What if I don't get the job?

22 October 2023
Chief Brent Collins, President, www.FirePrep.com

What if I don’t get the job? 

Across the country, there are set civil service hiring rules.  Those rules may dictate that they pick 1 in 3, 1 in 5 or 1 in 10.  The important point here is that they don’t need to give you a reason that they didn’t pick you.  In most cities, there are no available appeal options for these decisions.

What are some reasons for being passed over? 

Maybe you scored number one on the written exam and you go for the chief’s interview.  You don’t have your paramedic certification yet and the person who scored number three on the list does.  The chief may want someone who is ready to work immediately; he’s not going to pay you while you go to paramedic school as well as paying overtime for someone else to fill your spot at the station.

Maybe you were number six and they chose the person who was number eight because they interviewed better.  This could be one of your weak points that needs improvement.   We have Capt Bob’s oral interview preparation on our website, review our blog for tips or search facebook for tips on oral interviews.  There is a wealth of information available online these days.

There are those instances where it could be a relative of the mayor, a firefighter’s son or daughter, a city employee’s family member and they picked that person instead of you.  Political decisions do come into play sometimes.  Are they fair?  No.  Are they within the law?  Yes.

If you know someone in the department, you can ask them to see why you were passed over.  You could also follow up with the chief, either by phone or with a letter, saying something like:  Chief, I was recently passed over for hiring.  I am serious about a career as a firefighter.  Is there something I did wrong or something I need to do better?

Getting passed over by a department can be a blow to your ego if you let it.  You need to pick yourself up and move forward.  Work towards those certifications if you don’t have them; work on your interview skills; work on your written exam skills.  You need to be the complete package and not give a department a reason to pass you over in the future.