1. #1

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    Arrow Unusual hiring process... challenge?

    Hello there, thanks in advance for reading this. If you choose to comment please read it all first :P And by the way sorry for writing a book about it!

    This post is about something that happened to me recently during a testing process. I AM NOT posting on here with the intent to complain, bicker, or whine about what happened. In the end, I know that if I want a good fair world I can go to the county fairgrounds in the fall. Basically, I'm just confused and thought I'd see what fellow testers think of this and/or find out if anyone else has ran across this scenario before.

    I'll start off with some background.

    I'm around the age of 20 and from the Northwest, where I've been testing and volunteering for roughly the last year. Late last year ('08) I signed up for a regional test that allows you to pay for your test results to be sent to as many eligible departments as you can afford. I signed up for a few, not knowing the score I'd get. I scored well, and in January I got 2 oral board invites. Great experience, but for departments creating eligibility lists with no intent to hire this year (gotta love the economy).

    I, probably like many of you guys/gals currently testing, make an effort to check my mailbox everyday. About a week ago I saw the mailman drive by, so I went out to get my mail. Right on top of the stack of bills was a letter from a city department that's been one of my dream departments to work for since I was in diapers. I ripped it open, and to my delight got the news that I was one of the top 40 scoring candidates. I continued reading, and discovered that there was only 20 interview slots available.

    The letter stated that in order to get one of the slots I would have to be one of the first 20 candidates to send an email to the city confirming my reciept of the letter. I ran inside, got on my laptop and fired off my email, confident that I did it fast, efficiently, and to the right email address. FOUR minutes later I got a reply saying that I was not one of the first 20 but will be added to a waiting list. I was confused, and definitely a little bummed. I sat around for a few minutes, and than decided to check the envelope for the postmark date. It was dated one week exactly to the date I received it.

    I've been bummed in my testing endeavors before, but I make an effort to take each defeat and make it into a learning experience so I can do better the next time. The only thing is, what can I learn from this? I scored well on the written, passed the physical agility test, and sent the email back within 5-10 minutes of getting the letter. The only problem I can see is that it took me 7 days to get a letter in the mail from a city less than an hour from where I live. That is what disqualified me from not getting a chance at an oral board from this department. What about the candidates from out of state? Or a candidate (possible) who doesn't have email? I also realize there's a chance 20 other candidates did the same exact thing I did but pressed the 'send' button 2 minutes faster than I did.

    So, I was, and still am at a stump for what to do. I spoke with a few career firefighters at the department I volunteer at and a few other non fire-service people, including my family. So far everyone has agreed that this was weird, and not right. Many of them suggested I 'protest' or 'challenge' it.

    As of now, I'm thinking I have a four choices:

    1- Forget about this, but keep giving 110% effort into testing, improving my knowledge and becoming a better firefighter and EMT.

    2- Write a professional/courteous letter to the city (still not sure what I would say, and don't want to hinder potential future opportunities with this particular department), keep giving 110% effort into testing, improving my knowledge and becoming a better firefighter and EMT.

    3- Write a letter to the testing agency,keep giving 110% effort into testing, improving my knowledge and becoming a better firefighter and EMT.

    4- Talk to my mailman and ask him to deliver the mail to my house first, keep giving 110% effort into testing, improving my knowledge and becoming a better firefighter and EMT.

    Bottom line, I'm not upset or angry, and either way I will continue putting 110% effort into my tests and my quest to be a professional firefighter. I've had a few setbacks before, but no matter what I will stay focused and keep an upbeat and positive attitude.

    Thanks for reading, thanks in advance for your input/advice, and good luck to everyone else working hard to get into the best line of work there is in this world.

  2. #2
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    I would say that it is a strange situation there. My choice would be to contact HR and see why they choose this particular route to do the interview process. From there you could make your informed choice with your options listed.

    While a first come first served situation works sometimes, a hiring process is not a good place for it. I am not an expert by any means but this may violate EOE. That would be something to check up on.

  3. #3
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    Default job offer

    Goose....everyone has their own way of doing their hiring. This seems to be the way this department is doing theirs. I feel that there is no reason you can't call their H.R. Department and voice your opinion on why there was a delay in your application. However with that said I think that is aa far as it should go. Calling and complaining to the Fire Chief wil do you no good and will hurt your chances on getting hired. Use it as a learning experience and move on.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  4. #4
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    Did some research for you, and while this is not a violation of EOE, it may fall into a category listed below.This is directly from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel website.

    What are "prohibited personnel practices?"

    Twelve prohibited personnel practices, including reprisal for whistleblowing, are defined by law at § 2302(b) of title 5 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). A personnel action (such as an appointment, promotion, reassignment, or suspension) may need to be involved for a prohibited personnel practice to occur. Generally stated, § 2302(b) provides that a federal employee authorized to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action may not:

    (1) discriminate against an employee or applicant based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicapping condition, marital status, or political affiliation;

    (2) solicit or consider employment recommendations based on factors other than personal knowledge or records of job-related abilities or characteristics;

    (3) coerce the political activity of any person;

    (4) deceive or willfully obstruct anyone from competing for employment;

    (5) influence anyone to withdraw from competition for any position so as to improve or injure the employment prospects of any other person;

    (6) give an unauthorized preference or advantage to anyone so as to improve or injure the employment prospects of any particular employee or applicant;

    (7) engage in nepotism (i.e., hire, promote, or advocate the hiring or promotion of relatives);

    (8) engage in reprisal for whistleblowing – i.e., take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant because of any disclosure of information by the employee or applicant that he or she reasonably believes evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety (if such disclosure is not barred by law and such information is not specifically required by Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs – if so restricted by law or Executive Order, the disclosure is only protected if made to the Special Counsel, the Inspector General, or comparable agency official);

    (9) take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a personnel action against an employee or applicant for exercising an appeal, complaint, or grievance right; testifying for or assisting another in exercising such a right; cooperating with or disclosing information to the Special Counsel or to an Inspector General; or refusing to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law;

    (10) discriminate based on personal conduct which is not adverse to the on-the-job performance of an employee, applicant, or others; or

    (11) take or fail to take, recommend, or approve a personnel action if taking or failing to take such an action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; and

    (12) take or fail to take a personnel action, if taking or failing to take action would violate any law, rule or regulation implementing or directly concerning merit system principles at 5 U.S.C. § 2301.

    I would think that your situation described falls under section 6.

  5. #5
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    Default The way it is...

    Goose,

    First off, let me say I am by no means an expert in getting hired, having a career position (yet), or interpreting the law when it comes to the practices of hiring personnel...that being said, I am a business owner and a volunteer FF and at best I can say it's not a fair world and sometimes it seems like the cards are stacked against those of us who play by the rules!

    I completely understand what you're feeling and after reading your post what I get from you is a little bit of frustration with the process and not whining about this situation! I for one have been frustrated many times in trying to apply/get hired for a career position and know what you're feeling.

    Seeing you're in you early 20's actually impressed me with your level-headedness, attitude, spelling and puncutation. (yes, those matter). I read a lot of posts on here that exclude all the above and they are posted by people who are many years your senior, paid or otherwise...for that I applaud you. I personally would not pursue any of the choices you listed except the one about the 110% in gaining knowledge/skills, being a better FF, etc...

    I say keep plugging away, with an attitude like yours it is just a matter of time...

    Good Luck!

  6. #6
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    Default I feel for ya.

    Im. sorry that happenedto you. I dont agree thatthis was at all ethical or fair. If a fire Department wants to hire the most qualified person. I do not think this is the way to go. I've been trying and I cant score high enough to get an interview yet even if I did score high enough. I would feel destroyed knowing that my hard work of studying had finally payed off just for it to all go to waste to some booksmart nerd living in Moms basement that spends all of his time studying and checking the mail. Absolutely lifes not fair. I dont even know if the fire service is fair. Sucks to be you dude. I hope this doesnt happen to me. P.S. The 18 year old lives next to the post office and is getting hired.

  7. #7
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    Definitely an unfair situation. I'm 20 and I've been testing for 2 and a half years. I've applied to 14 departments, been rejected 9 times and I'm currently in the process with 5. I've seen some things that I've thought were unfair but that's just the way it goes. I definitely understand where you're coming from but just keep your head up and keep trying and don't let it negatively impact you. If anything, use the experience to motivate you even more. If you truly want to become a career firefighter then just keep busting your butt and you'll get hired. Things will work out the way they're meant to.

  8. #8
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    First of was there any indication that such a process would take place to determine an interview?

    I have applied for a dept that did state that you had to apply in person and if there were more than X number of applicants that those moving on would be randomly chosen. I moved on, but a friend of mine didn't. However we knew that going into the process because it was stated on the application letter.

    That said, I do agree with the contacting of HR. They are really the ones in charge of the application process and do have a hand in the interview process and so forth. Such issues should be addressed, because you're right, some people don't have internet and some could be from out of state and so forth. If anything they should inform applicants of such a process beforehand and voicing that could change that.

    Keep plugging away though, there are other depts and don't fix yourself on one dept. I also understand the economy is against many people right now and many depts are looking to hire, but they will. I played the same game after 9/11, many depts did testing and created lists, but never hired, but I definately learned to improve my interviewing skills etc.
    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.

  9. #9
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    My first inclinination:
    The letters were run through their postage meter and then a select top 20 were actually mailed out.
    In other words, the deparment had in mind who they wanted in their top 20 and were able to manipulate the outcome by mailing out those envelopes first before the rest in order for those individuals to be the first 20 to contact them via email.
    This is all MY opinion and conjecture. But it seems really odd and too convenient for them.

    Good luck in the future.
    Let this one go.
    There's no way to prove this whackjob theory.

  10. #10
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    Default Summer Job at FD

    Dear colleagues,

    my name is Jakub Morávek and I am a voluntary fifefighter in the city of Chrudim in the Czech Republic. I study Security and Strategic Studies at Masaryk University in Brno. I would like to spend the summer 2009 in the United States. I am looking for a job for June and August and it has always been my dream to work at a fire department in the U.S.

    As regards my prerequisites I have an international driving licence for trucks and trailers including fire engines and engineering licence for handling of fire and civil trucks. A have also a training in breathing apparatus and first aid and certificates in these.

    I am aware of the fact that it is difficult for you to put me on the position of a firefighter. So I am prepared to do any kind of work at your fire department (washing hoses, cleaning the station or preparing the equipment and the engines for alert operations).

    Please inform me whether you would be able to employ me for a summer job at your department.

    With best regards,

    Jakub Morávek
    Chrudim, the Czech Republic

    Email: coudy150@seznam.cz
    Phone: +420723376827
    Web: http://sdh-chrudim.cz/

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