Fire Fighters- what’s the best way to prep for oral boards?

coloyooper

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Feb 10, 2017
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CO
Wondering if there are any resources out there that current fire fighters used to help prep for boards? I’ve found a few things online but hoping for some real life advice. I have an opportunity in Colorado that I’m very excited for, and have a couple weeks to prep. PMs welcomed.

thanks!
 

Nickziegler

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Dec 28, 2015
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Wisconsin
Not sure if you are talking a test or interview. Either way short honest answer are your best bet. Don't babble on too long

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coloyooper

coloyooper

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Not sure if you are talking a test or interview. Either way short honest answer are your best bet. Don't babble on too long

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Thanks. Essentially a panel interview with people of different positions and ranks throughout the FD.
 

Gunnersdad49

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Feb 21, 2017
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Colorado
Remember that they are interviewing someone they may have to live in the same house with for 48 hours at a time, and trust their lives to. Be honest, be likable.
 

rcfireninja

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Jun 10, 2016
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Look up information on the city and department your applying for. Know info like

Mission Statement:
Prepare, Prevent, Protect

Core Values

Reliability, Service, Professionalism, Pride, Integrity, and Loyalty

which are ours. Be able to use these phrases when asked questions on what makes your the best for the job. Or what qualities a ff should have.
When asked what you’ve done to prepare for the job list all the education, training, courses, certs, and physical conditioning you’ve done. Know current and relevant events going on. Be honest with the board and yourself on why you want the job. If you have any other questions can pm me.


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JFK

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Sep 13, 2016
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A few pointers that helped me in the oral board process.

-Practice the common questions as much as possible. I used to record myself on my phone when driving to and from work. Record yourself, listen to it, figure out what’s good and what sucks. Practice until you are confident in what you’re saying.

-Make your responses your own. Everyone has a different story, different experiences. If you answer the questions “correctly” but fail to bring in personal aspects into all/most of your responses the panel probably won’t have a good idea about who you are. Interesting, relevant stories are a big way to make a positive impact on the panel.

-Don’t sell other life/work experiences short. So many people only focus on work experience that’s only fire related. In reality, a lot of the stuff you can talk about in the “what have you done to prepare yourself” question starts well before you decided this was the job for you. Play team sports? Work in a customer service field? Background in the trades that gives you a good understanding of tools and building types? You can and should talk about that stuff as long as it’s concise and relevant to the question asked.

-If you are new to the fire service make sure you understand the chain of command. So many very basic situational questions hang guys up who deviate from it and start making weird stuff up.

-Smoke Your Firefighter Interview is a good book. It helped me When I was interviewing and I’d highly suggest it.

-If you have the ability to do a mock (practice) interview at a full time paid dept, do it. Get critical feedback BEFORE you sit down for the big interview.

-Do as many station visits at the dept you’re trying to get hired at will allow. You will learn things that can’t be learned off websites, and it will show in your interview. Dress formal, bring some kind of food (ice cream, good coffee, etc) and come with some questions you have prepared. You will very likely get the best info/advice in this setting and you never know if one of the guys will be on your panel

-Don’t give up. It’s well worth it once you have the job, make it through the academy and probation. I did it a little later than some at age 30 and it was the single best decision of my life.

PM me if you have any questions. Good luck!
 

Elnicko

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Jul 7, 2016
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^ This dude nailed it. One thing I will add is, at the end of the interview when they ask you if you have anything else to add, have something to say. Don’t just thank them (do that too), tell them why you are the best candidate and why you want the job. When we’ve done interviews, this is one thing that sets people apart from the crowd. Good luck!
 
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bbell

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JFK nailed it pretty good. I will say that when I was getting close to being done with medic school I did a ton of studying for the interviews. I did internet searches and talked to everyone I could on what questions they were asked. I think I had a list of around 200 questions. I went through each one and made sure I had an answer to fit them. What I found was that there were about 10 different questions that was phrased a million different ways.

Then the real fun of being a probationary firefighter starts. 😀
Good luck and keep pushing.
 
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coloyooper

coloyooper

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CO
Thank you all for the advice. I’ve got about 10 days to prep. I'm about two hours from the station and work full time with a family at home, so unfortunately scheduling station visits won't be able to happen. I have begun working on opening/closing statements as well as studying/reviewing/rehearsing interview questions I've found online. I've written down stats and notes about the department, its area and its specialties and plan to bring them up in the interview. Rokslide is truly a great resource. I appreciate you all!
 

Loebs

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Sep 22, 2017
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Florida
I can't add a whole lot to what has already been said, all great advice. One thing that sticks out to me is when a candidate ask a question. It can be about anything on the dept. But as long as it's genuine and not something you can glean off the job description, it shows you have more than just a passing interest. Why are you excited to specifically work for xyz fire department.

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srfdmatty

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Norcal
First of all good luck! Its a great career and you won't be disappointed. It's great to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work.
Most the guys above nailed it already. Especially JFK. Practice your versions of the answers to the most common questions over and over again until the answers become second nature and natural.
Have a good story to tell about when you provided great customer service. Be a good story teller.
Don't forget that your previous life/ job experience prior to the fire service is really important. It shows maturity and a good round knowledge of how the world works. Especially if you have history in the trades.
In the end thank them and tell them why you want to work there. Tell them why you are the best candidate for the job.
One of the best interviews I sat in on the candidate at the very end told us that he wanted to work at our FD because it was a great agency with great character and a great reputation. He said he wanted to work in the fire service for an agency where his two daughters could be proud of the work he does. He said his daughters would be proud to see him put on our uniform each morning. I wanted to give him a helmet and badge right there so he could be part of our family. He currently works for us and is a stellar employee.
Be genuine, stick to good moral and ethical decisions, follow the chain of command and have fun!
Good luck! Keep us posted!!

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100%DIYazCOUES

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JFK was spot on. Only thing I’d add is to be honest and humble. I think a big mistake people make is to try overly hard to make themselves sound good. I think most departments just want an honest answer over an oversell. Google fire oral board questions, and have a direction you want to go for every question you can find, but don’t try to rehearse answers word for word. They’ll know and it’ll likely backfire. And last, practice in front of people that care enough to be brutally honest with you.
It’s a great career, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Good luck! For many it takes multiple tries to get on big departments, don’t give up!
 

Travis Bertrand

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I had good success with Eatstress.com


Biggest thing is you NEED to stand out. there are a ton of people that want the job and guess what, after sitting on a panel, they all blend together. you need to capture your panel, make them put their pens down and look at you. You do this by standing out in a good way. Put a story to the questions they ask you, make it personable and be honest...
GOOD LUCK
 

choovhntr

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Northern CA
Lots of great info here. I will also add to take every test you can If you are able. Nothing can prepare you for a test better than taking one. Also, keep after it. Just because you got your fire science degree, or just finished EMT or medic school, don’t think your done. Departments love to see candidates that are passionate and continue to better themselves for the job. If you haven’t done something in the past 2-6 months to better your resume, then you should try to change that. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Go the extra mile to separate yourself. Finally. And I hate to beat a dead horse here, but take the advice everyone has given here and be honest and respectful. We live with each other 1/3-1/2 of our lives. MOST people (I’ve found some exceptions through the years) can be taught the physical requirements of the job, but the culture is so much more than that. Check any bullshit and ego at the door. Take pride in yourself and make sure your are dressed for the part. Lastly, have an open mind towards others, be eager to work, and be yourself. Good luck with everything!
 

HONEYBADGER

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Jun 27, 2012
Messages
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If it's a promotional type interview, those decisions are usually made long before the interview occurs.

The politics and hand jobbing that occur in the years before the interviews are where the game is won.
 

HuntHarder

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Phoenix, Az
Make sure you say brother and Savage a ton! Don't forget to tell them how good of a cook you are.
J/k, I think JFK pretty much nailed some good pointers. I'm assuming you've spent many days at some local stations. Go back to the one you are most comfortable with and do some mocks with some of the guys.
 
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