I marvel at how many candidates put so much into acquiring great credentials and yet can't present them at the oral board. Then they wonder why they down get high enough on the list to get hired.
Here is a simple oral board question that stumps most candidates: Why do you want to be a firefighter?
If you answered this question with it's public service, I like to help others, it's different every day, not behind a desk, giving back to the community, I'm a people person,or team player, etc., those are "Clone" answers. "Clone" answers will dome your oral board.
How long do you think you have to present yourself to the oral board before you put them to sleep? 32 seconds. That's right! If you open with a clone answer you will see the glaze come over the boards eyes like a deer caught in the headlights or a child in front of a TV. They will go away and not come back. You have just scored yourself. Believe me. I've been on over 175 oral boards.
If you opened with a personalized story (your signature story) about you that the board has never heard, you grab their attention in that first 32 seconds and it's Show Time!
I was coaching a candidate one day and he was giving me those clone answers why he wanted to be a firefighter. I stopped him and had him rewind the video tape of his life to where he first got the spark to be a firefighter. He said, "Oh, I'm from South America. When I was growing up, we lived with my Grand Father who was the fire Chief of the city. I got to go with him and be exposed to the who department."
I asked if he had ever told that story in any of his oral board interviews? He said, "No". Why not? I will bet you big money you are a clone candidate right now. But, I bet you also have some personal signature stories that could instantly change your interview scores.
Practice those stories, condense them down to a minute or less. Don't go on a journey. The oral board is not packed for the trip. Once you answer an oral board with a signature story, you can marry the rest of your answer with those clone answers you have been using. Try it an see the amazing difference.
You won't have time and it's not appropriate to use a signature story for every answer. Tell the story, make the point.
Here's a testimony of another one of the over 1800 candidates who have received a badge from our "Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards" program:
I thought I would drop you a note and let you know that I was hired by a department up here in the Seattle Washington area. I may be going to work in Seattle. I finished their process up earlier this week.
Since receiving some coaching from you I went from 31,9,2,6,3 . I can now say I too have the best job in the world. I been working for about a month now.
If you're having trouble remembering who exactly I am. You coached me when I was in a hotel room waiting to go to oral boards.
Thanks again Cap and If there's anything you may ever need from me don't hesitate to call or write. Thanks again. Fraternally, Jimmy
Nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
Nothing beats getting the badge. Nothing!
Ask "Captain Bob" Any Question
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: http://www.eatstress.com
Top of Page