Thread: Need some opinions?
03-03-2007, 12:11 AM #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
Need some opinions?
Hi guys.. need your input about this matter..
Do you think it is easier to get hired on a big city/medium size city department that has an extensive hiring process, or a smaller sized town that has an agility test and then say a Chief's interview? Of course taking into consideration, the amount of people applying for a big city position and the amount of people applying for a small town position.
However, one thing I have noticed that it seems the hiring process is a little more fair in a big city, as if everyone is starting on the same level, whereas a small town it could be a politics game.
Basically, my question, would I stand a better chance at getting on with Los Angeles county type department that could be hiring a lot, or say, a small town department that has both career and volunteer guys and is looking to hire 4 people? Just as an example with the departments.
Trying to figure out whether the big city route or small town route is the way to go. Of course the advice is to test everywhere but my financial situation right now I can't just test everywhere in the state so any ideas.
03-03-2007, 09:30 AM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
You shouldn’t be looking for the “easy” place to get hired, rather set your sites on becoming a firefighter. Choose the department(s) that YOU want to work for and set your sites on getting qualified.
If you get your fire service education (AS degree), graduate a basic fire academy, work as a reserve firefighter, and learn how to take a fire department interview you will be successful in your endeavors.
It really isn’t that complicated. It’s up to you to bring the right things to the table. Once you do you will get to choose where YOU want to work.
03-03-2007, 11:08 AM #3
As a retired member of a large fire department and where there was 6,000 who applied when I took the exam,I say smaller is better. I'm now a Fire Commissioner for a small Fire Department and our last test had 25 apply for two positions. The process went smooth and it came down to the Oral. The Fire Chief was given a list of top five and he picked from there. I think the odds are a lot better with a list of five then a list of 150 in Band A.
Jay Dudley, Retired FireRespectfully,
Lifetime Member CSFA
IAFF Alumni Member
03-03-2007, 11:43 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Green Bay
BC Lepore always has great advice, so it is hard to follow and the last post has good knowledge of big city.
Having been a guy to test for large, medium, and small cities it is a horse a piece. I found a written test and physical easier in a large city compared to a small and also vice-versa. What is comes down to is HOW a particular city screens its candidates for FF. How involved they want to be and what they are looking for.
A large city with many candidates may have higher test minimums to reach to move on. (IE scoring 90% or above on a written to take a physical). A smaller FD may decide more with an interview because there may be less candidates and more time to spend on an interview.
As BC Lepore stated, it is up to you to find out where you want to be and to make yourself the best candidate for the job. Getting on a FD is not an easy task, some get on right away, others take years to accomplish that goal. It is what you bring to the table that will decide where you go.
03-03-2007, 11:48 AM #5
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- north of San Francisco
Both big and small departments are both hard and easy, if that helps. If you want to be a firefighter, you have to get good at taking tests. That means being able to pass the pass/fail written tests, or get a very high score on those that are weighted into your score. You need to be able to do well in the agility tests. But most importantly you need to get good at taking the oral interviews.
Most tests have the oral interview as the most important part, or in a lot of cases, what your total score is based on. With that being common knowledge, most people will spend hours on studying for a written test, and months if not years getting in shape for an agility, and little or no time preparing for the oral. By preparing for your oral interviews, getting as much practice as you can, by doing mock interviews and taking every test you can, you could choose between the big and small departments.
You are correct that the testing is more “fair” with the bigger departments. Usually the human resources department, not the department itself, runs the tests. I know, to make it fair for everyone, raters are not supposed to smile in the interviews that are going on right now in one big city department on the west coast. In the case of a bigger department it really is what you say in your interview that gets you the job, not what you have done and who you know. I got an Email last week from a guy I worked with who was 23 and had no F/F1 or EMT and has been hired by Las Vegas. I know he beat out people with more education and experience; he went into his interview and said all of the right stuff.
I have also worked with people testing for small towns that have gone in and taken the job away from people that were the “chosen” ones. What I have seen happen in the smaller departments is the will tell a few people that they are “in”. These people will not prepare for the test as well as they should because, “the chief said I am the guy”. Then someone, who no one has heard of, comes in and is very well prepared. They go into their interview after having spent the time to learn about the department and can talk about themselves in a calm, comfortable manner, and they get the job. The chief is put in the position where someone did so much better in the interview; he has to hire him or her.
Good Luck, Capt Rob
Last edited by FFighterRob; 03-03-2007 at 03:05 PM.
03-03-2007, 01:42 PM #6
I've tested for both, and have been hired by both (not simultaneously of course).
In my experience....it's all relative. Smaller FD's usually have fewer applicants, while larger FDs have more. At the same time, the amount of open positions (most of the time) are equivalant to the size of dept.
The Dept. I previously worked for (small/medium sized dept.) usually had no more than 50 applicants with no more than 3-5 hired off the list in a 2 year period. The only exception was when we annexed a large area and hired 15.
The Dept. I'm on now (large Dept.) has hired about 100 in the past two years, and will be hiring 20-30 more in the very near future.
That being said.....if you are looking to get hired somewhere, I reccomend this advice...test anywhere you are qualified and capable. No one says you have to accept the job, or even keep it once you are there. I wouldn't limit yourself testing only at the FDs that you consider your "dream jobs".
Get all the education you can, keep physically fit, practice doing oral interviews, stay out of trouble, test when/where you can, be patient, and I don't see why you wouldn't get hired somewhere.
03-03-2007, 02:11 PM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- north of San Francisco
Excellent advise. If it takes you 15 tests to get into the hirable range would you rather do it in one year taking every test, or 5 years only testing for those departments you would “love” to work for? Many people have been pleasantly surprised that a department they tested for, but didn’t have on their dream list, turned out to be their dream department. Life is like that sometimes. You end up where you are supposed to be in spite of all you try to do.
Good Luck, Capt Rob
03-03-2007, 02:40 PM #8
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
What and where?
Take Any Test You Can!
You’ve got to be kidding me!
I’ve talked to three candidates recently who had the opportunity to take some killer entry-level tests. They didn’t take these tests. When I asked why? They said, I don’t want to work there. That would require me to move and my wife won’t go, I’m waiting for the only department I want to work for now, or I only test in this region. Don’t tell me how bad you want this job and then give me one of these stupid excuses.
I know several candidates who have gone out of their state to take tests in preparation for the “city they really want to work for”. Guess what? They get offered jobs. How difficult would it be for you to turn a badge down? Guess where they live and work now? And, it’s a lot easier to get a job once you have one. I know one candidate who went all the way to Wyoming to get his badge. Now he’s testing back in his home state of Washington.
Understand the more tests you take, the better you will be at taking tests. Then, when the one you really want comes along, you’re dialed up ready to nail that badge.
So how do you get through the maze? Many believe it takes quite a while to get firmly entrenched in the testing process and get a solid presentation going. That’s only if you don’t have the skills to know what you’re doing. How many opportunities do you want to waste trying to figure It’s the oral board score that gets you the J-O-B!
Just received these e-mails on the same day from two new firefighters who got their badges the first time out.
Dear Capt Bob,
I was referred to you by one of my friends approximately 4 months ago to help me with my oral boards. I recently took my first oral board for a department in Fresno County and got hired!!!!! There is absolutely no way I could have done this without your program. This is the department I was looking to get hired at. Thanks for all your help. John
Captain Rob: I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for the help. I just got the phone call yesterday from the City of Las Vegas Fire Dept. I start my dream job April 23. This was the first test that I had ever taken and wouldn't have made it had it not been for the private coaching that I had with you. I am only 23 years old and had no fire or ems experience to pad my resume with, but the tools that you gave me did the trick. For those that are a little skeptical of doing the coaching, I know that it made all the difference. The price to pay for the coaching was the best investment that I have ever made!!! Just do it! Thanks again Capt. Rob. You can now add me to your stats! Thank you, Sean_____________________________________________
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
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