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Some Insight Please

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  • Some Insight Please

    Question: GTW wrote:

    I've been testing for one year now, I always make it to orals, I pass my first oral in the top ten, then after my Chiefs everyone says you’re on the list.

    What can I do to move on?

    I'm starting to get discouraged and depressed. Please give me some insight. GTW

    Reply: GTW, thank you for taking the courage to share the feelings many experience trying to get a firefighter job. If you are testing and your results letter doesn’t invite you forward in the hiring process, you have to start asking yourself why?

    I often hear from candidates that are in similar situations. They tell me they fell like they have hit a wall and don't know what to do next. More candidates than you could imagine get depressed and lose hope along the journey to gain a badge. You could be stuck in the process and not be able to recognize why.

    Hope is the anchor of the soul.

    Here's some ideas that will help:

    Speaking skills should be the cornerstone of every firefighter candidate who is pursuing a badge. Getting a firefighter job is all presentation skills!

    Battalion Chief Steve Lewis said, "If you are a good public speaker I can't guarantee you will get a job in the fire service, but if you're not a good public speaker, I can guarantee you'll never get a job as a firefighter".

    At an interview seminar put on by Paul Lepore, Captain and Author of the soon to be released book, "Smoke Your Firefighter Interview”, at El Camino College Battalion Chief Steve Lewis, asked the audience, “Who here works out?” Everyone raised his or her hands. Then he addressed a really fit guy in the front of the audience and asked, “ How often do you work out?” The reply, “Two hours a day”. That was clear. The guy was in good shape. Then he asked the guy, “How often do you practice your interview skills?” The reply, blank stares.

    I thought, “Wow, good point. I never thought of it that way.” Most of us have youth on our side and could smoke the agility without any preparation, but the agility is just pass/fail. So is the written. The interview is generally 100% of your score. GOOD LUCK! Firebird

    Sage advice. To improve your skills, take a public-speaking class at a local college, join Toastmasters, or for more advanced skills, look into local chapters of the National Speakers Association @ nsaspeaker.org

    Now that you know how important it is to have good speaking presentation skills, have you been practicing with a tape record weekly, better yet daily, to hear what the interview panel and the chief is going to hear out of your mouth? I asked this question at a recent seminar and not one person raised their hand.

    You might be so close to the situation and are at the point where all your friends, relatives and other firefighters (everyone becomes an expert once they're hire, have you noticed?) have got you to the point of analysis paralysis.

    A good-recorded private coaching session with a qualified (I said qualified) coach could reveal where you are stuck. Private coaching can make the difference in being over forty on the list and being in the top ten and not just going to the chief's oral but to nail a badge!

    Did you ever see a batter change his stance after a few words from his coach? And then see his batting average go higher? Of course. A qualified firefighter candidate coach has been there, done that. Got the ball cap, T-shirt and played the game. They seen beyond the horizon you can see.

    A coach is a seasoned veteran, someone who knows the game inside out, upside down, backward and forward. They let these experiences and insights keep you on the high road to a badge.

    My son Captain Rob and I have talked to candidates who had no experience and those who have been trying up to 18 years to get a firefighter job or promotion. One thing is common with most. After beating their heads against the wall trying everything possible to get this job, they figured out that the real secret is being able to pass the oral high enough to get a shot at the badge.

    Do you spend money on classes? Books? Academies? Training? Then how about the oral board? Oh, yeah I forgot, you're good to go with the oral board right? You've got that wired. You can wing the oral. Right? Then where is your badge? I talked to a candidate the other day who had his chest pushed out saying he was number 15 on this list, twelve on that list and on and on. After several years of testing, he was still another bride's maid. And, of what you have done so far, what is going to get you the badge?

    "There is no free lunch . . . But there are better places to eat."

    This from Chris:

    My suggestion to you is to contact Capt. Bob. He has made it his life's work to help people land the greatest job in the world. He takes great pleasure in seeing people get hired. He is very selfless with his time and will continue to help and give good advice throughout your career. Take it from me, without Capt. Bob's help, I probably still would have gotten hired at some point, but he shortened the learning curve, helping me get on the job much sooner than I would have without his help. Equally important is the help he gave me once I was on the job. He helped guide me through the probationary period, giving me good advice on how to be a good rookie and how to fit in regards to station life. When it came time to promote, he's been right there by my side the whole way. Don't get me wrong,, he has not been my only mentor. It is important to get as much advice from people that you respect as possible. You will find that the people that know what they are talking about will give you generally the same advice. That's the best way to determine that you are getting good advice. If you notice, there is a common theme among all of the experienced firefighters who give advice on this board. It's all about the interview. The better you do in the interview, the better your chances are of getting the job.

    Good luck to you and we'll see you at the big one!


    Fire "Captain Bob"
    Last edited by CaptBob; 08-31-2003, 05:35 PM.

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

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


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