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  • Testing

    Hi all, is it true getting a firefighting job is mostly political? Several depts I've applied for seem to already know who they want to hire. I'm new to the testing process but the few tests I took was pretty much based on who you knew not exactly how well you did. I am into testing everywhere and anywhere I can but would rather apply for a department where everyone is on the same level kind of. Are big cities like that? Any advice on places that don't have who they want to hire already in mind?

  • #2
    Mike,
    While there may be some jobs awarded to people who may not have been “the best candidate,” I would encourage you to control what you can control.

    Become the best qualified candidate you can be, make sure you are in top physical condition, get fire science education, become a reserve firefighter, become an EMT, and learn how to take a fire department interview.

    Knock on the door of the local firehouse and find out what they suggest you do to get a job. Take the time to learn about the process. It is important to become the candidate that fire departments are looking for, rather than taking every examination under the sun.

    When you say you have tested for fire departments, where are you falling down? If it is the physical agility, get in better shape. If it’s the written examination identify WHERE you have difficulty. If it’s math enroll in a math class. If you have difficulty with the interview, knock on the door of the local firehouse and ask if they will give you some guidance on the interview.

    When you say that the jobs were given to people based on who they knew I would ask you to qualify this statement. Were the people they knew ones who had become involved with the department as a volunteer or a reserve firefighter? If so, they DESERVED THE JOB. How would you feel if you invested a lot of time and effort in a department and the job was given to an outsider?

    Having personal knowledge of a candidate is HUGE. We all want to hire someone who will fit into our organizations. Hiring an unknown is a gamble.

    Become the one that the department knows. Get involved. Volunteer to help with community events, BBQ’s for the community or anything you can do to interact with the department.

    Now that you have a better feel for what it takes to EARN a job, put a plan in place.

    Good luck,
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

    Comment


    • #3
      You Can Do It!

      Miked2424,
      I hear from a lot of people that say the opposite of what you are saying. I get calls from people that are the ones that know all of the people and have been told they were in, just take the test. Then a guy no one has heard of comes from out of town and blows the doors off of his interview. He gets the job and the chosen ones, the reserves, the locals; the relatives of the captains and chief are left shaking their heads.

      The point I am trying to make is that it is easy to make excuses but it really does come down to your interview skills. Now I know there may be exceptions but for the most part being the guy on the inside only goes so far, no matter how big the department.

      If you test for a larger department, they will probably be hiring more people, but the competition is greater. With the proper education, work experience and things you have done in you life like volunteer work, you can get hired anywhere.

      With most tests having the oral interview the most important part, that is were you need to concentrate. If you can get a good presentation that will get you the best score you could get, and you take enough tests to prefect your skills you may even be able to pick for those departments you described above.

      Good Luck, Capt Rob
      [email protected]
      www.myfireinterview.com
      (707)869-1330
      Good Luck, Capt Rob
      www.myfireinterview.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi there Chief Lepore.. I am not sure whats going wrong. I'll take the written and pass it, pass the physical abilities test, do well on the interview, pass the background and the last interview (w/ the Chief) but get a call or letter saying thanks for applying, we have selected another candidate but your application will remain on file for a year. Actually, the departments weren't volunteer, just a lot of CO's relatives,etc, thats what I am not getting. But I've been doing all the things you said, stay fit, half way through fire science courses, have EMT-I, just trying to pinpoint what I am doing wrong.

        Also Chief forgot to add what really made me think about it was, I applied at a local department(town over anyway) and had went to the Chiefs oral dressed in a suit like everyone says to, and after my interview was a man scheduled well I noticed he was wearing a polo shirt, shorts and sandals, and found out he was one of the five that got the job(interviewed 40 for 5 positions). Now I know its NOT my place to say anything, especially as a new guy trying to get hired but it struck me as strange.
        Last edited by miked2424; 09-14-2006, 12:50 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Firefighter Rob,
          Im just getting confused on where I may be going wrong. I'm going through the testing process and passing it but just not getting the final job offer. I do good on the written, the agility, the first oral interview, and then do a background check and then the Chiefs oral (on the depts I applied to anyway). I have volunteer experience, EMT, and a few fire science courses, thats why I was thinking maybe these depts already had who they want in mind. Is that pretty common?

          Comment


          • #6
            As I said above you are not unique. You are probably missing out on those jobs by very little. The city of Santa Rosa called in the top 10 on their list and there were 76 people in the group. With questions divided into tenths and hundredths of points you may have missed some by less than one point.

            Finding the best ways to describe your qualifications and experiences is where I see most people making their mistake. There are things you have done in you past that may earn you those points. Things that might get you some extra points are: Jobs you had before being 18, being an Eagle School, volunteer work, customer service, positions you held as a volunteer firefighter, expressing a desire to continue your education, possibly saying you have a desire to be a medic. May all count for a little or a lot, it depends on who is on you panel and what they are looking for.

            If you are testing for a department it is always a good idea to go and visit the stations. If you can talk to the last people they hired you can find out how they did it, they were the last ones to do it right. You can also find out if they are related to anyone that works there and if they had help. There definitely are departments out there that will hire who they want, but they are few and far between, and becoming rarer every day. With hiring laws the way they are they need to be able to show on paper why they hired this person and not another.

            If you are getting to the chief's interviews you are obviously on the right track. You may just need a little help to get up over the top. Or your next test could be the one where you are hitting on all cylinders and the chief likes you and throws a badge at you before you walk out the door

            Good Luck, Capt Rob
            [email protected]
            www.myfireinterview.com
            (707)869-1330
            Good Luck, Capt Rob
            www.myfireinterview.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FFighterRob
              As I said above you are not unique. You are probably missing out on those jobs by very little. The city of Santa Rosa called in the top 10 on their list and there were 76 people in the group. With questions divided into tenths and hundredths of points you may have missed some by less than one point.
              FFighterRob...
              Do you have any idea if those "10" you are referring to are for the current FF-Recruit or their FF-Lateral posting? I passed the polygraph a couple weeks ago and am dying for an update on whats going on there.

              Comment

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