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Mock Orals

Question:

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in mock orals with one of my instructors who happens to be really great when it comes down to interviewing. In our class that comprises mostly of people starting fire tech classes, nobody did very well. It was a great lesson about how we need to start preparing and getting to familiarize ourselves with the testing process. However, 2 guys who were friends with our instructor, participated in our mock orals, and put the rest of us to shame. ( they obviously have spent countless hours practicing orals with our instructor)

They really knew their stuff, and not having any oral experience myself, I was very impressed, along with the rest of my class. My question is that these guys were so well rehearsed and knew each question and answers like the back of their hand, they sounded like actors in a play - anybody could tell that everything down to expressions, and hand motions had been practiced over and over to perfection, is this what interviewers want when they interview you? Do they really want to see rehearsed answers? Don't get me wrong, the answers were very good, but seemed so artificial. If anyone could let me know if it's better to answer questions to the best of your knowledge, or just to memorize good answers. Thanks, any input would be great

Reply:

What you saw was a perfect example of turning candidates into "Clones". It's impressive at first. But if you felt is was too rehearsed, so will the oral board panel. When you see it over and over again it gets old and puts the panel into a daze. We could tell who the instructors were on many of the clone candidates by the second question. This will stick out in an interview. One thing about clone candidates; they will end up with a score that will put them in the clone pack.

One of our officers was going to be on a panel for our department. He had been shooting his mouth off that he could tell which candidates were mine. After the interviews, he was telling us about this great candidate who nailed his interview and came out number one. I asked him if he thought the guy had been coached? He said he was so good using his own stuff he couldn't have been.

When I told him this was one of my candidates, he screamed . . . NO WAY! Yep, he's one of our guys. Not only that, this guy had been testing for over 3 years. He scored 532 on his last test in Stockton. He came to us three weeks before his oral with our department. He had great stuff, but didn't know how to present it.

The toughest thing for candidates to do is be themselves on purpose. Not a clone of someone else.

The proof is in the badge, and, as you already know . . .

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

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

"Captain Bob"

Ask "Captain Bob" Any Question

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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

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