1. #1
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    Svfman's Avatar
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    Nov 2001

    Default How would you answer this??

    I was part of a hiring process a while ago, and unfortunatly i did not get the job offer which is why i am in school now. Anyways, i will probably test with this department again and want to be more prepared. One of the last parts of the hiring process is a 24 hr. ridealong and during that time we had two excercises that we went through. one was just a medical scenario and the other one was a presentation of ourselves that we were allowed 15 minutes to prepare for. Along with that we were given a list of department committees and activities ie. host testing.
    This is where my question finally comes in. After i was done with my presentation they asked me what department commitees i would be interested in serving in. I told them that i would work on any committe that needed another person and would be particularly interested in new apparatus commitees, hose testing activities and any type of fire prevention as i have some experiance in those areas.
    Is this they way you would answer this, did i come across as wanting to do too much? Or not enough?
    Any input would be appreciated,

  2. #2
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    Nov 2005


    I’ll answer your question but I want to address an issue first. I have never heard of a department having candidates ride along before hiring. I must admit, while it’s unconventional I really like the idea.

    Bottom line is that the ride along was the determining factor in deciding who got hired. I guarantee you that the Captains and crews gave the chief an earful about who THEY wanted to work with.

    As I have mentioned in previous posts, one of the most important factors in selecting new firefighters is how will you get along with the firefighters in the station . It’s really simple, in this case the firefighters got a chance to kick your tires and to see how you get along in the fire station before they made a commitment.

    Your medical skills evaluation was a basic skills test to see how strong your EMS skills really are. Everyone says they are an EMT, but I am constantly amazed at how poorly people’s basic skills really are. We recently hired a paramedic who struggled with EMT skills.

    I am sitting next to a high ranking Chief Officer for a different department than mine and he was reading over my shoulder as I am writing this. His comment was “They didn’t think this guy was a good fit”.

    As far as your answer to the committee question goes, I thought you handled it pretty well. In your research I hope you were able to identify if they actually had an apparatus committee.

    We are all looking for people who become involved in the department. The way we evaluate this in the entry-level interview is we ask what you currently are involved in above and beyond your current employment. Someone who says he will become involved in committee work when hired on the fire department but is not involved in any extracurricular activities now is blowing smoke. The candidate, who is coaching little league, is a member of the neighborhood watch or is on the homeowner’s association is one who gets involved.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief

  3. #3
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    Nov 2001


    This was the second department that i had to do a ridealong with as part of the hiring process. This was the first career position though.
    They asked about other community involvement and my answer, although not the best probably, was that I spent most of my time at work and at my volunteer department and occasionally helped out my brothers church youth group. I didnt want to lie and tell them i was more involved in the community. When they asked why i spent so much time at my volunteer department, i stated that i spent time doing small maintence, cleaning the station, equipment checks, reading articles from trade magazines etc.
    This was a couple of years ago, so some of it is a little foggy.

    Another question i had was in your post you said that another chief stated that i didnt fit, and he is 100% right. And not to make excuses, i just want to know how to do better next time. I am from a small town in the midwest and this was a metro department. They did this ridealong process with 24 guys in 12 shifts with the same crew each time. The other candidate I was with was from the area and seemed more like he wanted to socialize with the crew. I went in with the mental attitude of mouth shut, ears open, and dont ask if i can help, just lend a hand. Did this hurt me? I talked to the crew when they talked to me, I tried to be approachable and seem like a decent guy. Once again, i am not making excuses, just trying to figure out how to do better if i encouter this same type of hiring process anywhere else.
    Last edited by Svfman; 02-23-2006 at 06:36 PM.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006

    Default Ride along

    I am in the same boat as you, only I am not nearly so far along in the hiring process. I am on a part-paid fire department with my future brother in law, who served as a full-time firefighter/EMT before moving away from the city.

    He is well aware of my intentions to join a full-time fire department, and he is very encouraging. He often points to the mistakes I am making and lets me know where that will cost me in the long run. He points to the other rookies on the departments, their attitudes, and their actions and lets me know how those actions are taking away from their experiences on the department.

    I do believe that by being too quiet or reserved on the ride-along may have hurt you. You cannot be a good fit if you do not try to fit in. By keeping to yourself, you probably seemed cold, distant, and even introverted. Firefighters have to deal with the public on a daily basis and must be confident while doing it. If you were already involved in a ride-along, you must have made it past most of the hiring process. Every firefighter on that truck was asked their opinion of you.

    If you were reserved and waited for someone to talk to you, that means that on the fireground you will likely stand back and wait for someone to tell you what to do. As firefighters, we all have to be a contributing member of the team - even if all that means is that you are participating in conversation and learning about the job - you are being active. If you are outgoing and confident on the truck with the firefighters, they will be more apt to trust you when lives are on the line.

    Yes, you need to respect the experience of other firefighters and officers. However, you need to be outgoing enough to ask questions. When they see you want to learna nd you want to be a part, they will jump up to help you more often. It is not unusual for our fire chief to pull me aside on the fireground or at training to explain things more in depth. This is because I have a willingness to learn. I want to know why you approach a certain situation a certain way; why were our truck built a certain way; what's the reasoning behind x and y?

    So, long story short - if you are willing to take the extra steps to learn and be a aprt of things, you will be accepted and be a better fit much quicker. If you can relate and learn from the guys - ask them questions, engage them in conversation - they will see your desire and want you around.

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