1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    433

    Default Testing again after being laid off

    Has anyone on here had experience testing after being laid off from a professional fire position?

    We are staring grimly at the possibility of significant layoffs if we don't pass our EMS levy increase this coming November. We failed by 1.5% in the primary this past week (58.5% - needed 60% to pass).

    While I am confident we'll calibrate our message to the public and pass the vote this fall, I want to be pragmatic and prepared in the event we don't pass it...

    I have been a paid firefighter/EMT at a legitimate, respected suburban department for just over two years now. I have worked very hard, immersed myself in training, pride and tradition, and have embraced my "junior man" role beyond probation.

    My main question:

    In the event I do start testing again, how do I present myself to oral boards and chief's interviews? No matter what, I will show willingness to be a junior man, even a probie or recruit, and to learn things in the "way" of a prospective department. BUT, should I draw on my experience as a professional firefighter and the circumstances of my testing situation?

    While I know there will likely be other things that may help me (IAFF interlocal networking, FOOLS networking, etc.), ultimately the rubber will hit the road in the oral board...

    Thanks for any input!
    Last edited by powerhourcoug; 08-27-2010 at 12:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,901

    Default

    Yes have been there

    Yes blow your horn no one else will

    With today's economy the department should reliase there will be experinced people looking for jobs

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    213

    Default

    I am in the same boat. 6 yrs as a fire/ medic and then.. gone and forgotten. I did one interview and pushed my experience too hard, I am sure of. PRACTICE Interviews!! The hardest thing for me right now is staying positive and knowing I will get a better job. And I also am retesting for national registry ( which I chose not to renew), so that keeps me ****ed off and busy.
    Something will come around, experience has to matter.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,257

    Default

    When you complete an application for a new job, be sure to include all your training and certifications from the department in which, you may be, laid off.

    This will speak volumes over someone who hasn't been on the job and seeking their first.

    Interviewers look over applications and if they see where you have been a laid off member and coming in front of them,. they may ask you to elaborate on your training or why you can add to the new department with your knowledge and skills.

    Don't slam the old department! Don't talk more than what you are asked. This meaning, why were you laid off. It could have been you were one of the last hired there so you would be one of the first laid off.

    Dress well, clean suit, shirt, tie, shined shoes, bath, fresh haircut, brush the teeth. Watch what you eat the day or two before so no gas will be expelled. Get a couple of good nights sleep.

    Greet each interviewer, look at each as you answer their questions and thank them when you are finished and are about to leave the room
    Good luck.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    433

    Default

    Thanks folks.

    I'm cautiously optimistic this will all be in vain and we won't be laid off. Fingers crossed.

    And yes, I will definitely be brushing up on my interview skills. Good news is I've been hired once, and this time around I'm certain I'll be much more calm in confident in my oral boards.

    And no...I certainly wouldn't bash my department...I work for the best department, and the best crew in the world as it is

    If worse comes to worse I've considered doing some military time in the interim...special operations would be fun...

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    north of San Francisco
    Posts
    296

    Default

    When a person is testing and already working for another department it is as if they are taking a lateral test, while the others are taking an entry level test. The problem is that those evaluating you will need to decide if you are going to leave their department for a better one after you are hired there.

    The problem with hiring a person who has been laid off is that most will go right back to their old department as soon as they can. Who can blame them? Usually you get your seniority and status back. Possibly retirement, vacation, sick leave as well as a knowledge of the department and the people that work there. If you were laid off for six months and then came back, after another three years people would consider you a person with five years on and possibly be encouraging you to think about promoting. If you get on with a new department after a few months of testing and an academy then probation, in three years you would be considered a person with a couple of years.

    That being said, I think anyone testing would want to give a person who was in your position a hand. I would and I would hope others would do the same for me. You are on the right path in talking about learning the new department’s ways and being the new guy, as well as not bad mouthing your department. But at the same time you need to decide if you would return to your old department if they offered it to you, and how long you would be willing to wait. If you are married you need to decide with your wife what the plan is going to be.

    If I was you and I was looking at a lay off, no matter how slim the chance, I would start testing now. We all know how long the testing process can take. Also there are others in the same boat as you, so the advantage you would have because of your situation would not be unique. I don’t think there is a department anywhere that would hold testing against you. As firefighters we always want to have a plan “B”, something to fall back on if the situation changes or plan “A” didn’t work out.

    The class after mine was told they would be laid off back in 1989 and a lot of them went to previous jobs and set it up to return if things went bad. Things didn’t get that bad, but most were offered their old jobs, both in and out of the fire service.

    While being laid off is a terrible situation and there is nothing good about it, maybe a silver lining is that you can get onto a department that has more stable funding and will be more rewarding for you over the years. I would hate to get on with a department that then laid me off a second time, or went back to the old department and had it happen again. Hope this helps

    Good Luck, Capt Rob
    Last edited by FFighterRob; 08-28-2010 at 12:22 AM.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    473

    Default

    A firefighter that has been laid off is certainly looked at differently than any other candidate who we may interview that day. There is certainly a sentimental favorite that we want to take care of a brother firefighter. Having said that, nobody wants to hire someone who has a chip on his shoulder. You will be expected to come in at the bottom and earn your respect, just like any other new guy.

    The interview is, and always will be, the thing that will make or break the deal. Since you are already a firefighter you should be able to fare well with the questions because you have experienced much of what we will ask on the interview.

    Best of luck and start testing NOW!!!
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    2,471

    Default Lateral Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by powerhourcoug View Post
    ultimately the rubber will hit the road in the oral board...
    You've got that right! Take a seat for a few minutes to get some GPS tips for your next badge.

    The short bestselling book “Who Moved my Cheese” is a story about mice going to a place in their maze every day to where they know they will find cheese. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Moved_My_Cheese%3F
    Hey, the cheese has been there every day. One day they go to the same place and their cheese is gone. Who moved my cheese? The point is before someone moves your cheese prepare yourself in advance to find some new cheese.

    If you’re applying for lateral position you have to go back to square one.

    The biggest problem I’ve seen on oral boards when seasoned veterans take entry level or lateral tests is they can’t place themselves in the position they are applying for; that of being a snotty nosed rookie. They try to hammer the oral board with their credentials thinking the board will just hand them the job. Their oral board skills are rusty and antiquated. It’s hard for them to remember how it was to be a rookie.

    There is a delicate balance here. Leave your time and rank in your locker. You must be humble, place yourself in the rookie position and build a natural bridge to present your education, experience and integrity to the oral board panel. Without this bridge, you’re dead meat. This is not easy for many seasoned candidates. An attitude adjustment is needed. Attitude is a small thing that can make the big difference. Remember the position you’re applying for a probe job.

    The seasoned veteran candidate can roar past any of the other candidates if his attitude and game plan are in place.

    Your goal in a lateral test is to convince the panel you’re a good fit and match for their culture. They have to like you. You could be asked why you’re leaving or left your current department. As has been mentioned above several times you don’t want to bad mouth your current department. You can present that your current department has allowed you the education and experience so you can take this opportunity for the next step in your career.

    Every job you’ve ever had you started at the bottom. You’re planning on doing the same thing for this position. You have seen the things new rookies have done to fail. You know what not to do. You’re coming over wanting to learn the job the right way.

    The Best Oral Board Secret!

    The oral board gets you the job! Many applicants tell me they want this job
    so bad they will do almost anything ethically and morally to get it. Many are not using a simple tool that could tilt things in their favor.

    A recent lateral candidate had such a monotone voice I asked if he knew? He said yea, but that’s just my voice. I told him I didn’t believe that for a second. What can I do about it? I’ve been testing where I can for four years, going to school and working as a federal firefighter.

    In trying to get on his turf, I asked him during his coaching session what do you do with your time off? What are your interests, hobbies? What really rings your bell? Nothing seemed to work to break his monotone voice.

    That was until a few days later I get a call from an energized candidate. I didn’t recognize the voice. Yes, it was Mr. Monotone. He told me he didn’t realize how bad it was until he listened to the recording of his coaching session. He said, “Man I sounded retarded. I can’t believe how much stuff I left out. How many times I said “What Ever” and other stupid pause fillers I didn’t know I was using." The mystery of why this super- qualified candidate could not get hired was solved by him just listening to a recording of what the panel had been hearing for four years.

    The real secret is that you need a hand held voice recorder that goes everywhere your car keys go to hear what the panel is going to hear coming out of your mouth.

    Try this. Take 3X5 cards and write down your oral board questions. Practice your answers with a voice recorder. If you hear something you do not like when you play it back, turn over the 3X5 card and write it down. The next time you go after that question, turn over the card first and see what you don't want to say.

    What Do I wear to a Lateral Interview?

    Understand you are applying for a snot-nose rookie position. You have no time or rank with the department you are testing for. So don’t wear your military, volunteer, other department, dogcatcher or other uniform to your interview.

    For some reason candidates have been convinced by themselves or others that wearing a uniform to their interview will somehow separate them from the other candidates. It can but not in a way you were looking for. It often hits the panel that you are asking for more points.

    The strongest non-verbal statement you can make to the oral board is what you wear. It is time to step up and make the investment. In the blink of an eye of those first few seconds referred to as the “Halo Effect”, the panel is checking what you’re wearing, eye contact, hand shake, choice of words, voice inflection and more.

    Men: These are only suggestions. Do wear a wool suit in dark blue or gray. Pinstripes are fine, but avoid brown, black, or high fashion brightly colored suits. Black is a little too formal, more for dances, funerals and being a star in the movie Men in Black. If black is all you have, wear it.

    Sport coats or blazers are out, so is polyester. Tie should be in a solid color such as navy, red, maroon, yellow stripe, or paisley print. Wear a white, off white, or pale blue long sleeved shirt in cotton or a cotton blend. Starch it no matter what the instructions say. No patterned shirts!

    Don’t: Wear casual or novelty watches, too much jewelry, monograms, religious, political, or fraternity affiliation accessories. Beards are out; mustaches are a gray area. When in doubt, shave it off. Don’t wear cell phones or any other electronic leashes.

    When my son was trying to become a firefighter I begged him to shave off his mustache. He said Dad this took me 26-years to grow and I’m not going to shave it off. He got hired. He got married and his wife made him shave it off. Go figure.

    Women: Do wear a tailored business-like suit or dress with a jacket, not overly feminine. Choose suits in conservative solid colors such as gray, navy blue, black, beige, or camel with conservative hemlines. Natural fibers such as wool are your best bets.

    Don’t: Wear anything flamboyant, trendy, faddish, low-cut, too tight or short, or otherwise provocative. You are not trying to make a fashion statement, but trying to get a badge! No heavy perfume, ankle bracelet, stockings with patterns, lace, bold colors, or seams; sandals, very high heels, unusual colors, or casual styles. Ladies: hair up; no bangs falling into your eyes or face. Consider wearing a dress over slacks or a pantsuit.

    Background

    Even though you’re already a firefighter you will still have to go through every step in the hiring process. Backgrounds can be a sticky area. If there is a lateral test in your future you want to make sure you conduct your life as if you were still testing to get your first badge. One paramedic candidate was hired for his first job in Oregon. Now with his experience he was trying to come home to California where their families were. Although he had never smoked pot before he was hired, he had smoked the herb on a ski trip with his firefighter friends 3 years ago. That mistake cost him the position.

    Many a lateral candidate has been DQ’d in background by their jealous neighbors and “friends” who see your expensive toys and days off. Oh, yea, we smoked pot together.

    It’s not uncommon for background investigators now to ask you what Internet web sites you have been on and the unsername and passwords. They will go in a check out what you have posted. A fire chief told me he had seen candidates who were in their last steps in their hiring process that were tanked by what they had posted on the Internet. Not pretty.

    Many lateral candidates are concerned about taking tests and those agencies wanting to contact their current department. You can request that they not contact your current department only as the last step before a job offer.

    Make sure you have a job offer in writing in your hot little hands before you leave your current department. If your department will let you take a leave of absence for up to a year, take it. If things don’t turn out like you expected you have a home to go back to. One large department hired 19 laterals. Ten were let go in the academy. Wow! Imagine taking the job, being let go and there was nowhere to go home.

    I think this says it all:

    It was five years ago that I first visited this web site. It was how I found and landed my first job at a small career department, and served for four and a half years. The entire time I wanted to make the lateral move to my hometown dept.--a larger city, more opportunities, Paramedic and tech. rescue opportunities...But I was a bone head. I thought because I was already on the job elsewhere, I could waltz through the process, and to some extent I did--all the way to the Chief's interview twice, but never got the call. Laterals, my advice to you is this: we are our own worst enemies...you think you are a good judge of your interview skills, trust me you're not. Don't be a bone head like me and go through the process twice before getting help from the professionals. Well, all I can say is after five years of trying; my recruit academy starts in two weeks. You be the judge. Matt
    ______________________________ _______________

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    213

    Default

    Great, great advice. I would like to ask a question that might sound strange. I have 2 things I am concerned about to bring up in a interview. 1) I was a member of my old executive board after 4 yrs... do chiefs look kindly upon that? I know the last "chief" I worked for was anti-union. 2) I am involved with a motorcycle club that is all firefighters and does A LOT of charity work... but there does come a negative stereotype with this. 2 interviews coming up next week, so I am curious...

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    2,471

    Default

    [QUOTE=wolfalicious;1200808] I have 2 things I am concerned about to bring up in a interview. 1) I was a member of my old executive board after 4 yrs... do chiefs look kindly upon that?

    I advise candidates not to bring this up because you never know who is on the panel. All you have to is offend on chief and it's game over. Are you willing to take that risk?

    I know the last "chief" I worked for was anti-union.

    That's a perfect example of why you shouldn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfalicious View Post
    2) I am involved with a motorcycle club that is all firefighters and does A LOT of charity work... but there does come a negative stereotype with this. 2 interviews coming up next week, so I am curious...
    You can mention the charity work but I would stay away from the murder cycle stuff. When I hear things like that I wonder how many times this guy has had his bell rung, accidents or when will the next accident happen?
    ______________________________ _______________

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    213

    Default

    thanks cb, kinda what I was thinking

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    473

    Default

    Is bringing up that you are a member of the executive board a negative? Yes, it can be particularly if there is a contentuous relationship between the firefighter's union and the City. In your case, I expect there is because the City is considering layoffs. I would assume the firefighter's association (FFA) has provided alternative means of staying off the pink slips in the event the measure does not pass. Either way, a bad relationship betweeen the union and the City ofetn makes for a firefighter who is jaded. Not many fire chiefs want to hire someone who is cranky.

    The upside of mentioning your union involvement is that you were elected by members of the department. This means that you have the respect of the men and women of your department.

    I would leave it out as the negatives out weigh the positives, unless there is a really good relationship between the FFA and the City.

    I do not have any apprehension about bringing up the motorcycle club. I am not a motorcycle guy, but the stereotype of all motorcycle clubs being related the the Hells Angels is long gone.....

    Good luck with your decision and hopefully the measure passes.....
    Last edited by paulLepore; 08-29-2010 at 01:50 PM.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    2,471

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfalicious View Post
    2 interviews coming up next week, so I am curious...
    Curious if you're practicing your answers with a hand-held voice recorder that goes every where your car keys go to hear what the panel is going to hear out of your mouth?
    ______________________________ _______________

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. New recruit drug testing and random drug testing
    By cpt312 in forum Volunteer Forum
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 02-20-2013, 12:38 PM
  2. Champaign FD Testing
    By zarembcj in forum Illinois
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-09-2007, 05:44 PM
  3. Alohol in the fire service
    By smitty2275 in forum Volunteer Forum
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 03-15-2006, 05:23 PM
  4. Springfield FF's laid off
    By Adze39 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 02-18-2003, 02:45 AM
  5. Civilian Fire Fatalities
    By DCFF in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: 02-08-2002, 08:18 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register