The Final Interview: Passing the Oral Boards
Printed with permission by Paul Julian
The Purpose of the Oral Board Exam
The oral exam can fit you in with the particular job that you are applying for, and gives personnel at the station in question a pretty good idea of whether or not you will be able to handle the pressures of the job.
Plenty of people can pass a written test. Even more than that can probably pass a physical agility test, but the oral board is what can set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
What to Expect from the Oral Board Interview
Contrary to popular belief, (and what your training buddies are telling you in attempts to try and scare you) the firefighter interview is not meant to put you on the spot and trip you up. It is about examining your potential to be a strong, worthy firefighter. This is a job where people are charged with the responsibility of saving homes and lives, and it is not fit for everyone, no matter how appropriate for the job a person thinks they are.
The firefighter board may ask any of a variety of basic interview questions, including but not limited to questions such as:
How has previous work experience or volunteer work prepared you for a job as a firefighter?
What part of your firefighter training do you think has best prepared you for this job?
Why do you want to be a firefighter?
What are your most positive strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
As it is with every job interview, the oral board interviewers will probably throw a few curve balls into the firefighter interview and ask you some questions that you did not expect. These may be follow-up questions to answers that you have given, so it is best to be as prepared for them as possible