Live with Drew from Fire Reviews (Q&A about the Oral Boards)

Drew From Fire Reviews

Last weekend we went live with Drew from Fire Reviews. If you don't follow him yet you should. He'll get you in the loop on the best fire products and companies. 

We talked for an hour, then cut it down to the best 30 min. to share with anyone who missed it. Here's the Q&A portion of the talk.

We get into:

  • What to bring to the interview

  • What to wear

  • Social media

  • How to answer the dreaded, "What's your biggest weakness?" question 

  • and more

If the video isn't loading use this link.

Enjoy and if you have any questions you want answered reach out on Instagram or Facebook.


P.S. Drew includes his discount code for the Firefighter Interview Training Course at the end of the video.

Interview Myths- What to do instead

Every minute you put into perfecting your interview is necessary and worth it. In our last post we addressed why these myths aren’t true now, let’s talk about what to do instead.

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MYTH #1: Its best to memorize your answers to common questions.

It’s not possible to practice 101 possible questions. Practice a few common questions until you feel comfortable answering them but, don’t practice reciting them word for word. Instead of memorizing dozens of answers, prepare a bank of information you can tailor for several different questions. Example: Practice telling a story of a time you excelled as a leader. Then, be prepared to use that story to answer questions such as: What is your number one strength? Or Tell me about a time you work as part of a team? Or What qualities can you bring to this department?

Make sure you’re answers are sounding natural and not robotic. Try recording yourself for a more accurate evaluation.

MYTH #2: The interview board will ask specific questions to get all the information they want.

You need to identify what information, stories, and character traits best sell you for the position and be prepared to share them. A helpful way to do this is by creating your ideal interview. Write down five questions you wish the interview board would ask you. Think of questions that allow you to easily share your most significant achievements and highlight your top qualities. Then, write down your answers. This is likely the information you need to figure out how to share. Now add a few random questions to the mix and try to include the bank of information you just came up with in your answers.

MYTH #3: Your answers are the most significant and most important factor in your interview.

We talked about the impact your nonverbal cues and reputation have on your interview. Take the time to watch this video from Amy Cuddy, then work on your body language. Now is also an excellent time to make sure your social media accounts will earn their respect.

MYTH #4: The interview board will hire the candidate with the most skills and experience.

Remember, everyone has life experience. It may not be pulling hose, but I guarantee you have team experience, leadership experience, physical fitness experience, problem-solving experience. The list goes on. Research your department and know precisely what types of experience they value most. And never doubt your ability to get hired based solely on fire experience.

MYTH #5: The interview panel holds all of the power and therefore dictates what you’re able to share.

Our tip here aligns closely with myth #2. Identify what your interview needs to know and tailor your answers to include it. If you pay attention to interviews on the nightly news, you’ll notice that any experienced interviewee already knows what they want to say. They will push their agenda regardless of what questions the host asks. This isn’t done by changing the subject rather, by carefully constructing your answers to both answer the question AND include the information you’ve already determined is a priority.

As we said before doing this right takes training and practice. That is exactly why we’ve created the Firefighter Interview Training Course. We realized that it isn’t always the best candidates that get hired but instead the candidates that interview the best. We don’t want you to get passed up (even though you’re the best person for the job) because you didn’t know how to execute an interview.

The firefighter interview course is a self-paced online course that teaches you exactly how to confidently and persuasively navigate your interview. Learn more here.

Mike and Rob,
TopScore Interview Coaches

P.S. The process is proven. Here is what a few other students had to say.

"I start academy on Feb 4!!! Thank you for helping me through this journey and coaching me. It made all the difference." -Megan

"This is my second time to go through Friscos' process. Yalls training has made the difference, this time I passed the interview and am on my way to a dream job."-Justin

"Words cannot begin to explain how grateful I am.” -Kevin Sepian

Avoid These Common Interview Pitfalls

Over the past 20 years we’ve talked with hundreds of candidates and have noticed five major interview myths that most candidates believe :

MYTH #1: It’s best to memorize your answers to common questions.

Perhaps the biggest thing to be aware of here is becoming robotic. Your interview board needs to see your passion for the job. If at any point you come across insincere they will no longer trust you. Memorizing your answers word for word holds the following challenges:

1. Once you sway slightly from your rehearsed answer you start to stubble while you try and get back on track.

2. When questions differ (and they will) from what you anticipated you get caught off guard.

Instead, you must have a bank of information prepared and be able to apply it to any question they ask. The TopScoreinterview system teaches you how to build this bank of information and use it properly.

MYTH #2: The interview board will ask questions to get all the information they want.

In most cases, all candidates are asked the same questions. Meaning the questions are not uniquely formulated based on your history and skills. Regardless, the interview board is relying on your answers to uncover who you are, your work ethic, your character, etc. The board expects the questions to be a starting point; from there you need to dig deep and share your top qualities. We call these your Marketing Priorities. In the next post we’ll share a quick exercise you can do to make sure you’re up for the challenge.

MYTH #3: Your answers are the most significant and most important factor in your interview.

Your answers are critical; however, if your posture, the tone of your voice, eye contact, and reputation don’t earn their trust, then it doesn’t matter how good your answers are, you won’t get the job. You must have your nonverbal signs dialed in. Do not neglect to practice these things.

MYTH #4: The interview board will hire the candidate with the most skills and experience.

Candidates with zero experience get hired every day over candidates with years of experience simply because the board believes they will complement the department better. If you have past fire experience that’s great. You should highlight it but, don’t rely on it to get you the job. Many departments will require you to go through their training no matter what experience you have. In this case, they are confident in their ability to teach you what you need to know. It’s your job to convince them you are capable of learning it and will fit well with the culture of the department. Learn how to be the most convincing candidate here.

If the department you’re interviewing for does not conduct an academy, then experience will be a more significant factor. You must study your department and understand their needs.

MYTH #5: The interview panel holds all of the power and therefore dictates what you’re able to share.

This is not true. You should have a list of items (character qualities, experience, etc.) identified before your interview that you are committed to sharing regardless of what questions they ask. Taking your interview to this level is what will set you apart from your competition. But, it takes training and practice to do it right.

In our next post we’ll address each myth again and provide a few tips about what to do instead.

We encourage you to join the conversation in a Facebook group created specifically for you as you pursue your career as a firefighter.

Mike and Rob,
TopScore Interview Coaches

P.S. If you want a simple yet powerful system to ensure you’re ready for your interview we’ve got you covered. Learn more here.

Making The Department Episode One - Rob Christensen

Rob Christensen- TopScore

Rob Christensen, co-founder of TopScore and Interview Coach, spent three years as a wildland firefighter and 23 and counting with his current city department. With 26 years on the job, he's experienced the most horrific and rewarding of calls. Despite the many close calls he's witnessed and experienced, as well as, the scenes he will never be able to forget, he would choose this career path over and over again every time.

In this audio, Rob shares his journey to a position with a city department; the lessons he learned, the obstacles he overcame and his advice for anyone currently in pursuit.



Here's some incredible footage of a house fire he fought alongside his brother. The house collapses right before the 16 min mark.

Making the Department

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The road to a full-time paid department is tough. It's often marked by many failures before success. It's a time when your character's tested. Your grit put on display. Your weaknesses revealed. And most importantly you're given an opportunity to grow.

How you respond to your challenges as a candidate and as a probie is a good indicator as to how you will be as a firefighter. The hiring process although frustrating at times is designed to find the candidates willing to work,
willing to persevere,
willing to push themselves,
willing to learn,
willing to fail and get back up, 
willing to be stretched,
willing to take criticism,
and willing to grow.

As a candidate, you're always a different person at the beginning of your journey than you are at the end. You've either matured or surrendered.

We want to celebrate the candidates turned probie, turned career firefighter and their journey of endurance, their lessons learned, their obstacles overcome, their success achieved and the goals they are still pursuing.

It's our goal that by sharing these stories every month you'll mature instead of surrender and endure in the pursuit of your career no matter the obstacles you face.

The stories to come, are of those who have been refined in pursuit of their dream and remain committed to the goal.

Listen to the first story, with Captain Rob Christensen, here.

The top 5 ways to score better than your competition on the firefighter interview

It’s no secret the competition is tight when it comes to testing for the fire department.  The biggest challenge candidates face when they get to the interview is standing out against their competition. After all, the oral board could be conducting hundreds of interviews.