The Unique Oral Board

For many people, job interviews can be tough. Whether a seasoned corporate worker bee looking for something new, or a kid fresh out of school, interviews can be very tricky. This truism applies to applicants working to earn their badge.

Let me explain what I mean.

First and foremost, the corporate interview is very different than the interviews you will experience as you work towards your Firefighter’s badge. And, as a matter of fact, many with loads of interview experience in the corporate world are stunned and baffled that they don’t have high scores on their firefighter interviews.

You see, there is a tick to mastering the Firefighters interview process. Being prepared is vital. After all, you have about 20 minutes to knock the boots of the raters and gain a lifelong career.  Read this email from Fire Recruit Jeff

Captain Bob,

I just received my Oral Board score for the City of Glendale.  The score did not represent how I felt I did during the interview.  This is a big problem for me because I now realize that I DON’T KNOW what the Oral Board wants.

Here is the thing…I’ve always been competitive about what I set out to accomplish. I use every tool that I can to reach my goals.  Because I make presentations for a living, I felt confident in what I did to prepare. I was sure I nailed it. But, I didn’t nail it. I was wrong.

Sir, I would greatly appreciate your training to help me be the best that I can be at the Oral Boards.  I don’t want to waste another minute. I want to know that I’ve done all I can to be the best candidate possible.  

If you, or your son, have the time to help, I would greatly appreciate it. I will make the most of that training.  Please advise me how to begin the process.  

I look forward to your response.  Thank you for your time, Sir.


Fire Recruit Jeff

Here was my reply:


You’re not alone here.  Like many others, you have discovered that a Fire Department Oral Board is different than anything you have ever encountered. Too many candidates beat their heads against the wall for years. Then, they realize they need help. By reaching out, you are ahead of the curve. Let’s talk about how to turn it around. Start here:

Captain Bob

Another Fire Recruit wrote this:

Captain Bob,

This week, I purchased your Gold Package. Here is why – Last week, I interviewed on the east coast. After my interview and rejection, I wrote a letter to the D/C to thank him for the opportunity. I asked him for any feedback from the interview.

He wrote that I talked too much and over answered the questions. He told me that I talk too fast, He told me that some of my answers were based on book knowledge. Well – he was honest which I appreciate. He encouraged me to keep testing & interviewing,

As I mentioned before, I approached this like a corporate interview. I now know this was a BAD IDEA. Even worse, I tried to ‘close’ them at the end. Jeez – I wish I read your web site before going in and I opened my big stupid mouth. You see, I told them ‘I kept their rejection letter from last year. I even showed it to them. The letter mentioned that candidates had failed to prepare and properly sell themselves to the board. I told them I had been working to improve myself in these areas for the past year – and asked –  have I properly done this?

The D/C mentioned this in his letter back to me. He wrote, ‘I don’t think that showing the letter I mailed out last time was the best thing you could have done. It was as if you were showing it off and showing us that you still had it.’

Long and short – I need to keep my damn mouth shut and just answer the questions. Live and learn. I look forward to getting your package.

Stay safe, Dave

To conclude: The mystery has been solved. The Oral Board Interview is a unique animal. Be prepared. Do the work. Talk with us at Get the badge. No more questions. The defense rests your honor.