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Thread: The degradation fo the fire service through hiring practices?

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    Default The degradation fo the fire service through hiring practices?

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    Look, we've all been there. Seen the shirts, the uniforms, the private EMTs with saline and trauma shears in their back pockets and the guys wearing gear from other departments. Don't sweat these clowns. If the department you're testing for is hiring these people.... There is a good chance you don't want to work there anyways. It's hard because everyone has to be so PC and give a fair shot and meet quotas and what not. Keep testing. Keep wearing a suit. eventually you'll find a department that is the right fit. I've realized that you can't worry about the numbers. You aren't competing agains everyone else. You're one person. Interviewing for a job. Do the best you can and don't worry about anyone else.

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    I see what you're saying. And to a certain point I definitely agree. Any big city is going to get some goons that show up to take the test. It's unfortunate that some of these people get hired due to civil service practices. I have noticed that small departments tend to be more selective, require more education and experience and expect an overall higher quality candidate. Hopefully probationary year, or even the academy takes care of the ones that don't deserve to be there.
    If I were in charge of a department I would do tests a lot differently....

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    Also if you don't mind me asking.... If you're on a great department and love the fire service..... Why are you testing for a PD job. Genuinely curious. Not trying to be an ***.

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    Maybe federalize departments and make people go through almost a four year school prior to going to a station ?

    Some people now a days think they are owed a job

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Maybe federalize departments and make people go through almost a four year school prior to going to a station ?

    Some people now a days think they are owed a job
    Seems like the bigger depts are heading the opposite direction from this. A few depts in my area have reduced their requirements and certs necessary to apply. They had plenty of guys showing up to test before that and now it's an even bigger pool. It's pretty obvious why, but I don't want to derail OPs original post.
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    Have you ever sat down and talked with some of the 'old timers' that are on at your department? The Chiefs? The old officers? They had little in the way of hiring requirements, other than they fit into the right shirt, or showed up on the test days.

    These are solid, hard working men and women. Testing requirements does not a good fire fighter make. It's what you do with them after they get the job that makes all the difference. By creating a high bar in which to hurdle (the most noticeable is the EMT req) you limit your hiring pool to a people that have had little other experience outside of the fire service. You lose the men and women of the trades, and let's be honest, of color. This does a disservice to our profession. You're telling me you would rather have some kid that is just out of high school, that decided to take an EMT class because he wants to be a FF, over someone that has worked for a living, or been in the military for the past 4 years?

    We limit ourselves with our inbreeding. The glory/salad days of yore are filled with men of high caliber, that tested, and did well in their jobs, not just people that could make some poorly illustrated bricks.

    I get the resentment, and the bitterness in your posts. You did the right things, you followed the steps you should have, right? You should be entitled a job. You went to some small community college and got your EMT, you shadowed the right people, you ran through some small fire academy offered by your local department.. by god you should have had a job by now. Maybe it's you, not the testing process, or the lower standards (which by any stretch of logic, should make it easier for you to get hired), that is causing you not to get the job.

    ETA: Some of that was mean. I shouldn't crap on your dreams.

    ETA2: also, for the OP, i tested in a t-shirt and jeans, and got a job with one of the biggest/best/highest paying departments in my state. If someone is actually paying attention during that part of the testing process (the cattle call that is fire team), they've got some great manpower resources.
    Last edited by peterbound; 11-15-2013 at 06:12 PM.

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    I think you're a bit out of touch with today's hiring practices. People are getting hired who shouldn't be getting jobs. Maybe it's due to past drug use, their criminal background or just over all. They're getting these jobs because no longer are you allowed to ask certain questions or you can ask..... But god forbid if you dq someone for their answer. This isn't the 70s. There are people that are hard up for a job, apply to a FD and get a spot. Back in the day, as far as I can tell, it was mostly men coming back from the service or upstanding guys working blue collar jobs that wanted something more.
    That said, this is the reality we face.

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    You use google and apple as examples..... Private entities. You can't compare a FD to a private corporation.
    Why so much emphasis on the size of departments that people work for? Small departments all over the country are dialed in, train hard, fight fire and are, as a whole great departments.
    The only advice I have for you is this.... Become chief. Change the way your department hires.

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    I've also had similar experiences. Yes, the test phase is the very first part of the process and I understand that there may be a pool of 3,000+ applicants to choose from, so the odds of someone remembering you are quite slim, but that doesn't excuse less than business casual attire. I always find myself standing in front of my closet the night before and ask myself if I really need to. Each time I get to the same answer, no I don't need to, but I want to. I've been that guy testing for a small department (less than 100 apps for one spot) who was the only one suited up. The looks I got were quite similar to yours, but was I laughing on the inside when I was sitting next to someone who looked like they just got off a 3 day binge with their scraggly beard and stained shirt. I've also been labeled "that guy" when a few of us went to test at another near by smaller city (50,000 residents) and I was the only one who showed up suited. Oh well, didn't think it really had to be said, I thought they'd do the same.

    I'll continue to do so though. Does it really matter? Considering I'm sitting here still not hired, but on lists (top 10 in one and just at the waiting game in others) maybe not. In the end you're right, you only get one first impression, I feel you should dress for the job you want and I've always been told to do my last name justice. My 2 cents.

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    So, for the record.

    Me = Former Vet, deployed numerous times (now, while I wasn't a Marine {thank FSM} I did do my time), and showed up in blue jeans and a T shirt. Got hired at the first place I tested, and Oral Boarded at the only other place I decided to test.

    Your clothes don't make you a well rounded, hard working applicant, and your argument seems poorly thought out.

    You want to eliminate the 'corporate' environment that is an endemic... wait, not the right word, I think you meant epidemic, in the fire service. Yet, you want people to dress like freaking suits. I show pride by doing well on the test, and learning my craft, not by knowing the difference between a jacket and a blazer. I suggest you refocus your shot pattern, and get back on track. Your priorities are off the mark.

    And while I usually don't make an issue of grammar and use of the English language, I find it funny to point out your absolutely horrid use of it, while clamoring for higher standards of pride, and actually possessing a Masters degree. For me, representing yourself in the written word, and doing so poorly at it, speaks more to your personal pride than wearing, or not wearing a suit. Take the time to proof read these posts. Alas, you were a Marine, so I guess you're doing your best.

    Also, the Hollister comment made me chuckle. One of the hardest working dudes at the house I'm at right now is an A&F model in his off time.

    At the end of the day, I think we both agree that the quality of the people that we hire needs to be high. I think what we disagree on, is how to judge that quality. Personally, I don't give a damn if you wear T-shirts and shorts. You shouldn't be hired based on your wardrobe. You passion for the job, your willingness to learn, and your loyalty to your department are the big ones for me. Not your new Calvin Klein three piece. Again, I think you need to reassess your priorities. Do you want a hard working blue collared laborer, willing to do what you need, and not complain about it, or do you want someone who dresses nice, and can whisper sweet nothings to you while he/she interviews?

    ETA: Also, for the record; I was replying to YJBrody's posts, not yours. For some reason, I didn't put the quote in there. Most of the statements only make sense when put in the context of a reply to his assertions of hiring, not yours. I did, however, single out a last paragraph for the OP. This was lively though, thanks.
    Last edited by peterbound; 11-16-2013 at 02:17 AM.
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    I was just hired on a FD in my area. 12 to 14 hired out of roughly 600. I wore a suit and tie to my board interview and certainly will when/and if I sit down with the chief. I look at it as a sign of respect. I also think it shows professionalism. Nobody that came to their scheduled interview wore casual clothes. At least while I was there. Everyone had dress shirts and ties. Some with a full suit. Ultimately, I agree the clothes doesn't make the candidate, but doesn't the first impression count anymore? If you have 2 people who are the same age, race, sex, and same background but one is in a suit and the other in a t shirt and shorts who are they going to hire? The person who took the time and effort to show respect and dress for the interview. I was interviewing with a Battalion chief and other officers who are dressed in class a uniforms. I would have felt awkward and out if place in a t shirt.

    In a past life I was a manager at a few different retail places. The first thing I noticed was how you presented yourself for the interview. It's a big deal. Do you really want the job if you aren't going to dress appropriate for the interview? So if you don't make an effort to dress for your interview, will you make an effort as an employee? These are the questions that came to my mind.

    Finally, I'll be in the academy shortly. From what I understand they are big on a proper need and complete uniform. Why are they that way at the academy but not at the interview to get the job?

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    I myself have personal experience with this "problem" recently. Let me start by saying that the civil service entrance exam was started to help weed out people who werent dedicated to being a firefighter. Someone made the argument that our fathers generation of firefighters were hard working and good at what they do. However, they were also all alcoholics who caused a lot of problems for their departments by drinking IN the stations, getting into trouble outside of work, and getting themselves killed. It still happens today but youll notice that its usually the older vetran FFs getting into that kind of trouble. So I believe in the idea of testing, testing, and more testing. It levels the playing field but still allows those who have dedicated themselves to the service to rise above the rest.
    On to my point ... I hate politics.
    Last year my small dept did testing and we had two major issues. For the first time in our depts 55 yr existence someone challenged the written. You only need a 70 to be considered and one gentleman scored just under that. He then proceeded to go to our Public Safety director and explain that the test was geared towards candidates that have previous fire experience, when our qualifications do not require FF 1 & 2. However these questions are basic understanding, basic math, basic everything. Just put into a FF scenario. Example: You have 3 lengths of hose. The hose is 50 ft long, and the couplings are 4 inches long each. How long is the hose when all 3 lengths are connected. Stuff like that! Basic right!? None of it requires actual FF knowledge. Anyways, this guy somehow convince our PSD that he was at a disadvantage. Our PSD and HR changed the test. 2 weeks later this guy bailed on the process because his girlfriend moved. HOWEVER, we kept this new "P.C." test. Its crap.
    And in the same testing process we had a female who failed the same test. AND failed the physical agility. She went to the same people and complained. And AGAIN the city allowed her to proceed with the testing. And guess what!?!?! She got the job! Its been 14 months since she got hired and she hasnt finished her probationary training and isnt even allowed to go on fire calls yet because of her lack of understanding and ability to do the job. But we cant fire her!?
    Bottom line. Our local governments are letting us down. As CFD said. There should be more respect for our profession. Both while you have the job, and before while testing. Have respect for the process and the people who have been there before.
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    The point of dressing nice for an interview is not the clothes, its that you showed enough respect and want to ,to "dress up"- I absolutely hate to wear nice clothes-but if I cant take that extra step when applying for a job, am I going to go that extra mile after I get the job?
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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    The point of dressing nice for an interview is not the clothes, its that you showed enough respect and want to ,to "dress up"- I absolutely hate to wear nice clothes-but if I cant take that extra step when applying for a job, am I going to go that extra mile after I get the job?

    Should the candidate wear a suit when interviewing? Yes... absolutely yes. When taking the FireTeam test? I'm not so sure. When I tested there was 2000 guys in the room. Not sure me having, or not having a suit would have made me stand out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Should the candidate wear a suit when interviewing? Yes... absolutely yes. When taking the FireTeam test? I'm not so sure. When I tested there was 2000 guys in the room. Not sure me having, or not having a suit would have made me stand out.
    I wore business casual to my written exam. There was around 400 candidates at my test. Don't think a suit is appropriate for the written but I certainly didn't want to be remembered by the officers and firefighters proctoring the test as a slob.

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    You hit the nail on the head CFD11. The worst enemy of the fire service is sometimes ourselves. For whatever reason, the fire service is full of "whackers" that lower the professionalism and way the public views all of us. Think of any other profession.... Police Officer, Electrician, Doctor, Mechanic, etc. Have you ever seen the level of whackers in those occupations? I don't see electricians wearing around shirts that read "I fix what you fear" shirts or some other nonsense.

    The people that will get angry or disagree with you are probably dissenters because they fit into this "whacker" group. They probably wear the shirts, light their vehicle up like a Christmas tree and put videos of it up on youtube, cook their helmet in the oven to try to make it look "salty", tell ever person they meet that they are a firefighter, wear their pager when they are on vacation 300 miles from home, etc. For whatever reason our profession attracts these sort of people, more so than other occupations. I tend to think they are people who were bullied at a younger age, didn't have many friends, or were never able to make the football team. Now that they are a firefighter, they feel important and that they have some importance above the general citizenry and they must let everyone know they are a firefighter so they can get attention. It is really pathetic. Good post CFD11, for those of us that strive to maintain and uphold the little shred of professionalism left with this profession.
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