Society Magazine

Stop Lying, Stop Telling Yourself There Are No Firefighter Jobs!

Posted on the 19 September 2019 by Firecareers

first_class_firefighter_resourceStop Lying, stop telling yourself there are no Firefighter jobs and really and I mean really understand that never and I mean never in the 38 plus years I’ve been directly involved with firefighter recruitment have I ever seen so much un-answered opportunity.

I’m talking with fire chiefs almost every day who are searching for candidates. It has become a national problem finding volunteer firefighters it has also become problematic finding career firefighters.

Finding career firefighters is almost a national crisis. Articles are being published all across the country that fire departments can’t fill open positions because no one is applying. Some fire departments in Texas offer moving incentives up to $5,000. to attract applicants. A fire department in Virginia lists its entry level requirements as HS/GED & 18 years old, that’s it and still can’t get candidates to apply. Departments in California have modified their entry level requirements in the hopes more people will apply still their positions go un-filled for extended periods of time.

Fire Departments used to recruit every couple of years now they are testing every 90 days just looking for someone to apply. A 6 station fire department on the Gold Coast of California has an open recruitment for Firefighter/Paramedic open continually and no one applies. I tell people all the time if I were looking for a job in today’s firefighter jobs market I would have a job in less than 90 days. There is SO MUCH OPPROTUNITY and no one is answering the call. It wasn’t too long ago a fire department like Glendale California would receive several thousand applications during recruitment now only a few hundred apply.

What motivated me to write this little rant, we just finished recruitment for Sparks Fire Dept. for the second time this year? The first recruitment they took a total of 17 applications for 5 open positions. After it was all said and done they were able to hire 2 leaving 3 open positions to fill. So we just finished the second round of recruiting to fill the original 3 open positions and possibly three more openings for a total of 6 open Firefighter Paramedic positions. This time they took 18 applications and only 9 showed up for the test. They have 5/6 openings and only 9 people showed up, I like those odds. That’s why I say if I were looking for a career I’d have one. As a comparison the fire department that hired me had 3 openings when they gave the test, and over 1,300 people showed up.

So the next time someone tells you how hard it is to become a firefighter ask them are you really doing everything you can to get the job or are you simply waiting for someone to show up at your door and offer you a job because you took a test?

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When I talk about this with firefighter candidates they like to tell me how it’s different in California? I usually ask them to tell me what agencies they have tested for or what they are doing to get a job. Some self evaluation and an action plan is usually missing. Meaning, are you really doing everything you can to get the job? Or are you one of these people who believe that because you attended a fire academy and took the statewide test you’re done? You must realize that the recruiting companies are for profit and only represent a handful of agencies. As an example there are over 1,000 fire departments in California and the state wide recruitment list only covers a couple dozen agencies. The idea that once you take the statewide test you’re done is really a major FAIL. Stop telling people it’s so hard to get a job when you aren’t even taking tests. That’s on you get on your feet and go take a test, that’s the only way to get hired.

In closing last year I was hired by a law firm representing Los Angeles County Fire Dept. in a hiring dispute. The candidate/litigate was suing the county for wrongful hiring practices and that over the past two years he was only able to take two other firefighter tests. I came in an demonstrated that in the past two years California had an additional 197 entry level firefighter recruitments yet he only took three tests total and complained that he didn’t have any options and couldn’t get hired.

I’m here to help you succeed however, you have to take what I’m offering and go take a test.  Taking tests is an important component to the success of becoming a firefighter.  Learn from each one and do a self evaluation and make sure you are doing your part to be successful. An action plan is a must to make sure your doing everything you can.  Becoming a firefighter starts and ends with you. Your action plan will make it possible for you to do what you need to do and get hired because you can make it happen.  Good Luck and know if you are serious the job is just around the corner


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