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"Getting the

job of your

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the lottery!"

 

 

 

 

 

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the badge

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Phone Interviews

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 chief.

Reply:

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

Reply:

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 attire.

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!

Ruben Grijalva
Fire Chief
Palo Alto, CA

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