I'm not a good speller. You might find some misspelled words in this or my other postings. Nevertheless, I have authored more than 80 articles for major national fire magazines. Been a frequent talk show guest (completing over 300 media interviews, including the Barbara Walters Show “The View”), featured in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, listed in Who’s Who in Professional Speaking, and author of the books “Eat Stress For Breakfast” and “Fire Up Your Communication Skills” which have been translated in 21 countries including South Korea, Latin America and China.
When I hit spell check on my computer, smoke comes out.
I receive e-mails from entry level, and yes, promotional candidates with spelling and grammar errors all the time. Guess what? I also receive their testimonies when they get the call to be hired. They hire candidates all the time with spelling, grammar and other shortcomings.
I don't know of any candidate who was denied a job because of their spelling or grammar. I know some who have used it to their advantage in their answering the question "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
The "Nugget" here is to have a weakness that you have done something about. For a weakness they can say, "I haven't been a good speller. But, I started carrying around this pocket size (as they remove it from their shirt pocket) spelling book and use spell check on the computer to help me improve. Many of the raters on the panel can relate and accept this answer to satisfy the question.
A "Nugget" is an answer to an oral board question that will get you the top possible score on that question, satisfy the oral board and cause them to go onto the next question. That answer, along with the spelling book prop does exactly that!
It's better than this e-mail request on what I thought was a good answer for a weakness and my reply from a recent candidate (by the way, notice the misspelled words):
Weaknesses--my self standard, of being organized and having to realize that > everyone my not be as organized as I am, or don't care to be. --I know this my sound like I am anile, that's why I am wondering on this one.
Captain Bob's Reply:
Bad answer. Oh, yea, we want to put someone in a station who has higher standards than everyone else. This will drive everyone nuts.
Check the Strengths and Weakness section inthe FREE "101 inside secrets how to get a badge" off the job page of our web site.
Instead of spending valuable time with remedial classes on spelling, these candidates are probably too busy putting into place the necessary ingredients to get a fire job. I know this drives the "spelling police" nuts. Too many anal folks are focusing on their (there) (they're) spelling or grammar instead of answering their questions in a positive way that will keep them motived.
These same anal folks will have a tougher time getting through the psychological interview than those that aren't as good at spelling.
"Stop looking in the magnifying glass at others' . . . and start looking in the mirror at yourself."
Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
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.