Why Do You Want to be a Firefighter?
Why Do You Want to be a Firefighter?
This is one of the toughest questions to answer without sounding like a Clone.
I have thought long and hard about the answer to “why do you want to be a
firefighter”. I'm having a tough time putting it into words. My biggest desire
to be a firefighter is because I love the way the department functions first as
a family, then as a job.
I've had way too many jobs that were just corporate ladder climbers and
backstabbers. Do you think if I push the “family” aspect will I get max points
for that question?
Reply: This is a “Clone” answer. It will doom your oral board. Try to think of
what really sparked your interest to be a firefighter. Come up with those
signature stories. Once you have the board hooked into listening to you, you can
use those other “Clone” answers to caboose your answer.
By the way, I would never use, “I've had way too many jobs that were just
corporate ladder climbers and backstabbers”, as part of your answer. It might
give a bad impression of you to the oral board.
I asked a candidate, who was testing for Oakland, during coaching one day why he
wanted to be a firefighter. He gave me the typical “Clone” answer, “It's giving
back to the community, public service, helping other's, blah, blah, zzzzzzzzzzzz.”
I stopped him and asked, “What really got you interested in being a
firefighter?” He said, “Oh, well I grew up in Oakland, but moved to Shasta
during high school. After graduation I went to hotel management school in Reno.
That didn't work out, so I moved back to Oakland and started going to Chabot
College. I met an old friend who was in the fire science program. We ended up
over at his house. His father was a Captain for Oakland. They got me all fired
up, I signed up in fire science, got my firefighter 1, became a medic and I'm
currently a federal firefighter.”
I just sat there amazed. I asked him if he had ever used this (his signature)
story before? He said no. You gave me the “Clone” answer and you had this beauty
sitting here? He polished up the story and practiced it with a tape recorder. He
works proudly for the City of Alameda.
Another candidate remembered he had the Gage and Desoto dish and cup set from
the TV series Emergency. His mom had a picture of him in front of the TV as a
kid eating off it when the show came on. He took that picture to his orals. Did
it work? He works for San Jose Fire.
After a written test I asked a group of six candidates why they wanted to be
firefighters. They were amazed that what they thought was unique was only a
“Clone”. After I worked with one in the group with his signature story of why he
wanted to be a firefighter, the rest of the group used the formula to put
together their own too.
I have yet to find a candidate who doesn't have signature stories. The problem
is they don't know how to use them. You might not know yours today. But, after
reading this, you will have some aha's in the next few days.
New: It's here. We're excited to announce that now you can listen to segments
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Because, Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
Ask "Captain Bob" Any
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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.
E-mail: email@example.com Web site: http://www.eatstress.com