Shot Gun Effect
Is my answer too long?
Capt. Bob Sir,
I Just completed my oral interview with a big dept. on the 17th. I feel that everything went great. It seems that they asked questions that I specifically studied for. Although I do have to say that I was still very nervous. I had practiced with a tape recorder as you had advised and my script came out great.
I do have one question for you though. I was asked the question of, "What do you know about the City of ------- and their fire dept?" I responded with the type of city they are, the location, major freeways, target hazards, square mileage everything imaginable that someone would need to know about the fire dept. and the city.
As I was giving my answer he looked up at me and gave a look like he did not even want to hear anything more that I had to say. This concerned me. Should I continue with my answer or somehow try and cut it a little short.
You give your answer as planned. Although you can't tell what the board is thinking, if the panel looks puzzled ask them if they want more. They will tell if they have heard enough and you can be onto the next question.
The best way to handle this type of question about the city and department is to use the shot gun effect. Give them a smattering of areas like square miles, population, type of city government, number of stations, engines, trucks, number of personnel and target hazards.
What would you think if you were on a oral panel and the candidate gave you a sample smattering answer? Right, you would think he had done their homework.
You don't want to go endless here. Just a sample smattering. I had a candidate one day tell us so much he got down to the grid water system the city used. Definitely overkill. Another candidate during coaching had a good answer for city information. In the next two weeks before his oral he piled more information onto his answer. He ended up making a long answer endless, finally telling them the number of convention hotel rooms that were available. He committed suicide in his efforts to over impress the panel. Oh, yea, this is the guy we want to put in a station that would drive EVERYONE NUTS!
This mindless, endless, rambling not only hurts your score, it robs valuable time that you could be using to let the panel know the important stuff that could improve your chances to make the final cut. Because as you know:
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.