Jim's Oral Board Tips
The Thunder Rolls
They called down the Thunder, tell them they've got it!

Tell them you're coming, and Hell's coming with you.
1. Get a copy of the job description
2. Reduce the requirements down to bullets
3. Make a list of all the people in the rank you want you have ever known, good or bad.
4. Using the bullet list, identify the traits that made them good or bad.
5.Identify experiences in your career that speak to these traits.
6. One thing you may be asked is to identify your weaknesses. You need to be able to
speak frankly, and and identify your plan for compensating for these weaknesses.
7.  There are certain attributes that are universal to each position:

Personal credibility means you have credibility and leadership skills based on your personality, on who you really are.

Positional credibility means your credibility or leadership is ,limited by your position, in other words, without the position, you would have none.

You will have about five minutes per question.
There is nothing wrong with thinking before you answer.
There basically two types of questions, situational and theoretical.

Situational questions start out; "Tell us about a time..."

Theoretical questions generally start out; "You are a COIII on a Level IV yard...."

When you answer any question, answer it as if you WERE in the rank already. You have to KNOW that job description, not memorized, KNOW IT.

Answer each question thoroughly, don't just say "follow up," say how you would follow up.  Don't just say, "complete the actions taken."  What actions did you take and why.  Did they include making all required notifications, including the Chief of Security, Deputy Warden, Duty Officer, and Phoenix Central if an SIR is involved?

Don't say "IR" or "SIR" say "Information Report" or Significant Incident Report."


I would like to acknowledge two people who were instrumental in teaching me about oral boards.  All the thanks they ever wanted was that I share the information. 

Thank you Charles Flanagan and Chuck Goldsmith!

I will tell you all a little story about oral boards and being nervous.  When I was taking my Major's oral board, I had worked for every single person on the board.  Basically, to disqualify one was to disqualify all, but I was comfortable with who was on the board.  When I turned over the questions, I felt like they were playing a joke on me!  It was like I was being asked to describe my career!  I looked at the head of the oral board, and he smiled and said, "We thought the same thing when we saw the questions and saw your name on the list on those to be interviewed."

I Aced that Board..  You can too.

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