No Preambles – EVER! 

Our Constitution has a preamble. It sets the tone for the body of law that follows. This is like the preface of a book that sets the scene for the story. In one-on-one coaching, many firefighter candidates, either knowingly or unknowingly, do the same thing. Don’t be one of these people!

A firefighter candidate is often asked why they want to be a firefighter. I’ve had people talk for 30 seconds before they begin to answer the question. I’ll hear the following: “I’m glad you asked me that,” or “That’s an excellent question, and I’d love to tell you about my desire to be a firefighter.” I could go on and on. 

Here is the reality. Starting an answer with a preamble doesn’t happen just once. It happens with every response and is a pattern. It’s as if firefighter candidates are talking while they think of what to say. Here is the NUGGET – You never want to have your mouth in drive mode, while your brain is neutral.

Here is what happens. Every firefighter candidate knows they have a certain amount of time. Using some introduction to an answer, the candidate is taking time away from answering the question directly. 

And, the candidate risks losing the attention of the panel. Losing the focus of the panel is a deal-breaker. 

The best thing to do is just answer the question. You remember the acronym, KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie. Right? Let’s put this to work. Keeping your answer direct and straightforward is best. It’s okay to pause a moment, if needed, to gather your thoughts. If needed, you could include part of the question in your answer. For example, “The reason I want to be a firefighter is …”. But, nothing more, keep it simple, sweetie is your new mantra. 

Fire Captain Rob