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March 15, 2008
Estimated reading time 1-2 minutes.
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I have recently been granted an interview for a fire department and have a couple quick questions for you Thanks Ben:
I have your CD's and the question "What are you bringing to the job?" is this similar to "What have you done to prepare for this position?” should I rhyme off qualifications, and/or education/experience, I'm not sure what the board would be looking for?
Reply: Have you tried practicing with a tape recorder to work it out?
These are different questions. What are you bringing to the job is your education, experience, ability and integrity.
What have you done to prepare:
Try this: Start with your
education and keep it in chronological order. Then your experience in order.
End with those things you can tie your name to. Things where you were part of a
team took something from inception to end or were part of a committee that
established a procedure or skill.
Reply: Yes, who else can tell those stories?
As long as you can present your package at the oral board, age should not be an issue. The problem is many younger candidates don't think they have the life experience needed. First you never tell the board your age.
I gave a presentation at a Fire College. Many students didn't feel they had any experience that would apply to the position. That was until I asked several candidates to tell me about their first and succeeding jobs in life; no matter how menial it seemed. Many had paper routes, mowing lawns and working at Burger King. O.K., what did you learn?
Once the answers started flowing, we heard how they learned to work hard, have responsibility, learn customer service and how to work as a team. Did you participate in sports in school? Were you team captain? Isn't that working as a team? Do any of these areas apply to the fire service? You bet! So any time you can relate your personal life experience in answering an oral board question, you are telling the oral board that you not only know the answer the question, you have already lived it!
When the board asks what you have done to prepare for the position, don't forget to rewind the videotape of your life and create an early trail of how you learned how to work hard, have responsibility, and work as a team.
The biggest part of getting a high enough oral board score that will get you the badge is convincing the oral board you can do the job before you get it. Stories are convincing evidence that you are the match for the badge!
I knew several fire explorers who were too young to test. They would hand out flyers at written tests in exchange for products and coaching. While attending a large city badge ceremony one of the fire scouts got a badge on the first test he was old enough to take. You have never seen a happier rookie firefighter.
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Bottom line getting a badge is all presentation skills!
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