On the day before Thanksgiving, Nick forwarded an e-mail to me that was inviting him and several other candidates to meet the Chief’s the following week. He didn’t know what to expect. Minutes later, I was talking to Nick. I told Nick that in our experience, this meeting was going to include a job offer conditional on passing the medical. It was exciting news. This was an emotional time. Not only did Nick get this e-mail on his birthday, but he was driving home for Thanksgiving the next day. That very next week, Nick was with the other candidates in [...]
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So far Bob Smith has created 15 blog entries.
Sometimes, you will hear folks talk about how easy it was in the '70s to get hired as a firefighter. Back then, people got hired right off the street. There was no test. It was just a handshake. You see, fire departments in the late '60s and early '70s earned incentives for hiring guys coming back from Vietnam. Those guys now have 30 years in service, and they are ready to retire. They are prepared to pass the torch. Here is the reality. There isn't a department in any state that isn't looking at several firefighters who will take advantage [...]
So – you have wanted to be a firefighter for as long as you can remember. You want it so bad you can taste it. But here is the hard cold truth - If you can’t answer yes to the following questions, you will never – and, we mean never, see a badge! Before we get started, ask yourself these questions: Are you taking every test you can? Are you passing the written? Are you passing the physical ability? Are you preparing for your oral interview? Are you passing the oral? Are you getting conditional job offers? Are you passing [...]
First Time Out We get it. It's your first time taking the test. You're nervous. What can you do to give yourself an edge? And, you are wondering if anyone out there has been hired on their first try? The answer is, YES. Here is a look at Steve's first time out..... A very excited candidate recently called me with a great story. At age 23, Steve decided he wanted to be a firefighter. He had no education or experience. Where should he start? A couple of firefighters told him to be able to test at many agencies he would [...]
Didn't Get By To Pick It Up I was invited to a career day for a paramedic college a couple of weeks ago. Several fire departments and ambulance companies were represented. A group of aspiring candidates was standing around my table, asking questions. One candidate said he had just taken oral boards in Oakland and CoCo County. With our video playing on a VCR monitor in the background, I asked him if he had used our Entry Level Program to prepare. He said, "No, but my buddy used it to get hired and offered it to me. I didn't get [...]
Wind Chimes Have you ever listened to wind chimes? One hangs in our back yard. It contains 6 chimes. When there is not much breeze, only one chime is heard. It's a constant monotone gong, gong, gong, gong. When the wind changes direction ever so slightly, all-6 chimes begin to play a melody. It would take a short time as an oral board rater to hear the same constant drone when too many candidates are using a flat monotone voice. It sounds like they were giving a patient assessment, sounding like the gong, gong, gong, blah, blah, blah of the [...]
The Root of the Question A candidate was asked, "What have you done to prepare for this interview?" He thought for a moment. I asked him what he thought the question was really asking. It was clear he believed this question had to do with the interview and not the bigger picture. When he left the interview, he immediately remembered one of the 30 possible oral board questions. "What have you done to prepare for this position?" Later, he asked me if he had answered a question correctly. Truth is, he hmm and haw'd through his answer but didn't get [...]
Tell Us About A Time....... The testing process remains the same for fire and law enforcement and will continue to include an oral interview. The things they are looking for within this process are changing slightly. They are looking more at the personality of the applicant than the resume and credentials. The thinking is that if we are going to train the new hire to do things our way, we want to look more at the person. If we hire a very qualified person with a difficult personality, then we get 25-30 years of trouble for the department. Honestly, my [...]
While in Washington DC with our 13 and 15-year-old grandsons, I read a topic on one of the firefighter bulletin boards. A candidate, named Mike, was asking a scenario question about a firefighter who showed up for a shift and had been drinking. What do you do? I thought Mike received some bad advice on how to answer the question. Right away, I emailed Mike to call me. He told me he was from NJ, had taken 5 tests, was spinning his wheels. He said to me that in two weeks, he would be heading to South Carolina with his [...]
I had a candidate tell me he went to an interview wearing a tie, suspenders and no jacket. I asked him, "Who did you think you are Larry King?" I asked him if they called him back for a chief's interview? No. The defense rests. McFly? The strongest non-verbal statement you can make in the oral board is what you wear. It is time to step up and make the investment. Men: Do wear a wool suit in dark blue or gray. Pinstripes are fine, but avoid brown, black, or high fashion brightly colored suits. Sport coats or blazers are [...]