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Don't let freezing up freeze you out!
all had it happen in a job interview, high school book report,
talking to a girlfriends parents, you freeze up. It's like that dream
where you want to talk but your mouth won't work. But this isn't a
dream, it's real life.
There are two reasons this happens. Nerves of course are the main
reason, you aren't prepared or you've psyched yourself out. The other
reason is vapor lock, or analysis paralysis, you get to thinking and you
just can't reach a conclusion.
The cure for nerves is to be prepared; when you know you're ready you
can even get to the point where you look forward to the interviews. I
know guys that kept testing even after they got their dream job, not
because they wanted the job, but because they got to enjoy themselves.
Practicing with a tape recorder, mock interviews, working with me, and
speaking in front of others are the best way to get rid of the jitters.
If you can't tell your buddies why you want to be a firefighter, how can
you do it when it counts during the oral board?
Analysis paralysis is completely different. You start taking apart the
question like it's an onion, layer by layer. The oral board asks you a
question and they watch you shut down, go on a journey and leave them
behind. Far better for you to talk out your thought process than to just
sit there. You can ask them clarifying questions. After a while anything
is better than silence.
If you plan on saying, oh, I don't know the answer to a question; try to
get a few points out of it first. I know a guy who was asked what NFPA
stood for. Instead of saying I don't know, he looked them straight in
the eye and said, " Well, I could guess, but I'm not sure. But, I can
tell you after I walk out that door I'll find out, and I can guarantee I
will remember it for the rest of my life."
If you do mess up on a question, don't let it mess you up for the rest
of the interview. Everyone else my have made the same mistake, it's how
they overcome it that matters. I was asked to give an oral resume and I
was ready. The only problem was I had a seven-minute presentation, and
they allowed five. I thought I'd just talk fast. It didn't work, I ran
out of time and they stopped me. It threw off my whole game plan. In
front of the same panel, I then had to give a class on the hazardous
materials guide. I knew it backward and forward. But I was off my game.
When I got the results from the assessment center, boy was I surprised.
I had gotten a 94% on the oral resume, and a 76% on the Hazmat book. I
was my own worst enemy. I psyched myself out. Don't let that happen to
you. If you mess up, just move on, take a breath, clear your head and
start over. Good Luck,
CAPTAIN ROB (Thank you)
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