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  1. #1
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    Default Help me win my argument.

    My friend thinks that it will help him to get on in a civil service department if he knows someone who works at that department.

    I'm assuming this is false. How can I back this up or am I the one who is wrong?

    Aren't civil service tests administered by people outside of the city?

    What about cities that aren't civil service... would knowing someone in those departments help you at all?


  2. #2
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Sometimes people day dream and want something to happen so bad, they actually start to believe it.

    Tell your buddy there is no absolute and its different everywhere. Knowing someone on the inside might be nice, but a bad bet when trying to get a badge.

    Everybody knows somebody, but there is no guarantee.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-29-2009 at 08:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member FireEeyore's Avatar
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    A lot of my aunts, uncles, etc, are trying to give me hints and tips on how to get on with fire departments. ( With no experience in this field at all)

    I recently completed my Fire/EMS certs and I am in the job hunt. You should see my wall. I have about 500 post it notes with Application/test/physical dead lines.

    I wish I could honestly beleive that there is no foul play when it comes to the hiring processes at most departments. Although, I will admit that from what I have seen it is pretty much whoever is the fastest, smartest etc gets hired.

    We'll see! Maybe I'll know more when I get hired.

    It is frustrating to listen to my family and others advise I go suck up to the fire chief and try to work from the inside out. I just can't see that working in my favor at all.

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    Knowing someone in HR in Los Angeles County is almost the only way to get a reasonable test date these days. I would believe that most lottery oriented selecting departments could be easily swayed from the inside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xstalkrx View Post
    My friend thinks that it will help him to get on in a civil service department if he knows someone who works at that department.

    I'm assuming this is false. How can I back this up or am I the one who is wrong?

    Wanna know for sure???


    Get hired on the dept he has relatives working for before he does....That will prove you were right....correct?

    Otherwise keep applying for jobs elsewhere while he only applies for one he has realtives and see who gets hired first. Either way it doesn't really matter, if he gets hired on a dept with relatives, he can claim that, if not oh well. What matters if whether or not you get the job.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireEeyore View Post
    I wish I could honestly beleive that there is no foul play when it comes to the hiring processes at most departments. Although, I will admit that from what I have seen it is pretty much whoever is the fastest, smartest etc gets hired.

    It is frustrating to listen to my family and others advise I go suck up to the fire chief and try to work from the inside out. I just can't see that working in my favor at all.
    Good observation.

    Anythingís possible. There are many hurdles and a lot flaming hoops to jump through to gain that badge. Too many have hung their hats on someone on the inside is pulling strings only to find out someone else who had no contacts just flat out did better on the final list. More things to take into consideration can you pass a poly, psych evaluation (up to 40% fail) or background?

    One of the worst moves Iíve seen is a candidate will mention in their oral their father other relative or name drops believing this gives them an advantage. The panel can take that as asking for special treatment or points, or the personís name they drop in not liked by at least one panel member.

    You certainly want to place yourself in the best position possible so they canít go around you. You canít even take a test if you donít first meet the minimum requirements. Is it an EMT or medic position?

    Take as many tests as you can because the more test you take the better you get at taking tests. Then, when this test you really want to make the cut high enough comes along youíre ahead of the curve for serious consideration.

    ďLuck is given to the preparedĒ Thomas Jefferson
    Last edited by CaptBob; 01-31-2009 at 01:14 PM.
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  7. #7
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default Inside job

    Just because you have someone on the inside doesn't mean your in. I 've given oral interviews for the Department I worked for and Firefighters kids failed this part.....they completely froze up and could not answer the questions. So just because you have someone on the inside does not mean your a shoo-in.
    Respectfully,
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Just because you have someone on the inside doesn't mean your in. I 've given oral interviews for the Department I worked for and Firefighters kids failed this part.....they completely froze up and could not answer the questions. So just because you have someone on the inside does not mean your a shoo-in.
    Jay calls it right.

    I talked with a LA County Captain recently. His son was taking the LA County test. During his oral, a guy the captain had worked with from day one was on his sons oral panel. He didn't pass. When his dad talked to the guy later he told him he just couldn't or didn't know what he needed to say to score high enough to make the cut.

    "Nothing count's 'til your get the badge . . . Absolutely nothing!!!)

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    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    One time I was doing a major FD test with a good friend. I mentioned something to him about the large number of appicants and monster competetion. He told me this- "Bou, I forget about them. Its just me vs. the department, thats it. I phase everyone else out and focus on the prize."

    Smart words to test by. Dont let all of the other factors, rumors, hail marys wig you out.

  10. #10
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default Been there

    I to have seen 6,000 in line with me when I took my test for Long Beach. At the beginning of the test I stood up and the whole floor of the arena was filled with bodies. When you start thinking of the others then you are lost. Keep focused and worry about how you do....not the others. When the dust settled...I was 26 on the list. Good luck!!
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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    I encourage candidates to psych themselves up on game day. Knowing they will be more prepared than 90% of those testing. At the written an oral stay away and don't talk with other candidates. They could say something that could throw off and psych them out off their game plan.

    One candidate said he talked to some friends at a written test. They asked him if he got his results from another test they had taken. He hadn't! He said it threw him in a tailspin effecting his concentration. Two days later the results from the test arrived in the mail.

    Another candidate started talking to another candidate in the holding pen for his oral one day. Found out the guy was a scientist. He thought, WOW, how can I compete with a scientist? This psyched him out and threw off this presentation. He realized later that he was more than qualified, regrouped, and 2 tests later was hired. Who knows what happened to the scientist?

    When I was testing I came out 21 on my first test. Then, number 18, 12, 8, 4 and the last two tests number one. In the process I stumbled on something that helped me, friends and many others since get hired.

    "Captain Bob" www.eatstress.com

  12. #12
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    Talking

    Dude, to be honest, I HATE hearing the namedroppers say stuff like your buddy is saying. And honestly, it doesn't help at all. Trust me. I have tried it in the past, getting to know someone on the department, and hanging out with them and whatnot. But in the long run, it's like a couple of other guys have said, it comes down to you, and the interviewing panel, and if they like you or not, and if you have what they are looking for.

    Around my neck of the woods, (Detroit area), the job competition ring goes something like this depending on the type of department that is hiring:

    If Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, or Saginaw are testing, expect there to EASILY be upwards of 3000 candidates show up. The reason is because these are fairly good size departments that do not really have any training qualifications, and do a lot of firefighting...(well Saginaw, Detroit and Flint at least; Grand Rapids isn't as busy)

    If a smaller department is testing that requires Firefighter I&II and Basic EMT and Haz-Mat Operations level certificates as a minimum, just to apply, expect 300 candidates to show up.

    If a suburb Department that is an ALS department is taking apps, and they require FFI&II, EMT-Paramedic, along with HAZ-Mat Ops and your CPAT, just to apply, expect there to be about 30 applying and testing

    I think you get my drift. Bigger departments give you a hell of a lot of competition, while smaller BLS and ALS departments are not as bad. This is obviously due to how few ALS trained people there are out there that want to be FFs. Not saying there arn't a lot, but for every medic/ff applicant, there are probably 1000 Joe Schmo's off the street applying for the big cities.

    I know it's a lot of applicants dreams to work for the big guys, but sometimes it just doesn't work out and the sooner people realize that and get on with their schooling, the closer they'll be to getting that badge. And you can always switch departments eventually if you're not happy. (Not easy, but it can be done)

    I'm not saying give up on this by any means, just letting you know that it will be about 1000x harder to get on that big city department than a suburb department.

    But, you will probably get more fires on the big city, as I'm sure you know.

    Also, the big cities are usually the ones who (coincidentally or not), you see hiring sons, nephews, daughters, and family of guys who had worked for that department in the past. Right wrong or indifferent, it's just the way it is.




    My advice is that you need to take the road less travelled. Look at all of your buddies and people you know who are NOT hired yet and have been done with their schooling for years. Look at what they are doing, or better yet what they are NOT doing.

    Around Detroit, and I'm sure a lot of other places, the thing you see a lot of guys doing is getting on a volunteer department, working private EMS or at the hospital, and staying in school for whatever (beyond Firefighter I&II, EMT-B or medic, and Haz-Mat ops).....

    Not saying that's a bad route at all, but the way I look at it is that there are literally 1000's of guys like that out there who really are gonna look like a mirror image of each other and bore the interviewing panels to death.

    My advice is this; learn a trade. Go out and work in the real world. Get your hands dirty. Pick something you like. I picked Carpentry and Cement/Masonry/Bricklaying, but you can do anything. Welding, Plumbing, Electrical, doesn't matter. Keep volunteering on the volly Fire Dept. and picking up contingent shifts EMS here and there, but once fire school is done, keep working that trade. Firefighting is a blue collar job that is about gettin your hands dirty and whatnot. It's not going to change either. Plus, it gives you something you can do on the side after you get hired.

    Showing the interview panel, that yes, you are doing what all the other guys are doing (volly FF, workin as a basic or medic) is good. But to set you apart from the crowd, that you are not afraid of work, is what I think can help you in the long run. I'm not saying stop training or continuing to get certifications in whatever you can, but keep working too man.

    Buck the trend, don't follow the route that you see a lot of guys taking and hoping they get picked up somewhere. Focus on you. Fawk the other guys. It's war from here on out and only the stong survive.

    If getting a full time professional firefighting job was easy, everyone would have one. Kinda like working. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

    Just my $0.02
    Quote Originally Posted by jedch47 View Post
    You like me are probably just a small player in this big EMS game. I am sure that it all makes sense to the people in charge. I am under the impression that when you start in upper level managment you lose the majority of your common sense.

  13. #13
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    Zach I hear your frustrations. Its hard to say that if you know someone you will get hired easier, or if you have a certain degree you will get hired easier. Its such a crap shoot. I just read an article that people in Miami stood in line for over 2 days just to turn in an app. Crazy times. I know that when I got hired what helped me stand apart from the competition was my diverse background. I had done alot of different things in my life, traveled, worked, volunteered, worked at my church, etc...etc... and I know that having a broad background for me helped. But I obviously didn't get hired everywhere I tested so that means everyone is different. Sure there are some basic items that will help you get noticed, (EMT, FF1, Volunteer, Past Full-time Exp, Etc...) but nothing guarantees a job. I know that a friend of mine who just got hired wasn't by any means the most qualified he was just the most prepared for the interviews, physical tests, and psych. I volunteered with a guy who had been testing for 10 years!!! He had more certs and exp. than all of us other vollies put together but when he got to his interviews he would drop the ball. All this to say that no two depts. are the same, work hard, get good experience, don't turn down experiences, stay out of trouble, meet people in the service who can mentor you, and work on the testing process for when you do get the call.
    CL

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