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  • CaptBob
    CPAT Excuses

    For anyone getting ready to take the CPAT. This was posted from someone who helped administer the test a few weeks ago.

    The Excuse Board used at CPAT. Actual excuses used by applicants ( We don't make this stuff up).
    All of these were used by the applicants after they failed the test.

    I didn't know I was on a clock
    I didn't eat
    I ate too much
    I ate at Taco Bell
    I worked last night
    I didn't make it to any of the open or formal practice sessions
    The vest is too heavy (the vests all weigh 50 lbs)
    The proctor slowed me down
    I am not a "Morning Person"
    I am not an "Afternoon person"
    The course is confusing
    I have allergies
    I worked out this morning
    The ladder was under control (while lowering the rope, he let go)
    I am Sick
    I got Asthma
    My feet are too big (for the stepmill)
    If I could just use my own gloves
    I think you changed the course
    If you could speed up the stepmill, I wouldn't stumble so much
    I am only 5 minutes late (for his test)
    I had the wrong vest size
    I was out of the country

    I was stopped by a train (same guy)
    I was stopped by a cop
    I got a ticket

    I ran the mini marathon
    I got the same cramp as I had in the mini marathon
    I have a bad knee
    I have water on the knee
    I couldn't get a grip on it
    I didn't want to burn out
    I didn't know where to go on the course
    I had the flu, last week
    I need bigger steps (stepmill)
    I didn't want to get dirty
    I didn't train because the video made it look so easy
    I didn't get any sleep last night
    I didn't lean on the rails that much (stepmill)
    I got lost in the maze
    I made it through before (years ago)
    I have a pinched nerve in my toe
    I was a marine. I can do this. I've done 25 mile humps before ( failed Miserably)
    I got a cramp
    I feel through a roof (while roofing)
    I stepped on a nail

    Questions asked:
    How long will this take? I have an appointment to make
    Do I get a break for my age? (34)
    Can you hold my inhaler?
    Can I carry gatorade with me?
    Whats the course record ? (Did not get off the stepmill)

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

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  • CaptBob
    Station Visits/Ride Alongs

    Ride alongs can help or destroy you! Candidates want the opportunity to do ride alongs as a way of showing interest, gain information for their oral, and can say in their oral they had been to the stations. Often they don’t know the culture and etiquette. If you’re bent on doing a ride along, first make an appointment. During test time things get crazy. Be patient. Act like you would if you were the new rookie in the station.

    Dummy Up! You don’t have enough time or experience to have an opinion! In this situation you have to be humble, have your questions already written down i.e. what do you expect of a new firefighter, what is the work schedule, what is the daily routing of a firefighter, etc.. Don’t go endless on your questions. Realize you are a snott nose rookie. Too many candidates come in wanting the badge so bad they act like they already have time and want to impress the guys with all of their knowledge. BIG ERROR!

    This information will spread like wildfire and destroy you with those who will be making the decisions. Too many candidates tank themselves here and they never know what happened. This applies even if you’re already a firefighter applying for another department.

    If you’re lucky enough to do a station visit or a ride along, show up on time with a desert. Home made is best. Gourmet coffee would be well received. If it’s ice cream, make sure it’s the round stuff; not the square stuff. We had so much square stuff during one of test we had a contest in the back yard to see who could throw the square stuff the furthest.

    Understand this is our home. We spend more time at the firehouse than with our own family. So here you come waltzing into our home not knowing what to do.

    If you’re fortunate to get a station visit or ride along, stay for lunch if offered. Offer to pay your share and do the dishes. Leave before dinner (unless asked to stay) and never spend the night. You might interfere with the kick back time during and after dinner.

    Should you go to as many or all the stations in a department? Please spare us this part. Don’t turn yourself inside out trying to cover all of the stations hoping the word will get back that you did. It will make you look anal and compulsive. This will raise its ugly head in the psychological test if you get that far. One or two stations are fine. If you try to do them all, it only increases the chances of saying or doing the wrong thing or catching a shift of malcontents that will badmouth you.

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  • CaptBob
    The Clock is Ticking

    When you turn in an application for a fire job the clock starts ticking. Sometimes the clock goes slow. Sometimes it speeds up. What we find with too many candidates is they let time get away from them and they’re caught flat footed for the next step in the hiring process. Usually it’s when they get the letter that their oral board is in a few days. Ouch.

    A candidate called me this week that had applied for a job last May. Now in short order everything was put on the front burner. The oral board, background, medical and psych. He panicked to get up to speed to be prepared for these critical important steps in the hiring process. The clock had been ticking since May. What was he doing to be prepared? As our son Captain Rob says, “You knew when you turned in the application there was an oral in your future. You just didn’t know when.” Now, it’s an emergency.

    When I returned a call to another candidate week he told me his oral board was the next day and what can he do to get in a coaching session. What? That wasn’t going to happen in the eleventh hour but I told him I would listen to a couple of his answers. The phone went silent. I could hear tumble weeds in the background. He finally said he just couldn’t think of anything right then. If he couldn’t think of anything right then, how was he going to show up the next day for his oral board interview?

    What time is it?

    An hour later this same candidates wife calls and wants to go over some of his answers. What? Sorry we only talk to the candidate. By the way is your husband practicing with a hand held recorder that goes everywhere his car keys go. Silence. Then, well, I know he’s practicing some. Have you ever heard his answers? Now I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this reply. She said no. He won’t let me listen to his answers. Yea, I heard this all the time. What’s up with this? Here’s the love of his life that has been on the sidelines cheering their guys on and they won’t tell them their answers.

    Then the bride goes on with he’s such a great guy and if only the panel could know that. Oh, boy, hear that all the time too. Sorry, you have to convince the oral board that he is.

    I get a lot of calls from mothers, wife’s, and girl friends looking for a ring and a date calling on behalf of the man in their live who’s been trying to get a badge. Why too many struggle in the hiring process these ladies see it crystal clear why their guy can’t get a badge. Their guy has somehow convinced himself through the four inches between his ears that they have what it takes and just around the corner at that next test they will get their badge. These women are doing the research and making the calls hoping this guy will finally get it. They will be on the phone with me and the candidate is sitting in the room with them telling her what to ask. What? Let me talk to him. Oh, hi.

    Had another candidate who had all kinds of education, experience, a volunteer but couldn’t seem to get hired. He wouldn’t share his answers either. What are these guys in the witness protection program or what? So, his wife went with him on a mini vacation where he was going to take an oral board. Turns out she’s sitting in the hallway outside the room where the orals were being conducted and could hear her husbands answers for the first time. When she called me she said he stunk. Bad. So, she gives him a coaching session for his birthday. She was right. He stunk. Bad. No mystery why he wasn’t getting hired.

    Got another call from a candidate where the last step of the hiring process was his medical in a couple of days. Are you concerned about anything? Not really. But I do have elevated blood pressure. It runs in the family. What? Like, how elevated? Well, 135 over 96. That’s high enough to be medicated. Yea, my doctor has told me this. But I didn’t want to get medicated and have to put it down on my medical form.

    Tic Toc

    Had several e-mails and finally a call from another parent who’s son had taken the written portion of a psych test, found an article about our psych report and wanted to go over his sons answers and damage control before the interview with the doc. What? How come your son isn’t calling? We only talk to the candidates.

    I was at a written test for a large department. How many parents showed up with their little precious children candidates surprised me. Yea they walked though the line and then big hugs good-bye at the door. What? When are you going to cut the cord?

    The clock is ticking.

    Leave a comment:

  • jjohnson3
    This is to all the aspiring FFs,

    I wanted to tell my story, and hopefully inspire a few people who may be discouraged and on the verge of giving up on their dream of becoming a fire fighter.�

    I am just like all of you; a hardworking individual with a goal. Nothing special on paper accept for your required certifications, education, ect.�

    I have taken over 21 department tests an a handful of interviews to finally get my badge.

    How did I do it? Persistence, determination, and a will to accomplish my goal. After being rejected over and over I finally decided what (I) was doing was not cutting it. So I did some research and found out about Captain Bob's Gold Package which includes information on the application, written test, cpat, interview, psych test, poly test, and medical processes. I studied his books front and back, listened to the CDs �until I was scoring in the top 10% on all written tests.�

    Once I got better at the written test portion I realized my interview skills needed fine tuning. I didn't want to go through another interview and not score in the top. So I used Capt. Rob (Capt. Bob's son) as an interview coach.�I truly believe Capt. Bob and Rob's coaching techniques will allow you to properly present the best (you). They take your personal experiences and education to help mold you into what the fire service is looking for and even more.

    It worked for me, because now I start next Monday at my dream career department! Let me tell you, this can also become your reality. I've seen way too many people make it through the fire academy and give up after the first few tests. Don't let this happen to you. Invest your time into a program that is proven to work.�

    Don't hesitate to call Capt. Bob for more information. He is always quick to respond to emails and phone calls. I am extremely impressed with what they have going on to help people like us get our dream job.

    If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Good luck to all of you in your process to becoming a Fire fighter!


    Leave a comment:

  • CaptBob
    We went to a matinee play in San Francisco. There was a fraction of the audience this theater could accommodate. You would have never known it by what took place on stage. During intermission I spotted two of the lead actors. I told them although the audience was sparse the cast wasn’t. The energy and enthusiasm were fantastic, as if they were playing to a packed house. These were professionals. They thanked me for noticing.

    Consider doing the same thing going into your oral boards. The door
    opens and they call you in. The curtain is going up, it’s the bright
    lights of Broadway. It’s show time. You have to grab your top hat,
    cane and know matter what the audience (panel members) you have to give it your best shot and step it OUT!

    Not floundering trying to remember the lines for your part. Being
    embarrassed by stage fright that causes you to forget your best stuff,
    as your mouth goes dryer than the Sahara Desert. Being able to speak to your interviewers as the people they are, not the heroes you see them as? Visualizing the tones are dropping and on your going on your first call. Everything you have worked for is on the line. You’re
    auditioning for the part to be a firefighter. You have practiced and
    rehearsed for this part haven’t you? You know all the lines for your
    part don’t you?

    The raters pick up on your energy and enthusiasm as we did at the play and they’re saying in their minds, bravo, bravo, we have been waiting for this all week. They’re starting to smile. Throwing you lines that you adlib to enhance your performance. Nothing has stumped you. You know you’re going to make the cut for the call back. You have never had an interview like this. The hairs start standing up on the back of your neck and the raters too. You walk off stage knowing you nailed it!

    Haven’t had this feeling in your oral boards yet? Well, do you have a
    script that you have been religiously practicing with a tape recorder?
    It doesn’t surprise me. Ninety-nine percent of the candidates I ask
    aren’t either. I asked a college program recently how many had been
    practicing with a tape recorder daily? No hands. How about weekly
    then? Nope. None. O.K. how about monthly? Finally three hands went up out of a total of 40. Then, don’t be confused by why you’re not getting high enough on the list to get a call back to play the part of a
    firefighter. The mystery has been solved.

    You might not have the oral board skills (the oral is still 100% of the
    score to get hired) to convince the producers (raters) you have what is
    takes. You see getting this part as a firefighter you have to convince
    the raters you can do it before you get it. It's all about presentation skills.

    Leave a comment:

  • Cbar84
    So I purchased Capt. Bob's Gold package a year and a half ago, I am still not hired but have a Chiefs interview in the next couple weeks with my Dream department. Ever since I started with Capt. Bob's program I have been ranked in the top 5 of 3 departments, It works, It really opens up the doors to show you that it is ok to use your life experiences as answeres. I am very excited and feel more prepared than I ever have. This will be my first Chiefs interview so any help would be great. Thanks.
    Last edited by Cbar84; 05-09-2012, 01:05 PM.

    Leave a comment:

  • OhioFF5
    I recommend Captain Bob to anyone preparing for a promotional test. I actually was searching the internet for example interview questions when Captain Bob's website (firefighters oral board interviews, fire department job interviews, fireman oral board interviews) appeared in the search results. I just wish I would have found the website earlier. I had already completed the written test and assessment center prior to meeting Captain Bob. I was three days from my interview and thought I was somewhat prepared. I was completely wrong! Captain Bob emailed me the information he wanted me to review and told me he would call me back the following day. The following day he contacted me and we spent nearly an hour on the phone for a coaching session. He then gave me an additional homework assignment and said he would call me the next day. I followed his instructions and he called me back the following night for an additional one hour coaching session. I can't thank Captain Bob enough for his willingness to help me last minute. Captain Bob at one point asked, "How long have we known each other 48 hours?" I responded, " Yes sir, and it's 48 hours that I owe you for the rest of my life!". I truly can't say enough about how great Captain Bob was and how willing he is to share his knowlege and experience with those that follow him in the fire service. I am thrilled to say with Captain Bob's help I finished #1 on the promotional test and without his help, I wouldn't have finished where I did. His program works, no other candidate finished within six percentage points of my final score. I hope everyone that is going through a promotional process in the future calls Captain Bob.

    Brett, Ohio FF

    Leave a comment:

  • ninepj
    5 years ago Rob helped me with a lateral interview and I was awarded the job. Capt. Bob helped me prepare for a recent promotional interview and the experience was priceless. I think I spent 40-50 hours with my tape recorder. I practiced for every question I could think of. I was relaxed, I was calm, I was myself. I knew all the key things about me I wanted to express. Even though the questions were phrased differently or out of order, when I walked away I knew I had covered everything I wanted to, and I kept it simple, which for me is not easy to do! When they asked me a question that I had a perfectly practiced (not canned) answer for, my enthusiasm grew throughout the interview. I even caught them nodding their heads as they took notes. I got the call, the chief told me he was impressed with my interview. Even though I was sitting #2 on the list, I was awarded the 1 and only captian position off this list which is set to expire. I will forever be grateful for Capt. Bob and Rob's guidance. What they do is truly remarkable. I am telling every person I know to come to them. They have helped me earn not 1 but 2 badges!!!

    Leave a comment:

  • CaptBob
    Hand Shakes. Master the First Impression

    I spoke to a group of volunteers who were mostly aspiring firefighters. As I was greeting several members before I started, I shook hands with a big strapping lad who had firefighter written all over him. He had that kind of firm handshake, smiles and focused eye contact that can cause an oral board panel to want to hand him a badge.

    A few moments later I turned to shake hands with another big guy. His handshake didn’t carry the same message. The big problem was he didn’t know. No one had told him. I had him go over and shake hands with the first guy. They worked on it for a few minutes and he returned with a more confident handshake.

    The following is from Work Your Network, by Joe “Mr. Network” Pelayo:
    A UCLA study found that when 2 people meet for the first time they make 20 distinctions about each other in the first 20 seconds, then spend the next 20 minutes finding out whether or not they were right! The same study found that a handshake is worth an
    hour’s conversation between two people, because handshakes are thought to be a judge of your character.

    When shaking hands with a female rater don’t wait for the high beams to come on in her eyes because of too much pressure. Just match the pressure in her handshake. At the end of the interview they will usually stand and shake hands again. Same eye contact while thanking (by name or rank if you know) them for the opportunity. Use that handshake to make the right first impression.

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  • CaptBob
    What Do I wear to a Job Interview?

    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.

    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 were Larry King?" I asked him if they called him back for a Chief’s interview? No. The defense rests.

    You want your oral board to run smoothly without any surprises. Since what you wear is the strongest non-verbal statement you can make when you walk into the room a uniform, any uniform, might not get you off on the right footing. Are you willing to take that chance?

    For some reason candidates have been convinced by themselves or others that this will some how separate them from the other candidates. It can but not in a way you were looking for. It often hits the panel that you are asking for more points.

    Understand you are applying for a snot nose rookie position. You have no time or rank with the department you are testing for. So don’t wear your military, volunteer, other department, dogcatcher or other uniform to your interview.

    Here's a recent one.

    A candidate from out of state called from southern California the night before his oral board. He asked if it was all right if he wore his military uniform to his oral? I asked him if he had brought anything else to wear. He said no. He said his dad and other members of his family that are in law enforcement told him it would make him stand out. I told him to go ahead and wear his uniform and we would talk later.

    Did he get called back? Not yet.

    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 out, so is polyester. Tie should be in a solid color such as navy, red, maroon, yellow stripe, or paisley print. Wear a white, off white, or pale blue long sleeved shirt in cotton or a cotton blend. Starch it no matter what the instructions say. No patterned shirts!

    black is acceptable yes?! I sure hope so.

    Not really. Black is a little too formal, more for dances, funerals and being a star in the movie Men in Black.

    I usually say go along with the lady in your life. It might be an exception here.

    If black is all you have, wear it.

    Dress for Success
    Don't: Wear casual or novelty watches, too much jewelry, monograms, religious, political, or fraternity affiliation accessories. Beards are out; mustaches are a gray area. When in doubt, shave it off. Don’t wear cell phones, pagers or any other electronic leases.

    When my son was trying to become a firefighter I begged him to shave off his mustache. He said Dad this took me 26-years to grow and I'm not going to shave it off. He got hired. He got married and his wife made him shave it off. Go figure.

    Women: Do wear a tailored business-like suit or dress with a jacket, not overly feminine. Choose suits in conservative solid colors such as gray, navy blue, black, beige, or camel with conservative hemlines. Natural fibers such as wool are your best bets.

    Leave a comment:

  • autobidnw
    My testimony about Capt. Bob.

    Hello Captain Bob,
    Below is my testimony:
    Three years ago I decided I was going to do it; I was going to stop settling. I was working a job I despised selling shoes at a high-end department store. I had been there nearly 8 years and not a day went by I didn't have the thought "When am I going to go for it? When am I going to start taking the steps necessary in accomplishing my dream of becoming a career firefighter?". On paper I had no business trying to land the most coveted career in the country. First off, I didn't have a four year degree. In fact I was one class credit short from having just a 2-year degree. Having not been in a classroom for almost 10 years, I probably wasn't going to be seeing those remaining credits anytime soon. Second, I had zero experience. My entire professional life centered on selling things. Things like luxury cars, mortgages, shoes.....A far cry from the fire service that's for sure. However, I was determined. I sat down with my pregnant wife in our tiny little apartment and told her this, "Honey, I'm going to become a firefighter. It's going to take a long time, the odds are against us, but I need your support. I need to do this before it's too late." That's when it started, August 2008.
    "Now what?" I thought. Well, I need to go take a test, so I did. I got online and found a local testing company that worked with over a dozen fire departments in establishing their hiring lists. $125 bucks later I and 300 other bright-eyed candidates were in a high-school gymnasium testing to see who of the 300 would be amongst the 12 that would interview for 4 open positions between the 3 different departments that were hiring that year.....this was going to be harder than I thought. After a respectable 89%, I waiting for my phone to ring, I'm still waiting. It was clear 89% wasn't going to get it done, so I hit the books.
    6 months later I was at the University of Washington campus with 2000 more bright-eyed candidates. Turns out Seattle F.D. was going to need 30 new firefighters, here's hoping. This time I got a 96% and my phone did ring. Well not really, but I got a letter! I was in; I was going to the oral boards, yes! This was it, I was in sales, "I'll ace this, piece of cake" I thought. Knowing I was already on the "short list", I put on my best suit and off I went. I pulled into the parking lot an hour early to find 400 others like me, waiting in their cars ...an hour early....crap. Turns out the test was pass/fail. My 96% was out the window and anyone with over an 80% was invited to the oral board interviews.
    2 hours later I found myself in front of 3 Battalion Chiefs and a piece of paper with 10 questions in front of me. 20 minutes later I was covered in sweat, the panel had scowls on their faces and I awkwardly left the room. This was going to be harder than I thought. My written scores were becoming respectable, but it was clear my oral board skills needed work. It wasn't enough to be well spoken or well dressed; the panel was obviously looking for something. Whatever it was I wasn't giving it to them and I had no idea where to find it. The oral board was "for all the marbles" and I was clueless.
    That night I was online researching how to ace these darn interviews when I cam upon Captain Bob's site (www.eatsstress.com). I sent an email detailing my catastrophic failure not expecting a reply.
    2 days later my phone rang...yes my phone, it was Capt. Bob! I needed help; he knew it and he claimed to have the solution. I reluctantly ordered his CD set. After all, what did I have to lose, my phone still wasn't ringing.
    I got the CDs and I listened. I listened, I learned, I listened. Yep, I had it all wrong, my approach wasn't working, I wasn't giving the "nugget" answers while pulling from MY personal experiences.
    Fast forward 2 years. My dream department was hiring, the town I not only lived in but grew up in was hiring for the first time in 3 years. This was my shot and I was ready.
    After a respectable 89% on what was the most difficult written test I had ever taken, my phone FINALLY rang. I and several others were going to the oral boards to interview for 4 positions. I wasn't ever going to see these kinds of odds again and I knew it. Having had Captain Bob's materials for 2 years, I knew it, I breathed it. I got in my best suit and off I went again.
    One month later I was in the department store shoe stockroom getting ready to finish another day doing something other that what I loved when I got the call; it was the department's head training officer....he had my full attention. He was calling to inform me that I was #1 on the hiring list and that I needed to schedule my appointments for my psych and medical exams. He went on to tell me that I had an overall oral board score of 98.5% and when combined with my written score, second place wasn't even close. He went on to say that written in the notes section of my score sheets was this, "If you don't hire this guy, we will." That came from a BC of a very large department. To date it’s the single happiest moment of my life. Want to know how I did that? Call Captain Bob, he'll call you back.

    - Career B Shifter

    Leave a comment:

  • CaptBob
    Luck is Given to the Prepared!

    From Captain Rob:

    In the weeks before Christmas there are two types of people, those who are happy and enjoying the season, and those of us that want to hurt the happy ones. The difference is the first group prepared, their shopping done, cards written they relaxed and enjoyed themselves. Meanwhile the second group is trying to find that last minute gift before their car was done filling up at the pump and they have to pay.

    I was outside a building where oral interviews where taking place. I saw a guy sitting in his car writing like mad on a piece of binder paper. Another guy walking by looked in the car and acted like he was thinking if maybe he had written some stuff down he might not feel like throwing up right then. These guys have never shopped early for Christmas.

    Right after Christmas, you are probably saying, as most of us do, I will have all my Christmas shopping done by October next year. That same attitude should apply to your preparation for your oral interview.

    Please allow me to get on my soapbox for a moment. If you have put in an app., taken the written, or physical ability, you have an oral coming up...If you are in a fire academy, working as a volunteer, in high school, or are twelve years old and are going to be a firefighter some day YOU HAVE AN ORAL INTERVIEW IN YOUR FUTURE; YOU JUST DON’T KNOW THE DATE YET.

    The choice is up to you. How do you think you can present yourself in the best light? If you have spent weeks or even months preparing or you are sitting in your car an hour before the interview still trying to figure out what you have done to prepare and hoping it looks something like what you put on you application.

    My suggestion is you kill two birds with one stone. Prepare for your interview like you know you should, and next year you can give everyone a picture of you with your new badge for Christmas.

    Leave a comment:

  • fire49
    Sounds great hope it all works out

    Leave a comment:

  • Fieronfire
    Originally posted by fire49 View Post
    Well your resume can't be that long

    Send everything, but make sure you send seperate proof of your cert

    As far as eight people panel , make sure you address them all do not foucus on one or two when you answer
    Hey guys just got done with the interview. I think it went really well. My friend told me to bring the resumes, same with my captain at my internship he said only hand them out if they asked. They didnt so I left them on the floor next to me. No harm no foul I think.

    Leave a comment:

  • fire49
    Well your resume can't be that long

    Send everything, but make sure you send seperate proof of your cert

    As far as eight people panel , make sure you address them all do not foucus on one or two when you answer

    Leave a comment:

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