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5 minute speech for an interview

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  • 5 minute speech for an interview

    I've got an interview coming up and part of it involves giving a speech no longer than five minutes about myself. I have no clue what to say about myself for two minutes, let alone five. Should I lay out the whole spiel of why I want to be a firefighter, why I'd be a good fit, education, etc. or should I keep it short (one minute or less) about my family, hobbies, etc.? What I've written so far sounds good but is less than a minute. I guess if I kept it short in the beginning and if I wasn't asked about my goals and such I could add it at the end. I dunno, but would love some input. Thanks.

  • #2
    I see many departments including an oral presentation exercise as a part of their testing process. We felt it an important part of a Battalion Chief’s job and wrote an oral presentation into my department’s Battalion Chief’s exam. It’s important that firefighters are able to stand in front of a group and communicate. I do it almost daily in my job.

    I would encourage you to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS OVER AND OVER. Understand exactly what it is they are looking for.

    The instructions tell you have 5 minutes. I suggest you use at least 4:45 and by all means do not go over. Remember this is also a time management exercise. I would encourage you to bring a stop watch that counts backward so you know how much time you have left. I would not expect someone who finishes in one minute receiving a top score.

    If the directions tell you to talk about your education and training as it relates to the fire service then tell them. If it asks you to talk about yourself, then I would talk about the following things:

    • Your name
    • Where you live
    • How long you have been married
    • How you met your wife
    • How many kids you have
    • What you do for a living
    • What you do for fun
    • Any special accomplishments you have achieved
    • Any community involvement (coach your child’s soccer team)
    • A slight blurb as to what lead you to become interested in becoming a firefighter (only if you need to fill time)

    You will find that 5 minutes really is not that long. Good luck and you should look at this as an open book test. You already know the answers before you go into the test. Make the most of the opportunity.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    Aspiring Fire Officers offers online fire officer training and a fire officer course to prepare a candidate for the fire lieutenant assessment center. We assist members in preparing for the Fire Captain, Lieutenant, or Chief position exams.
    Last edited by BCLepore; 07-18-2006, 12:28 AM.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief


    • #3
      Presentation Skills

      Try to check with a newer firefighter to see what they might be looking for.

      How long is the interview scheduled for?

      This could be a two-part interview five min presentation on an oral resume and twenty-thirty minutes to answer questions.

      Five minutes will fly by and you won't have enough time to deliver a stand up dog and pony show. You might be given the opportunity to use an easel with your major points with color marking pens. You can use a pencil to write your notes lightly in the margin that the panel will not see.

      This is all about presentation skills! Try not to stand behind a lectern. Be out in front with the panel.

      Remember this. Nothing can replace the power of your words! Nothing! Keep it simple. Too many candidates will try to pull something off, get delayed and get time called on them just as they were getting to their best stuff.

      An oral resume is really the answer to the question what have you done to prepare for the position. It's your resume verbally. Start out with your education (keep it in chronological order), and then experience, any volunteer work you have done in your life and any projects you can attach your name to. Make it sound exciting.

      Nothing more. Nothing less. Practice with a tape recorder to get your timing, inflection, take out pause fillers like an, um etc, until it comes out of your mouth the way you want the panel to hear it.

      "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"



      • #4
        Clearly and Slowly

        In my previous profession as a teacher I found that one of the biggest mistakes people make when they talk to people is they talk to fast and use filler words to abundantly. This is true for both adolecents and adults.

        I am sure you have been in a class or in a lecture hall and some one giving a speach uses a word in almost every sentence and you fixate on that word.
        EXE... "Um Well I have been in the.. um fireservice for about 10 years and Um I have worked in four different houses. Um I have great refrences, um great education..."
        You might as well Shoot your self in the foot. Other words to avoid using often... Like, I, um, well, also. Use them sparingly they make you sound unprepaired and uneducated.

        Like CaptBob said tape your speach, present it to your parents, friends, teachers if you are in school, anyone who will listen. Get honest feedback.

        Second talk slowly and clearly. Know your speach and try not to breath in the middle of an important sentance rather pause after and let them digest the information for a second or two before moving on. Rushing will make it tough for the interviewer to hear and process what you have said. Remeber that they are most likely going to be taking notes and you want them to hear the things you have done!!

        Good luck
        "Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with the poor timid spirits, who know neither victory nor defeat." FDR


        • #5
          get a tape recorder. It's the best thing you can do. Want the job? Spend the $$ on a tape recorder.
          Last edited by Fargo2722; 07-18-2006, 05:57 PM. Reason: stupid fingers hiiting the wrong keys


          • #6
            Thanks for all the responses. Well, I got in there and they threw me a curveball. They said "Alright, you've got three minutes to tell us about yourself and why you want this job, you may start when you're ready." I ended speaking for around 2:50, but got all the important stuff across. And only two "ummmm"s


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