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Stepping on a Land Mine

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  • Stepping on a Land Mine

    Hello, I have a question for you. My father is a paramedic, and I have
    an oral boar interview with an agency in the same county as my father.

    These agencies, though separate, work under the same MPD and are trained
    at the same hospital. Some of the paramedics that might be on the oral
    board went to medic school with my dad or would know who he is.

    I don't want
    sound like I am name-dropping, but some of my answers might relate back
    to my youth. Specifically, the opportunities I had to ride with my dad
    on the medic unit and also growing up around the system. Do you think I
    should avoid telling them in my interview who my father is?
    Any input would be greatly appreciated thanks,

    Captain Bob's Reply:

    Yes, you want to use the stories. You have a tremendous opportunity but a delicate balance here when you want to talk about a relative being a firefighter or paramedic in your oral boards. It could hurt you if it's not presented correctly. Often candidates offend the panel when they try to club them over the head with the relationship. They will say “I want to be a firefigher, because my dad, grandfather, uncle or other relative was a firefighter. The panel members can feel they have been taken advantage, that they owe you a favor because you have a relative that is a firefighter.

    We faced this dilemma when my son Rob was testing. The simplest way we handled the situation when the panel asked, "Why do you want to be a firefighter?” he would say, "I've wanted to be a firefighter most of my life because a member of my family is a firefighter". Then, Rob would go on to tell them how he was able to grow up around the fire service tell any stories, like yours, where he was able to be in the stations, familiar with the life style, and go on calls. It delivered the point. He didn't say who it was. If the panel wanted to know who it was, they would ask. They only asked once. Only then did he tell them it was his dad. That was the department where he was hired.

    Many candidates miss the opportunity by not using the family connection. I was coaching a candidate one day and he was giving me those clone answers why he wanted to be a firefighter. I stopped him and had him rewind the videotape of his life to where he first got the spark to be a firefighter. He said, "Oh, I'm from South America. When I was growing up, we lived with a relative who was the fire Chief of the city. I got to go with him and be exposed to the whole department."

    I asked if he had ever told that story in any of his oral board interviews? He said, "No". Why not? I will bet big money that you are a clone candidate like the guy above right now. I bet you also have some personal signature stories that no one else could tell that could instantly change your interview scores.

    Practice those stories with a tape recorder. Condense them down to a minute or less. Don't go on a journey. The oral board is not packed for the trip. Once you answer an oral board with a signature story, you can marry the rest of your answer with those clone answers you have been using. Try it and see the amazing difference.

    How would you like to get ahead of the curve with the cutting edge interview skills to get that badge? Then you want to sign up to receive Fire "Captain Bob's" exclusive information rich FREE e-mail FireZine Newsletter off the job page of the web site www.eatstress.com

    Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!

    Fire "Captain Bob"

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