whole story of what happened and always ended up on the list, but not hired. Now I've got a badge and paycheck, and can't thank you enough!! Thanks Again, Mike ---
You're right, absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
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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.
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