Career FD Hiring - Part 2: The Test
You read the previous article, and weren't entirely turned off by the idea. You’ve decided you’re ready to go down the long painful road of becoming a professional firefighter. “Where the fuck do I begin?” you might be asking yourself. Well, right here. Being a firefighter is pretty fuckin’ cool, and because of that the hiring process is a long, tiresome journey. Every department will have their own way that they hire firefighters. Where I work, most hiring processes are generally all about the same. Some include a little more, some a little less, but a couple things that all of them do include are basic certifications and qualifications.
Almost every major department will require that you have your NREMT in order to apply. No, getting a C+ in your EMT class doesn’t count...go get your god damn NREMT. This will be very clearly outlined in the job requirements or in the job posting itself. The department will outline what you need to have, and when you need to have it. The job posting should answer almost every question you could possibly have. Some departments may require your National Registry before you can apply, and others may require that you have it by the date of your final interview. Every test that I ever took, someone fucked this up. Don’t be that guy. There are literally thousands of people behind you who aren’t stupid, and they’ll step over you and take your spot.
'lol hire me plz'
The other thing that people constantly drop the ball on is the CPAT. There are plenty of videos perfectly depicting what you need to do during the CPAT. If you cant pass the CPAT, you will not pass an academy. It's comically easy, and you should be able to pass it with zero issues. Don’t let your CPAT expire, ever. Opportunities pop up out of the blue and people miss out all the time because they were only “prepared” when there was a test going on. I was hired off of a test that I took almost 2 years before my first interview. Some departments may also require that you have some kind of HAZMAT or other lower college level course completed in order to apply. Do some research on past hiring processes and see what the various departments have required in the past. You do not want to be scrambling to get your shit together when a test for your dream department comes up. Be Prepared.
The first part of these processes is the written test. The first test that I ever took, I was in a convention center with at least 2,500 people testing for about 60 spots. It is terrifying looking around and physically seeing how many other shit birds you’re competing against. As you become more experienced with testing though, you’ll quickly realize that you’re not competing with 2,500 people. You’re really only competing with like 500 of them since the majority either don’t qualify, aren’t prepared, or couldn’t pass the test if their lives depended on it. Really, look closely around the room...there’s some really questionable people in there.
But regardless, don’t worry about what other people are doing. Worry about yourself. Focus on being successful, but know that there are tons of people out there grinding all day, everyday, doing everything humanly possible to get this job. That is who you’re competing with. So be competitive.
Some of these tests have study guides, while others are just general aptitude or public safety tests. The departments that utilize a study guide will make it known that there’s something you need to study, and they’ll tell you where to get the material. The tests are always multiple choice and include all the classic topics like reading comprehension, mechanical aptitude, math, etc. The tests with study guides can and will be word for word on the test so thoroughly go through the guide many, many times. On all of these tests, people will be getting 100% (fuckin nerds) so you need to be studying as much as possible. The difference between getting an interview, and continuing to live with your roommates (aka parents) may be two questions. People below you in score will be interviewed before you if they have preference points. THIS IS WHY YOU STUDY. Take it seriously. It's only your dream job.
Interviews are offered to the top scoring candidates. The department will decide how many people they want to hire and interview, and they’ll start at the top of the list and drop down until they reach the amount of interviewees they want. Sometimes that could be from 100% test scores down to 93%, and if you got a 92% on the test...better luck next time. Most departments use their test scores for multiple hirings so if you don’t get an interview the first go around, just keep testing for other departments and wait until they get down to your dumbass score. Remember how I said I got hired two years later? That’s because I’m a dumbass too!