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February 15, 2008
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following are some tips from a recent oral board rater:
I know that members of much
greater intelligence than I have covered this in the past, but after spending
the last week doing interviews, I thought I would pass on some good, and some
bad of oral interviews.
1) While telling you not to be nervous will probably make you more nervous, keep
in mind that the panel WANTS you to do well. We are looking for bright, young
superstars for our agency.... and we want it to be you. It actually hurts us
more to watch a candidate auger in front of our eyes.
2) Guys, wear a dark suit..... blue, black, and gray work. Gumby green doesn't.
Wear black shoes shined. If you wear brown, the panel will talk about you all
3) Do wear a tie, a nice tie, and one that your significant other picked out. Do
not wear one with cute designs of palm trees or golfers. With that tie make sure
your top button is buttoned. To tight?, get a bigger shirt before the interview.
4) Ladies, wear formal business attire. I don't know what that is, but the
female evaluator sitting next to me does, and she will immediately tell me what
it is, and what it isn't.
5) If you show up in jeans and t-shirt, don't throw in the towel. You screwed up
big but you might be able to dazzle us with your knowledge, skills, and
6) Don't answer questions with "I'm anal" or similar. While being anal is not a
bad thing, being unable to phrase it in an acceptable way is.
7) Don't try to make yourself look good by throwing your current co-workers
under the bus. The self-preservation mechanism kicks in and I don't want you to
bring that attitude to our doorstep.
8) Do show a little self-awareness. Know that we may actually want to know
something about how you tick inside. Nothing too deep, but how you react to
difficult situations, both personally and professionally. Know this about
yourself before you walk into the room.
9) Don't call me by my first name, even if you know me, and especially if you
don't. It won't be appropriate as a recruit, so don't do it now. If you don't
know my rank a simple "sir" will do.
10) If you're given time at the end, sell yourself. Keep it simple, but leave me
with the feeling that you're the one. Have something...there is a strange,
awkward feeling when we ask if you have anything you would like to add, and you
say, "Nope." And make sure you thank the board, not for just the opportunity to
interview, but for the fact that they have put their normal busy schedule aside
to meet with you.
11) Finally, whatever happened to good old department research? The first one or
two people stating they researched the agency on the web were ok. The 10th
person saying it made us wonder about what they really knew...the 20th indicated
that maybe it was a problem. Web pages are ok, but are frequently incorrect or
outdated. Do some real legwork to learn about that place you "Really want to
I hope this is not too redundant with all the other info that's out there. There
is some incredible talent out there, and we're looking for it.
More Oral Board tools here:
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Publishing. Fire Captain Bob Smith, Speaker, Author, Publisher
Information Products on How to Get a Badge.
http://www.eatstress.com Over 300 pages of helpful
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