Thread: Letters of Recomendation?
02-10-2009, 07:27 PM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
Letters of Recomendation?
Should I bring letters of recomendation to my interview to leave with my resume'. The letters would be from past insructors, vol. chiefs, county coordinators ect.
02-10-2009, 09:24 PM #2
In the past, I have presented LOR in a packet I give to the 1st oral board and then the Chief's oral.
02-11-2009, 12:05 AM #3
I used to make a packet up for the oral boards of each department that I interviewed for. I would try to find out beforehand how many raters were scheduled to be there and bring at least one extra, in addition to the one I would have for myself in the off-chance something inside was referenced.
At some departments, each member would graciously accept it. Some others just one was needed. On some occasions, not one was allowed to be accepted. And for a elite few, it was instructed to not bring one.
That said; letters of recommendation are nice for fluff. Is someone going to honestly write you a bad LOR?
Here's what I used to put in my oral board packets:
Cover sheet with the department's name
Resume specific to that department
Various training Certs (sometimes not always necessary depending on the dept)
And yes, a couple LOR's (This would be the only place I would insert/submit them.)
All bound in a decent cover on good paper, the resume printed on heavy bond resume paper. These can be found at any Staples or office supply store.
When I made it to a Chief's interview, I would print out the cover page with the Chief's name on it.
Somewhere in here I said something about letters of recommendation.
02-11-2009, 10:36 AM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
I am not a big fan of letters of recommendation. While I will usually read them when I sit as an evaluator on an oral board, I know that you only brought the ones that made you look good. They all say the same thing; The candidate is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I find that many people are guilty of not being able to tell someone that they are NOT willing to write a letter for them. Anyone who writes a letter should have first hand knowledge of the individual. It amazes me how often I read a letter from someone who has met the candidate a few times and was impressed on the surface. When the candidate does not meet expectations and I speak to the person who wrote the letter, I am amazed to learn that the person was a friend of a friend.
Like I said, I do not put much stock in them.
On a personal note, I get asked to write them an a regular basis. My personal policy is to not write them.
02-11-2009, 02:00 PM #5
- Join Date
- Apr 2008
Out of four interviews, I've only had one opportunity to actually turn in letters of recommendation, and that department didn't hire me. The department I'm starting for soon asked me to place the folder I brought with me on the floor next to my chair as soon as I sat down for the interview. I don't think they had even seen my resume prior to that.
Letters of rec. aren't a big deal. As mentioned above, anyone can get them and they usually say the same thing. Bring them to your interview, but don't rely upon them to convey how much you deserve the job because the panel may just ask you to place all of that aside. The best thing my letters did for me was to give me confidence in knowing that some very good people, whom I respect and admire, think I deserve to get hired. Hopefully they do the same for you.
02-11-2009, 02:59 PM #6
I see that you used to do this. To the other people, I would highly NOT recommend putting all of your certs. in a presentation binder. There is no way a board has the time to thumb through those.
Besides, once hired, then the training section or Chief may ask you for such material. Save a tree and only give a few important documents.
02-11-2009, 03:21 PM #7
And you're right about that, the board not having the time to thumb through it....at least all the time. However sometimes there was. It feels good to be prepared for that IF it happens.
Appropriate certificates and a resume submitted with the original application (When indicated in the application or directions.)
I know often the rater may not even have the application in front of them to influence them one way or the other.
Biggest thing of course is being prepared to present yourself.
No amount of paper is going to really influence that decision.
Especially a letter of recommendation.
02-12-2009, 10:39 AM #8
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Question: Will it help to present letters of recommendations from prominent people, such as a former police chief or my Priest or other firemen in the area? Will it carry any weight at all?
Reply: On most oral boards, the raters are from other departments. It is my experience that although the raters might thumb through and glance at any attached documents they seldom if ever read them. And come on, if you're going to attach a letter of recommendation, its not going to say anything bad but only glowing words about you. Save a tree, the raters will not read these volumes. Don’t send us on a treasure hunt to find your great stuff.
I'm a one-page resume guy for entry level without a cover letter, not in a binder or folder. Do not give us a book. We will not read it. Write it believing the raters won’t go past the first page. You can put any supporting details, documents, certificates and if it will help you sleep better and letters of recommendation following the first page. Keep it simple.
Question: If you are going to attach any letters of recommendation following the first page how many is appropriate. I am thinking maybe two. I realize that there is a very good chance they won't read it but wouldn't it still look just a little better to have a couple of them?
Reply: How about none! Again, I'm a one page stand alone resume guy. Don't give me a book. And, if you have already listed your education, experience and certs on your application and resume, why do you need to attach them; unless they were requested or you're going to a chiefs interview where there is more time with each candidate.
Many entry level and promotional candidates have told me they were complemented on having just one, as in one page only, resume. More on resumes here: http://www.eatstress.com/resume.htm
As you know everyone becomes an expert on these issues. They will fill you head with all these crazy ideas and stuff. And because "They Said" (I've been trying to find "they" for 30 years) you needed to have all that extra stuff or the other candidates are going to get ahead of you. So, how is all this extra stuff going to help you, really? Keep it Simple.
From interview rater and contributing author BC Steve Prziborowski:
I'm with Captain Bob on this one - leave them at home! Personally, letters of recommendation really aren't worth much because it is very easy to get them (in my opinion and experience) and they're like a verbal recommendation of someone. Many times, people will say how great you are either to get rid of you or because they really don't know the true you.
On an oral panel, they don't have the time to look at them either. Every oral panel I have been on (on either side), there has usually not been much room for the rater's to utilize. There is usually a cramped table space with enough room for a rating sheet, and then maybe your application and/or resume, that's it.
You're getting graded at the oral for things you say, not for things that are written down. Remember if you don't say it, you probably won't get full credit for it. Dimensions you're getting graded on during oral interviews include oral communication, NOT written communication.
If the rater's are reading your paperwork, they're not listening to you - and that can be bad (remember if you didn't say it in the oral, you're not going to get full credit for it, even if it is on your resume). Having to read your resume and application while trying to make notes and comments on your rating sheet and keep their ears open to make sure you say all of the key phrases, buzz words, etc. is challenging enough. Throwing more paperwork in front of them (letters of recommendations, certifications, etc.) just convolutes the issue.
About the only time to include a letter of recommendation might be during the chief's oral (even that is an iffy time). Personally, if I was a chief, I really wouldn't put much weight on a letter of recommendation (and I know many chiefs that agree with me).
In my opinion, letters are letters. Whether they are from your boss, a friend, an acquaintance, etc. Whether they are saying how awesome you supposedly are, how great you performed at an event, etc.
Extra, unnecessary paperwork, that just takes away from what you're being graded for. During a background investigation, unless they ask for it, I wouldn't provide it. The background investigator has enough to deal with than have more paperwork._____________________________________________
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob"
02-14-2009, 06:21 PM #9
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
- idaho falls
Will bringing extra hurt?
I am curious also. Last interview I had I made a nice folder. and The chief told me dont even hand it to me thats what an interview is for and someone else looked over and said well Id like to take a look. My question is does it make someone hire you. If not go for it. I seriously wonder. Personally I would look at someone and think well at least they tried to be prepared, but I wouldnt look at their folder maybe just the resume that should summarize what in the folder. LOR's would tell me they made an effort to prepare and ask someone to give them a unreliable letter. I think LORs are a waste of time for alot of people. Kind of like sn applicatio asking for addresses of employers, schools and references when all the employer will use is the phone number. But by filling it out you look prepared. LORs mighjt be more than the other guy brang. So does it hurt?
02-14-2009, 07:26 PM #10
02-14-2009, 08:35 PM #11
02-14-2009, 10:31 PM #12
02-15-2009, 02:54 PM #13
For Pete's sake! I don't think this is rocket science here, folks.
As a general rule, the oral board interview is a good time to bring your résumé and letters of recommendation. The board will almost never look at these items, because their job is to rate your answers to their questions. More abstract judgments of character are to be made by the fire chief and possibly an assistant chief or two. The résumé and LORs will likely be passed on to HR (human resources), who will, in turn, pass them onto the chief. It's good to get these items in on the early side by turning them in at the oral board interviews, so that the chief(s) have a chance to look over them before the chief's interview, provided you make it that far.
I recommend submitting three LORs.Until you've been on a Harley-Davidson, you haven't been on a motorcycle
02-15-2009, 04:52 PM #14
02-15-2009, 06:57 PM #15
02-15-2009, 07:32 PM #16
I would like to throw out a side note on the LORs. Back in the 90s, I was very high up in the Las Vegas hiring process and was going to the "Hiring Interview". I asked my Chief to write me a LOR addressed specificlly to that department's Chief and process.
It looked sweet, served me well for the testing process and I scored pretty high. The only draw back was that state still has AA and I was not the demographic they were looking for.
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 02-15-2009 at 07:37 PM.
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