1. #1
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    Default Recruitment Stratergies

    I couldn't find an old topic, but looking for any succesful ideas for recruitment.

    The state I am in (Australia) has had a notciable drop in numbers over the last year or 2, in some cases, stations that could always get 2 pumps out the door struggle to get enough for 1.

    Has anyone come out the other side of crewing issues and do they have any tips on succesful recruitment and retention strategies.

    Maybe the world is just to busy to care anymore

  2. #2
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    Talking here is one

    i have been working this one in my head to get enrollment for my fire / rescue program, by do a simi live fire for schools and the pubic and pass out recruiting poster.
    Unit 713
    Rineyville Volunteer Fire Dept
    www.rineyvillefire.com
    www.sfrtarea5.org
    www.Firefighternation.com


    Member of IACOJ


    Change your Clocks, Change your Smoke Alarm's batteries

  3. #3
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    To truly understand how to recruit effectively, you need to understand why people volunteer. Understanding Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs will be a very effective guide. Some folks will volunteer to satisfy a need within themselves to do something for the community (the need for self-satisfaction). Some will volunteer for a need to fullfil self-esteem. Others will volunteer to fill the need for belonging to a group. Others may join for the need for security.

    My point is mentioning this is that the key to successful recruiting is understanding your community and understanding how you can market your department's ability to fufill these basic needs within your department. For example, you would want to market the fact that your department provides training opportunties, as that would appeal to those looking for the need to fill self-esteem. You would also want to stress the brotherhood of the fire service in another ad or article as that would intrest those looking for belonging. For those looking for security, stress the fact that the training and experience provided by the fire service may give them the skills to save themselves or thier family in an emergency situation. There is nothing bad about using the basic needs of potential members to draw them in .... we are all looking for something. Each segment of your community

    Do a little research on this topic and I think you'll eb very surprised how understanding it will give you new insight into how and where to recruit.

  4. #4
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    LAFE, Is right on with Maslov's Heirarchy of Needs etc... You really have to know why people want to be firefighters and what will make them stay.

    You should also develope a profile of the "Ideal Candidate" you are looking for. That becomes your target market. Taylor your recruitment to hit your target market. Obviously you should take those outside of your target market but you should have an idea of what you are looking for.

    We were looking for;
    Those who are homeowners (Avoids training and having FF's move on)
    Those physically able to perform (Place posters in Gyms / Health Clubs)
    Those who have played sports or can work as a team (see above)
    Those with roots in the community.
    The giving back to the community theory is great, but your better recruits are those who are looking to do something fun and exciting and looking to make a difference in their's and other people lives and looking for a team sport to replace what they played in high school or college etc....

    Give it some thought and come up with a list that works for you.

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    Default Maslow's a punk...

    ...Pierre Bourdieu is the man

    Seriously, some decent advice above. One thing I would emphasize is that the real problem for many is with their employers, and educating local employers can yield real benefits. One major company announcing to its employees that it supports the volunteer fire service and encourages employees to volunteer will have a greater impact that years of one-off recruiting efforts.

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    Thats one issue, the area that we look after had very few big employers or self employed. When I started most of the business's were mum and dad operations, now they have been bought out or simply forced out due to being under cut by the big guys, eg Macca's, Domino's, Pizza Hut, KFC etc. God Forbid that their employees would be allowed to go !!

    But thanks for the advice, one thing that is working is to have a cadet/junior firefighter program. Its proving very succesful but we still have to wait for them to reach the age, its starting to prove its fruitfullness now, with 3 of them reaching operational age.

  7. #7
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    Recruiting uses the same principles as marketing any product.

    1. Understand your product. As a fire department, what do you have offer people? What do you have that will want them to join? What are the rewards (see Maslov's)? What are your incentives within the department?

    2. Look at your community. Find places where you are likely to find people who are looking for what your fire department offers them. Target these folks and locations in your recruitment. Target specific messages to the specific audiences. For example .. target the physical aspects of firefighting to athetletes and workout type folks. If you are looking for seniors for support programs .. target the social aspects, etc, etc. In addition to specific messages for specific target audiences also uses general messages and media for the others in the community that may be interested.

    3. Use your media. Look at all the possible ways of getting your messages out in your communities. Posters, lawn signs, flyers, articles and ads in community newspapers, programs or flash messages on local access TV, messages on bags of local businesses, presentations to church, community and civic groups, booths at local events, schools or colleges, message boards in front of your station or maybe a local church or business ...... Basically the list is endless. Use the media to target both your target audiences and general audiences.

    4. Coordination. This is critical. People will need to see your message often. The key to advertising is repitition, and recruiting is no different. If they see your message 5 times a days via lawn signs on the roads, a poster at the grocery store, a flash message on local access TV and the sign in front of your station, they are more likely to consider joining than if they see your message infrequently. This is why effective recruiting requires planning and coordination..... it has to be seen often to be effective.

    5.Timing. People will shut out messages if they see them for too long a time. Recruiting pushes need to be brief ... 2-3 weeks at the most. In can be done multiple times in a year, but try to change stuff up. Maybe the articles will take a little different twist ... the posters will be at a different location ... the presenters on the local access program will be different.

    6. Followup. Quickly respond to applications. Have training in place and asheduled to start. Have informational packets printed. Have introductory meetings. Make it seem like you ar anxious to get them involved.

    7. Have opportunities for someone who does not want to fight fires. There is a huge chunk of the community that may not want to be firefighters, but may be able to contribute in other ways. Scene support, educators for pubed, fundraising help, administrative help, PR help, planning help, at-scene management help, photographers and even folks to watch the members kids at the station while the members are at calls or training are all avenues that your department may be able to offer someone who wants to volunteer. Don't shut them out just because they don't want to be firefighters .. give them avenues to assist!

    To many departments approach recruiting in a HAP-HAZARD FASHION. This will
    definatly result in failure. Use the same approaches to market your department as the experts do ..it's the same thing.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me a my e-mail, firesafetyed@aol.com
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 10-29-2006 at 10:08 AM.

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    Thanks Very Much For That, As Volunteers We Are Given A Station To Run, And We All Can Fight Fires, But We Lack The Traning Or Backup To Market The Department To Get New Blood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pumper8032
    Thanks Very Much For That, As Volunteers We Are Given A Station To Run, And We All Can Fight Fires, But We Lack The Traning Or Backup To Market The Department To Get New Blood.
    One other thing to keep in mind, and this is just a general "rule of thumb for volunteer organizations"...

    For every 10 people who join your department (as in complete whatever process you have, and are issued a pager/gear/etc), you can expect:

    -5 will discover 2AM wake-up calls for FAFAs suck, they incur other commitments in life, etc...and will drop out within the first 1-1.5 years.
    -3 will be marginal members: make some drills and trainings, make some calls, but don't put out much more than the minimum effort required.
    -2 will be what you're hoping for: highly motivated, make almost all drills and trainings (and have a good excuse for those they miss), take extra courses (even if self-study books or online courses) to expand their knowledge, and make as many calls as they can.

    So, if you want 4 excellent members, you have to successfully recruit 20 people into your department.
    Don't let that get you down, though...keep on trying, and use the extra "practice" to refine your techniques.
    Last edited by the1141man; 10-30-2006 at 09:21 AM. Reason: Typos. ;)

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    Cheers guys, all helpful stuff. you are right about having to take a larger number to get a few good one's. I joined with 6 others, i am the only one left, one never even bothered finishing his recruit traning!

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    The unfortunate reality is that as 1141 has pointed out, only 20% or so of your recruits will be around in a year. Firefighting is a dirty job, and it's not for everyone. However, if you listen to your recruits early enough, you may be abkle to save them by diverting them into a support function that may be more appropriatte for them, assuming those options are available within your department. It will not retain all of those who might otherwise quit, but it may save a few.

    The other reality is that for the most part, volunteers are volunteering for shorter periods of time. Gone for the most part of the days of the 20 year volunteer. People move more often than ever. Lifestyles change frequently. They change jobs and have less time. What does this mean for us? Well, first of all it means that recruiting needs to be proactive. You can't wait until your numbers start to drop. Anticipate that, and even though your numbers look good now, continue your recruiting program as scheduled (once, twice or three times a year .. whatever works for you). It also means that new recruit training will be a continious process, so develop a recruit training program, as it will be used often. It also means that as a service we may need to find new sources of manpower, and some of those may be very non-traditional and will not be easily accepted by all the members. And, it will mean that we may have to change our recruiting messages to deal with changes in your demographics or new target audiences. Overall, it means that recruiting will become more of a challenge, require more effort and demand more creativity and flexability.

    It means that we as a service need to think about retenion more as well. What as a department can you do to keep folks? Have you spent time identifying why they are leaving? Is it lack of flexability? Time issues? training issues? Do you have any space in your budget for retention incentives? Can you adjust some of your requirements without sacrifing effectiveness? Can you recruit non-firefighters to perform some of the duties you now require of firefighters, such as maintanence, fund raising, and pub ed to lessn the demand on them? Can you use community gropus such as youth and church groups? I know it seems like a lot of questions, but they are questions that need to be answered.

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    It means that we as a service need to think about retenion more as well. What as a department can you do to keep folks? Have you spent time identifying why they are leaving? Is it lack of flexability? Time issues? training issues? Do you have any space in your budget for retention incentives? Can you adjust some of your requirements without sacrifing effectiveness? Can you recruit non-firefighters to perform some of the duties you now require of firefighters, such as maintanence, fund raising, and pub ed to lessn the demand on them? Can you use community gropus such as youth and church groups? I know it seems like a lot of questions, but they are questions that need to be answered.
    I was going to address the retention issue in a whole diff post...but it looks like you already beat me to it.

    SO, the above quoted because it needs to be re-iterated. Retention, especially in all-volunteer departments/companies, honestly deserves a whole post, maybe even an entire thread...

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    Yeah, thats the hardest part, I have been there 12 years now, still loving it. But we do find it harder to retain members where I am due to it being a bedroom community. But we try our darndest to create a social circle so people are in a way hangning out with their mates, makes for a better feel around the station and helps with getting numbers for calls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pumper8032
    Yeah, thats the hardest part, I have been there 12 years now, still loving it. But we do find it harder to retain members where I am due to it being a bedroom community. But we try our darndest to create a social circle so people are in a way hangning out with their mates, makes for a better feel around the station and helps with getting numbers for calls.
    My area's the same way. If you aren't in the Ag business (or work at the casino), then you work out of town, probably even out of county...which also means you're not available for calls when at work, cause of commute time to your station or the call.
    Unfortunately, those who work in Ag and are in the area, are also working 12+ hour days and cannot just drop what they're doing for hours to go on a call.
    It's a good catch-22 situation, which's why it's rare to see a full company of volunteers show up for a call, unless it's training/business meeting night. *LOL*

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