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Importance of Formality; Sir or Mam

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  • Importance of Formality; Sir or Mam

    How important is it to address the interviewers as sir or mam? I keep telling myself I'm going to do it every interview I have and I forget. I think it's simply because I'm not used to it. I have an interview on Monday for a volunteer position and would like to score well! There are 6 spots open and only 10 applicants.
    Anyways, I was just wondering how the brass views this.
    Thanks and stay safe,
    Tim

  • #2
    If you don't know the ranks or titles of the people you are addressing, always use sir or ma'am. It should become second nature, because if you are accepted to the position, you should address your "customers" in the same manner. It may seem like a small thing, but it will not go unnoticed.

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    • #3
      As far as interviews go though, shouldn't it always be sir or mam and then once you are on it's capt, chief, etc etc?
      Thanks for the reply and stay safe,
      Tim

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pancho View Post
        As far as interviews go though, shouldn't it always be sir or mam and then once you are on it's capt, chief, etc etc?
        Thanks for the reply and stay safe,
        Tim
        Tim: ask a women how she feels when someone refers to her as mam? Most fell old. A rank or name is better. Many panel members have their name and rank on a card in front of them or give their name and rank when introduced. If you forget of get confused asked the female rater how she would prefer to be addressed. I would stay away from mam! Always rank or sir for men.

        Master the First Impression

        I spoke to a group of volunteers who were mostly aspiring firefighters
        recently. 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, smile 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
        http://www.josephmichaels.com/book/book.shtml :

        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 rank if you know) them for the opportunity.

        Use that handshake to make the right first impression.
        _____________________________________________

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

        More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
        http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


        Fire "Captain Bob"

        www.eatstress.com

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        • #5
          Yeah you just have to get into a groove of saying it over and over. I always say "yes sir" especially if you don't know the rank

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          • #6
            Sir and mam seem natural to me. When is was a kid, my dad had better not hear me call an adult something else, family included.

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            • #7
              I would have to say that more often than not I do not have a name plate on the table in front of me whan I am sitting on an entry level or promotional exam.

              On many departments it is very easy to identify rank in the fire service. Look at the collar brass. Here are a few tips:


              Captain has two SILVER bugles

              BC has two CROSSEd gold bugles

              AC has three crossed gold bugles

              DC has four crossed gold bugles

              Fire Chief has five crossed gold bugles

              I am sure somebody will chip and and tell us about the lieutenant collar brass.

              Address the board as Captain, or Chief. Firefighters as Firefighter Smith...........Civilians as sir or maam.

              A good way to learn the name of the panel members is to ask the secratary who is facilitating the interviews. She will tell you their names.

              Get used to calling people sir or maam. It's not demeaning in any sort of way to you, or to them. It's a sign of being polite. I do it with everyone that I don't know.

              Paul Lepore
              Battalion Chief
              www.aspiringfirefighters.com
              Last edited by BCLepore; 01-08-2007, 10:02 AM.
              Paul Lepore
              Battalion Chief
              www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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              • #8
                So when I interview I should say "yes Capt Bob" instead of sir if I know their rank?
                Thanks for the tips,
                Tim

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                • #9
                  [QUOTE=CaptBob;755700]Tim: ask a women how she feels when someone refers to her as mam? Most fell old. A rank or name is better. Many panel members have their name and rank on a card in front of them or give their name and rank when introduced. If you forget of get confused asked the female rater how she would prefer to be addressed. I would stay away from mam! Always rank or sir for men.

                  In this instance I would disagree with Capt Bob, In my opinion you should ALWAYS say Sir or Maam until told otherwise, one of the disadvantages of people having their name in front of them is that it is not always apparent what the correct pronunciation is. Common courtesy dictates Sir or Maam.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BCLepore View Post
                    Captain has two SILVER bugles

                    BC has two CROSSEd gold bugles

                    AC has three crossed gold bugles

                    DC has four crossed gold bugles

                    Fire Chief has five crossed gold bugles

                    I am sure somebody will chip and and tell us about the lieutenant collar brass.


                    Paul Lepore
                    Battalion Chief
                    www.aspiringfirefighters.com


                    Lieutentant has one silver bugle

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      LOL, don't make it so complicated you guys.

                      If you're racking your brain trying to remember what rank the panel member said they were and thus halting your verbal answers mid-sentence, or squinting at their collar (are there three or four bugles there?), you're going to leave a funny and damaging impression of a distracted and twitchy applicant.

                      Just say Sir or Ma'am. I would hope that panelists are man (and woman) enough to not be offended by that!

                      And no, when answering questions, don't say "Yes, Captain Bob". That would get old after the second question. Keep it simple. Sir or Ma'am.

                      (and pray no one on your panel is androgynous)
                      You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
                      IACOJ Power Company Liason
                      When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution
                      and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. - Dave Barry.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        name tags

                        As a person who has done interviews and I'm sure Chief Lepore would agree..saying Sir or Maam is the way to go. I've had candidates bitcher peoples names and get really embarrased when they are corrected. If you are introduced to the panel by name try to remember them when you go to leave. If you have a hard time remembering names DO NOT try at the end. All you do is ruin the good you've done in the interview. I have to admit I've done some interviews in uniform and some in a suit, and a firm hand shake like Captain Bob has said works just about every time.
                        Good Luck,
                        Jay Dudley, Retired Fire

                        P.S. Electrichoser....I do crosswords and you might want to think twice about androgyny's you just might have one.
                        Respectfully,
                        Jay Dudley
                        Retired Fire
                        Background Investigator
                        IACOJ-Member
                        Lifetime Member CSFA
                        IAFF Alumni Member

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JayDudley View Post
                          P.S. Electrichoser....I do crosswords and you might want to think twice about androgyny's you just might have one.
                          an·drog·y·nous
                          1. having both masculine and feminine characteristics.
                          2. having an ambiguous sexual identity.
                          3. being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior.


                          I meant that I hope no one on the applicant's panel has an appearance where you can't tell if it is a sir or a ma'am, and named Sam or Jamie or something.
                          You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
                          IACOJ Power Company Liason
                          When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution
                          and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. - Dave Barry.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sir or Ma'am should be said to everyone. It shows respect in the simplest form.
                            Local 2068

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pancho View Post
                              I think it's simply because I'm not used to it.
                              That's a really sad statement on the lack of manners and common courtesy in society.

                              Using polite forms of address shouldn't be something reserved for job interviews. If you want to remember to say "sir" and "ma'am" during your interviews, start by getting in the habit of saying it all the time.
                              "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                              sigpic
                              The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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