What would be proper attire for a written test?
Thankyou for any info.
What would be proper attire for a written test?
Thankyou for any info.
Looking nice is certainly a good idea. I would also recommend dressing comfortably. Get an idea of the conditions at the test site. Will it be cold or warm? Nothing worse than trying to concentrate on test questions when you're sweating or shivering. My test was in a convention center with over 2200 other applicants, and I was looking classier than half of 'em in my shorts and t-shirt. Save the suit for the oral!
I encourage my friends to wear a suit and a tie. Is it overkill? ABSOLUTELY!
People will make the argument that you want to be comfortable and that no one cares what you wear. You should listen to themÖ..
The smart candidates realize that most portions of the exams are proctored by firefighters. We notice things. Your hope is that dressed in a suit and tie will get the attention of the firefighters who are proctoring the exam.
Itís an good first impression that hopefully opens the door with one of the firefighters. Maybe it results in an invitation to the station to meet the crew.
We hire people we believe are going to be successful. Itís difficult to hire good people. The more we learn about a candidate and the better we know him or her, the better their chance of getting hired.
You need to remember that the next phase of the testing process is the interview. The same firefighters often are on the interview panel. Word of a good candidate spreads.
We all want to hire good people. Wear what you want. Take a look around at a few dressed in a suit. Pay close attention because the next time you take the exam there is a good chance you will recognize them. This time they may be wearing a different suit, one with badge.
One of the very few times I might disagree with Paul. I would not wear a suit to a written test.
From my experience taking writtens, its a hurry-hurry process that time delayed and usually runs late. People are checking in, grabbing pencils and other test supplies. The FD and test proctors are in a rush and usually overwhelmed as well. With that in mind, you sticking out in a sea of 2000 people might not work as planned.
Now me- I always wore a nice set of jeans, t-shirt and if needed a sweat shirt if its cold. I like to dress comfortable when sweating and answering a 100+ question test in a compress time format.
NOTHING worn should be fire department related. REPEAT- Do NOT wear some "I fight what you fear" or "Tilwater Volunteer FD" shirt to a written test. It looks lame and unprofessional.
And I will admit, I have bad luck. Yup, with my luck, that suit being work to the written would end up with a stain, torn or something like that.
Jeans and a nice collared shirt would also work. Remember, the fireworks come on at the oral boards and thats where they will remember you. Dress the part then.
wear something "business casual" but comfortable - not a suit... maybe a pair of khakis and a polo shirt or something along those lines. Something you can fit your pencils, calculator, paperwork, etc. into and be ready to go.
I took a number of written tests before getting hired, some with as many as 2000 applicants. You probably won't be making a serious impression on anybody that day, but you never know. Make sure you have the other stuff you need (pencils, ID's, certs, copies of your certs, etc.)
Sorry for the double post!
With big city tests holding their written over a number of days with thousands of applicants, I don't think wearing a suit is going to gice you an advantage in the process. Of course you wouldn't want to wear a tshirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf on it either. Scoring well on the written might be difficult while you're sweating bullets in a suit and tie. It doesn't matter how nice you look if you don't pass.... and to be honest it probably doesn't matter how bad you look if you score high.
i wear something that looks pretty good, but I don't dress to impress by any means. I dress to be comfrotable when taking the test. I wear a nice pair of jeans or khakis, a polo, and one of those nice looking fleece pull over things. That way I can be comfortable in a wide range of temperatures.
Wear what makes you comfortable, for a written, it does not matter. Don't show up in a wifebeater, and cut off jeans. I have helped proctor tests, and none of us could have cared less what applicants wore, within reason. Nobody knows you, nor will they remember you in a sea of applicants for a written. Later in the process is when you dress for success, and then it does matter.
I'd dress a little nicer if it's a smaller dept. There will be less people taking the test. At a large dept. with 2000 people, they won't remember you.
polo and khaki's work everytime. not too dressed, not too bummed
THankyou for all your input. I just got to the city I'm testing in and will be hanging out for a couple days to get to know the area, and maybe do a station tour or two. Wish me Luck!!
I work for one of those "big" departments. Believe me, the size of the department doesn't matter. We are all looking for squared away candidates.
I love it when candidates give advice of what WE as firefighters are looking for.
While you have your head down focusing on your test, the firefighters are eyeing the group looking for the squared away candidates.
not to be a smartass, but i love it when one firefighter assumes because his department does one thing, EVERYONE does the same thing..
now in all seriousness, BCLeopore i have read and used some of your advice and i am very grateful for it....but a lot of these "joe-smoes" are right...at "a lot" of "big" cities...its a very rushed process...when your in a convention center, and the "firefighters" are in the front and your in the rear, i doubt they can see if you are squared away...i know from personal experience, a friend has gone to several tests wearing that "lame" VFD shirt and a job shirt with jeans....he's got a job now...i, like you, go in khakis and a polo and i have only been to the final interview...
In the past, I have gone to writtens in nice jeans and a sweatshirt. My attire to a written didnt mean a thing because I know I wasnt noticed.
I do like to dress up nice in my suits. That is where I have scored the high scores and the job.
For me, it really came down to dressing the part at the oral board and saying the right things. Its an awesome feeling making #1 on a list. (And no, it was not LB, CA)
I would not wear a suit or tie, I wore jeans and a t-shirt to 2 tests and was hired by both departments. Actaully I remember sitting there and hearing people laughing when the guy walked in wearing the suit.
Now, the interviews are a different story, thats when you want to make the impression.
And like the guy said above, dont wear a fire dept related t-shirt, you will look like a dork..
If you do wear a suit wouldn't it stick in the firefighters mind that is helping proctor the test?
Not a bad impression if you ask me. There is also a good chance that the firefighter that is helping out with the test or CPAT will be on the board as well.
Comfort is one thing but the suit sure wouldnít hurt in my opinion, you can be comfortable after you get the job, which is what I am trying to do.
Just a little advice... my department recently conducted a written examination on Saturday, about 70 people applied. None of us there were taking notes on what they were wearing, however after an observation, most wore fire related shirts. We never even seen the names of the candidates and won't see them until the oral board when they give the apps to Chief.
However.. like one guy said, maybe you should go a little formal in a small town. But don't wear a suit and tie. Every department is different.
BCLepore.... I give you much resepct, you give great advice and I think it's great that you take the time out of your schedule to post here. So, when I say this I'm not trying to sound argumentative or disrespectful. I'm just curious...
When you say that "While you have your head down focusing on your test, the firefighters are eyeing the group looking for the squared away candidates," does that mean when you see a candidate who is wearing a VFD shirt or a wifebeater you take down his/her name and don't even consider their score? Do you write down the names of people in suits? Or, if he/she were to show up to the chief's interview in a suit, after being ranked at the top of the group, would you not hire them if you remembered they were dressed a little to casual at the written?
I think that a collar shirt is what you should be wearing during a written exam
Thanks for the kind words. I will cut and paste the crux of what I said:
"The smart candidates realize that most portions of the exams are proctored by firefighters. We notice things. Your hope is that dressed in a suit and tie will get the attention of the firefighters who are proctoring the exam.
Itís an good first impression that hopefully opens the door with one of the firefighters. Maybe it results in an invitation to the station to meet the crew."
What you are hoping is to be noticed by the firefighters. The men and women of the department are there proctoring the exam. All of the comments about firefighters not noticing are incorrect. If you are around a group of firefighters you know that we pay attention to EVERYTHING.
Do we notice the wife beaters? No they blend in with all of the wanna bees who wear their XYZ fire department t-shirt, and the reserves who didn't have time to change out of their fire department uniforms (screams look at me!).
I have the luxury of seeing the hiring process through a different set of glasses. I sit on promotional exams all over the place. I am on committees with my peers and with badges much larger than mine. Today alone I spoke to two different background investigators who were calling for references.
Most of my peers know of my involvement and interest with the hiring crowd. The topic always turns to the hiring of new firefighters. Any opportunity we have to select a strong candidate will help us in selecting the right fit for our respective departments.
There is much more that goes into hiring a new firefighter than most will ever know. I have shared one of them with the this forum. Most people believe that wearing a suit in not necessary. That's OK. I wasn't talking to them. I am speaking to the .01% who is listening. The same person who says, "while I may not agree with it, if it helps me stand out I will do it."
I especially like the posts from CANDIDATES who share what THEY wear for a written exam like they are an expert. Ifyou are still taking written exams to get hired, I don't believe you qualify as an expert.........
Personally, I don't care what YOU decide to wear. Like I said earlier, my friends will be wearing a suit and tie.