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Loaded Interview Questions
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Should You Become a Paramedic to Get a Firefighter Job?
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First Impressions

How long do you think you have in an oral board to impress the raters into listening to you? You have 32 seconds. In that first 32 seconds the board is checking out what you’re wearing (the strongest non-verbal statement you can make), eye contact, choice or words and what signature stories you start with to hook the panel into listening to you.

The first oral board question could be, "What sparked your interest and why do you want to be a firefighter?" You proceed by giving the same clone answers the oral board has heard from almost every candidate for five days. Public service, giving back to the community, helping people, camaraderie, etc. The magic 32 seconds has passed and you have not made the impression you needed to make. Take the time to develop a unique answer and make sure your appearance is pleasing to the older generation. NO JEWALRY AND COVER THE TATTOS!!!

No Chatting or Handouts

Generally handing out material in an entry level oral is not a good idea because it upsets the normal flow of the interview and takes up too much time. The review panel probably won't read them anyway. The time to have this material read is before you walk into the room. Have it placed with your application before the day of the test. Don't Chitty Chat! You don't have enough time to chitty chat. I would be careful chatting after your interview. You might say something that you weren't prepared for or something that could hurt you. You are applying for a rookie position. If you came across as too familiar, it could work against you. Explaining past work history like Vol. work/Reserves/Paid call/etc doesn't give you any time in this situation. In fact it can give you false impressions that it can give you an advantage. The reviewers are not your friends. They are looking for reasons to eliminate.
Fire Captain Bob Smith, speaker/author of "Conquer the Job Interview." To order books and tapes call toll free at 888-238-3959

Loaded Interview Questions

Possible test question/interview question: You are in a fully involved fire and your partner and an infant are both down, they are both right next to you and you can only grab one which one do you grab and why? Remember to ask the oral board additional questions to draw a better picture, stop and think about it.

An example reply from a testing candidate was:
I first asked if I knew where both of them were located, then I asked if there was anyway possible in all my power to save both of them, then I said I would take the firefighter because if anything goes wrong in a fire with you and your partner you are suppose to get out immediately.

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Then after that they told me when you get out of the building you see the infants family and what do you say to them. So I said that I would say I was sorry for what happened and explain the situation the best way I was able under the circumstances. Then they told me that next the media approaches me and what do you say to them. So I said that I would given the circumstances of what I had just been through I would have another officer speak to them because now just wasn't a good time.

Like most candidates he took the bait on saving your partner. So the correct answer is to save the infant? The key here is one word from your EMT training that is "Triage". Which of the two is in worse condition or can not be saved. As for the media, remember the chain of command. Discuss the situation with your supervisor and allow him to address the media. What you say in a stressful moment could cause a lot of trouble for your department.

Capt. Bob Smith, Speaker, Author, Publisher, Information Products. Phone: (925) 846-3959 or online at: eatstress.com

Interview Closing

There are those who would tell you to raise the flag and beat the drum with a lot of fanfare in your closing statement. Please spare the interviewers this part. Understand if you haven't done a great job in the body of your presentation, you're not going to make it up in the closing, and repeating it over again will not help.

Don't forget that the closing part of an interview is where you call on the emotions of the interviewers to give you the job. Don't reiterate. Some try to do repair work, most of the time if you screwed up the question the first time you will most likely just make things worse. The question is done, move on and leave it alone. Use only the key points not already covered in your script. Without being boring or lengthily, thank the panel for their time, tell them why you really want the job and with your qualifications hope to be considered for the position.

Then shut up and get out of the building. Or you might say something you regret. We had a guy one day ace his oral. After his closing, he said, "Well, if I don't get this job I can always fall back on that part time painters job." The panel couldn't believe what this guy just said after acing his oral. Did it hurt his score? Yes!!!

Courtesy of Fire Capt. Bob, @ www.eatstress.com Capt. Bob Smith, Speaker, Author, Publisher, Information Products. 5565 Black Ave. Pleasanton 94566 Phone: (925) 846-3959


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