Who Are You Sending to the Oral Board?

I can’t think of anything more disappointing than to spend lots of time, money, and effort to get your oral board presentation memorized, only to find out that you sound just like the person who interviewed before you. From an interviewer’s perspective, there is nothing worse than sitting in a room and listening to person after person come in, sit down, and repeat the same thing the person before them said. In places where the aspiring firefighter candidates went to the same academy, volunteered in the same department, and prepared together, this happens.

How does a firefighter candidate stand out? The answer is simple. Look in the mirror. Whom do you see? You see YOU! You will stand out in the eyes of the oral board by being yourself. For you to be anyone else doesn’t work. And the oral board can see through that. Being yourself gets you the attention you need and want. 

In the oral board, some questions have one correct answer. For example, asking how many stations they have can only be answered one way. But questions like: Why do you want to be a firefighter, what is customer service, what is ethnic diversity,  or what is a weakness for you, have a multitude of answers that would get you maximum points. Having your unique answers will separate yourself from the others. This is the time to be your own man, so to speak.


Be leery of someone that says they have all the right answers, and they’ll give them to you. They may have given all the other candidates the same right answers and will get the same score they got. 

Here is my advice – Bring yourself to your next interview. You’ll be glad you did. 

“Nothing counts ’til you have the badge . . . Nothing!” 

Fire Captain Bob