Just keep it Simple
Question for Captain Bob,
I will soon be testing in my first recruitment. I would like to ask you one of the
sample questions from this departments' oral boards that they passed out to help us
prepare for the test.
"You are a firefighter at Station One. You go out to eat at a malt shop with your
fellow firefighters and when you go to pay the bill, the malt shop owner offers a 50%
discount off the total price. Another customer in the malt shop overhears this and states,
"It must be nice to receive half price!
Why should you guys get such a deal?" How would you approach this situation and
what would you expect to accomplish by using this approach?"
My answer to this would be "Since these are the very people that I am employed to
serve I would treat this as a delicate matter. I understand fully why this customer is
upset and would do my best to keep him happy, I would even go as far paying his bill. By
this action I would hope to at the very least improve his image of civil servants."
What do you think, Captain Bob? Am I way off, or somewhere in the ball park?
Any insight that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Captain Bob's reply:
Like most candidates you're putting too much into the question and answer. Often
candidates complicate and over analyze the question until they get analysis paralysis.
They ask anyone that will stand still long enough what they think. They end up with
answers like yours. You end up sounding like canned "Clone"; concentrating more
on what the citizen thinks than the answer you need to give.
Although I don't like giving direct answers to questions, this is a short and simple
one. Use K.I.S.S. (keep it simple sweetie).
Consider this: Just keep it simple. Don't accept the offer. Forget the part about
paying the other persons bill. If the board wants to pursuit it, be the broken record with
"I wouldn't accept the offer." The board will be onto the next question.
It proves that again that, "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . .
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.