Anyone have experience with phone interviews? Can I expect
the same type of interview as a face to face oral board? This is with the
Chiefs Oral by phone:
Phone interviews are becoming more common. It could be to cull the heard for a
final in person interview.
Deactivate your call waiting beep. Remove pets and any other distractions.
Don’t use a cel or speaker phone. If you can, use a hands free head-set. Wear a
suit. Yes, wear a suit for a phone interview.
Take the call standing up in front of a mirror to project
your smiling, confident image over the phone line to convince the chief you’re
the right fit for the badge.
Even though this is for all of the marbles, don't panic now!
Question for Captain Bob,
I have read your helpful postings for a longtime, but this is the first time
that I am calling you. I am very excited, and very nervous at the same time. You
see, I just got the phone call for a Chief's oral.
Just when I was starting to get familiar with the regular oral interview, it is
now time to learn something new!
They only gave me a day to prepare. (It is on Thursday) Do you have any pieces
of information that might help me? Will the structure be the same?
Should I be studying anything? The city? The organization? IFSTA? Or is this
more of a get to know you type of interview? to see how you will fit in.
Any advice you might have will help. Thanks for your efforts in helping make
people's dreams come true! Sincerely, Jeff
Many candidates start to panic when they are notified that they are going to a
chief's. They think they have to reinvent themselves. Reinvent the wheel. WHOOAA!
Understand what got you there. You are only going to the chiefs oral because of
the great stuff you already used in the first oral. You're riding the winning
pony. Don't switch ponies. You're coming around the club house turn, you shoot
out from the back of the pack, go to the whip, you're on the winning pony,
you're friends and family are on their feet in the stands cheering you on and
you ride her home for the badge.
Too many candidates switch ponies because "they said". I've never been able to
find out who "they" are. If you do not continue to use the good stuff that got
you this far, you could drop out of the race. This is a new arena. Candidates
who are going to the chief’s interview, start talking to their friends. They
convince that they need to do something more. By the time of the interview,
they're a wreck. It's not them going into the interview. A clone of someone
else. The badges are often given to other candidates.
The chiefs interview is open to any types of questioning. They are really trying
to find out more about you. How you're going to be as a firefighter for the next
25+ years. Do you fit their culture? We like to hire candidates that are them
selves on purpose in the interview. Someone who has a personality and
conversational. Are you that person in an interview?
Stan was going to our departments chiefs oral. He made an appointment to come by
our station. While there, he asked what more he could do to make it over the
top. I told him he was riding the winning pony and not to switch during the home
stretch. Three months later I was down at the training center where they were
training new recruits. I saw a familiar face. I said, "Stan is that you?" He
said, "Yes, I rode that winning pony all the way in!"
Saddle up and ride to glory.
This might help further:
What can you expect in a Chief's Oral?
Chief's Orals will vary widely depending on the style of the Fire Chief and the
department. However, here are some suggestions:
1. Get to know about the Department and the Chief before the interview. What are
some of the core values of the organization? What are some of the key issues or
projects that the department is involved with? Some Chief's like that you took
the time to know a little about what the department is all about? However, if
the topic comes up...be genuine...don't B.S.!
2. The Chief's interview is often casual in that there are not necessarily a
specific set of fixed questions like on the more formal oral board. The Chief
may ask about anything that is on your resume or follow up questions in response
to your comments. Casual does not mean that you don't wear professional business
3. One thing is certain, this is the Chief's brief opportunity to get to know
you. I cannot speak for all Fire Chiefs, but I tend to use this opportunity to
look for examples in your experiences that demonstrate maturity, stability,
responsibility, judgement, compassion, work ethic and other characteristics that
I believe are important to be a successful firefighter.
By the time you reach the Chief's interview, you probably have already been
through the written, PPT, and oral board(s). In those portions of the testing
you probably have demonstrated your memory, reading comprehension skills,
mechanical aptitude, basic math, physical ability, ability to work others as
part of a team, understanding of firehouse etiquette, communication skills, and
likely have addressed some honesty/integrity scenario.
4. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself in terms that demonstrate the
qualities mentioned above. Give specific examples.
5. Stay on track with the point you are trying to make. Don't get lost and
wander off into irrelevant areas. You'll miss your point, which may also cause
you to become more nervous than you already might be. Listen closely to the
questions and be responsive to them.
6. Finally, try to be relaxed and conversational in your manner. Be confident,
but not cocky. Make good eye contact. Try to be natural...be yourself...that is
who the Chief wants to get to know!
I hope this helps. Good Luck!
Palo Alto, CA
Get an exclusive information rich FREE e-mail FireZine Newsletter by clicking
Because, Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
You can get more than 300 pages of
free testing information here
Remember, absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the
Get a Bonus when you
sign up for our