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  1. #1
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    Default How Many Tests,,,,,,That is the question

    You subscribe to Hiring notice services, Call 5 depts in the city before you finally get someone to give you an answer that doesn't really help, because you still don't have the job. You put aside money from your paycheck you know you should pay a bill with, just to make the trip for a test. Then you wait, , , , wait for the opportunity to make the trip again to push yourself to the limits of exhaustion just to improve your position on the almighty list. A white piece of paper with the many names of individuals that want to be the next hero, to give their children someone to look up to.

    3 test I have taken, 2 #1 seats and a #2 seat. Still I sit here. A resume 1 1/2 pages of experience, 6 yrs VFD, 3 yrs EMS, and yet they hire inexperienced. What is a man to do? To top it off, The Mayor who hired the 3 under me on the list, told me to put him on my resume. Does that make any sense?

    With the average hiring limit age of 35, I have 3 yrs left to get this done (wish I would have started sooner). Frustration is amidst, discouragement is not. Anyone got anymore ideas?


  2. #2
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    Default The Call Doesnít Come

    Volunteer to Paid

    Yes, if you placed that high on the list you have to start asking yourself why?

    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. You might have established a reputation as a volunteer that is following you. I've been on a lot of panels where when the candidate left the room we said, they had great stuff but we wouldn't want to work with them.

    There is a delicate balance here. Leave your time and rank in your locker. No, it's not your age unless you told them. 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. The seasoned veteran candidate can roar past any of the other candidates if his attitude and game plan are in place.

    So, what do you do now? You have done everything you can do to get hired. Nothing is happening. Your calls are not returned. You hear from other candidates below you on the list that they have completed their background psych and medical. The academy date has been set. You still canít find anything out.

    Youíre devastated. You donít know why. You want to know. Maybe thereís something you can do, someone you can talk to convince them youíre the guy they need; there has to be a mistake. Just give me a chance to prove myself. Look at all the stuff I got. Your calls go unanswered.

    What do you do now? You feel hurt, angry, frustrated and betrayed. Well, there is not much you can do. If you push too hard you might hurt your chances of getting on somewhere else. Even if you are able to get someone to talk to you, you probably will never really find out why. It just happens sometimes for whatever reason.

    My advice. Go through the denial, anger, and depression. Lick your wounds and accept what happened. Then, regroup and get back out there and test again. If you made it this far, chances are you can do it again. Maybe with a better department than you hoped for.

    If you want to talk about this further you can call me at 888-238-3959 or e-mail: captbob@eatstress.com

    You can find more on testing secrets on the job section career article section of this firehouse.com web site

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  3. #3
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    Default

    Don't think you can't get hired over the age of 35.

    I know guys who've been hired at 41 and even 52.

    Keep trying- let the other guys give up.

  4. #4
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    Default Age???

    I agree it's not about age here. wvaffemt could be stuck in the process some where. Until he figures it out, he could continue to be passed over.

    Captain Bob

    www.eatstress.com

  5. #5
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    Post not discouraged

    Thank you for answering me. Capt Bob, appearently my oral boards went fine. Out of a possible score of 40, I got 40. The Mayor that wants to be put on my resume, no longer the mayor, could only tell me he had to do what he had to do. In the town I live in, I completely understand what he meant. They hired name recognition. I already went through the anger and to be honest, it plays a big part on your ego(if that is the proper word for the situation). To make things even worse, 2 of the guys have been hired on my ambulance squad. So of course I go through the normal emotion of " first they took my job and now they take my hours. Meaning, I have been on this job for 3 yrs, I am part time and have been pushing 50 hours a week when only scheduled 24-32. This is tough! But, I won't lose hope. Someone out there will find me and I will make an awesome paid fireman, and give my children someone to look up to.

    I will continue to test King, it's just the average age is 35 for the cutoff. There are some that go over that, and even some of them only go over if you have paid experience.

    If you could ever put your eggs in one basket, I have done so at this point. The list I am #2 on. I talked to them about a month ago and they said they would be calling soon. Don't you hate waiting. 31 years old and still waiting to start my career.

  6. #6
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    Default Waiting Game

    I know you did good on your orals. That wasn't my point. There is probably something here you are not aware of that's keeping you from gaining that badge. My above offer still stands. Give me a call and we can kick this thing around on my dime.

    This is from my son Rob:

    Down in the dumps

    So there you were standing in produce, you see a guy you went to school with, he is also testing for a fire job. Heís on top of the world, you ask him why. ďBecause I start the academy with metro fire next Monday!Ē he tells you.

    Your stomach does a flip-flop. You get chest pain. You had that one. You were telling people you were in; the interview couldnít have gone better. Hey, I was at the top of the list.

    So you tell him how happy you are for him and move on, Öto the hard liquor area. Not again, you might be the last person from your firefighter I class to get an offer. This sucks. You go home, draw the curtains, light candles, and stop eating until further notice.
    Does this sound familiar. Well unless you are the one chosen, it will happen to you. There is no job that has a higher rate of rejection than the fire service other than being a movie actor, and at least they get invited to cool parties when theyíre out of work. Youíve still got to work.

    I recently got passed over for the job of captain, five times. I was number one on the list, and stayed there. So what do you do? Being drunk all the time helps for the first week, but then it gets old. You have no idea what went wrong. Was it me? Was it something Iíve done in my past, am I over qualified, under qualified, were the raters qualified? Did what I said to the assistant chief at the physical agility somehow hurt me? Youíll find out, you donít really appreciate sleep, until you canít.

    O.K., "move on back"*. Take a look at what youíre doing right, and what could be better. If you donít know, go ask. I talked to most of the chiefs that I interviewed with, and instead of going in with the attitude of what did I do to **** you off, or telling him I thought he was my friend. I said ď Iím treating my testing process as a learning experience, what did you see I could do better, did I do anything you wouldnít have, did I leave some things out, or include to much?

    You wouldnít believe the response I received. Iíve come to find out the people on the panels are real people, real firefighters and they care. They also feel some measure of guilt and pity for the people they pass over. You can use that. Pump them for everything that they may have wanted for the questions they asked. I was surprised to find the questions I didnít like, they didnít like also. They donít write them, just asked them. By the time I went for my sixth interview, I had it down, and Iíd heard all the questions, and knew which chief liked which answer. I knocked them dead. The other two guys, who started off 11 places below me on the list, didnít have a chance. Iíd heard all the questions, and knew what they were looking for. Iím now a captain.

    After all Iíve been through, do you know what they call me at work? ÖThey call me CAPTAIN. My paycheck says captain. In the long run, Iíve missed only six months as a captain. Iíll be a captain for at least 15 years; itís not that big a deal. The reason Iím here is attitude. Now matter what happens you smile, even if itís like a guy putting a cigarette out in his hand, you smile. Donít let them think they got you. I've heard guys say, " Wow, no matter what they do to him he just stands back up and asks for more. It may have been killing me, but they didn't know.

    You would be amazed how even if you take thirteen tests, ...in five years after youíre hired, you wonít remember, or care, Öyou got it. You will understand why Capt. Bob says, ď nothing counts until you have the badge, nothing. You donít know how good it is!

    *James Brown, "Get on Back" cc.1968

    FIREFIGHTER ROB NRTC@SONIC.NET

    WWW.EATSTRESS.COM

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber gregski's Avatar
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    Default

    DO NOT let your age get the better of you. I was hired at age 45. That was two years ago and I am having the time of my life! Take heed on all the advice given for your oral boards and chief's interview. This is where the final choice is made. I have talked to a couple of our captains that sit in on the boards. The last go around they didn't like any of the top three they interviewed. It is not all about how well you do on the written and physical exams. That just gets you in the door. You need to WOW them in the interviews. Practice, practice, practice. But don't make your answers sound too textbook. By that I mean bring real life experiences into your answers. At 45 I had tons of real life behind me and used that to my advantage. I had one of our captains, who had sat in on the boards many, many times, tell me that the best line he had ever heard in an interview was "5 years from now, when you see me walking across the bay, you'll be able to say "I am sure glad we hired that guy"". Be determined. Good luck.

    Greg Hansen
    Tukwila (WA) Fire Dept. (Career)
    Mason County Fire District #4 (Volunteer)

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