Employment and hiring
Written by Lydia Wilcox
For Canadian fire services to effectively transition to a fire-prevention culture from the longstanding suppression mentality, everyone from officers to recruits needs to buy in.
Written by Len Garis and Larry Thomas
Hiring firefighters has changed from the days when a strong back and bravery were the most prized values of a new employee.
Written by Maria Church
Feb. 29, 2016, Mississauga, Ont. – Fire chiefs who are hiring want recruits from diverse backgrounds who can be developed into strong leaders and will fit in with the department's culture.

Post-secondary education is also a preference, more than 100 potential firefighters learned at a career expo Saturday.

"We are looking for people who want to do more than just show up for work," Mississauga Assistant Chief Shawn Matheson told the audience at Fire Fighting in Canada's spring Firefighter Career Expo at the Garry W. Morden Centre.

Richard Boyes, executive director of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, told participants that with more and more municipalities adopting the standardized candidate testing service (CTS), how a potential recruit fits in with a department is more important than ever.

"If you've all had to pass the same standard, there is no banner over any candidate coming in," Boyes said. "Now, what else are you bringing? We need a wide range of skill sets, because you cannot have any organization [full] of one type of person."

Seventeen municipalities have adopted CTS since it launched in April 2014, including Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga. About 1,900 candidates are in the CTS system, Boyes said. Almost half of the audience members in the room indicated that they had been through the CTS process.

Mississauga Chief Tim Beckett said in an interview during the expo that CTS has streamlined his department's hiring process, and the standardized system gives him a broader, more diverse range of candidates.

"From a candidates' perspective," Beckett said, "it limits the amount of money that they continue to lay out time after time applying for all the departments."

Beckett and Matheson told expo participants that post-secondary education and leadership skills stand out in candidates.

"For me, some of it has to do with succession planning," Beckett said.

Expo participants received advice about every stage of the hiring process, from what to (and what not to) include in their resumes to how to prepare for interviews.

Brampton Fire and Emergency Services Platoon Chief Ed Davis and firefighter Chris Peterson spoke about recruitment trends in career departments, explained where recruits often go wrong – from typos on resumes to first-impression faux pas – and what can help them get noticed.

Chris Bedwell from Testreadypro gave firefighter test writing tips, and strategies for first-time, repeat, and second-career candidates. Bedwell stressed the importance of being prepared by researching each test.

Dave Gillespie and Shawn Cooligan from Firefighterinterviews.com once again moderated the mock interview exercise, asking for three volunteers from the audience to answer three frequently asked questions. Five chief officers – Beckett, Boyes, Davis, Toronto Fire Services Deputy Chief Debbie Higgins, and Barrie Fire and Emergency Service Chief Bill Boyes – sat on the interview panel and gently (or bluntly, depending on the chief) pointed out how candidates could improve their answers.

For Beckett, the expo, as a whole, allowed him to share a message with potential firefighters about diversity.

"There's a shifting culture [in the fire service] and that's where we are heading," Beckett said. "Diversity is going to play a huge role in this and it's not about quotas, it's really about quality and excellence."

The 2016 fall Firefighter Career Expo is scheduled for Sept. 11 at Toronto's Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute.




Written by Laura King
Before Britney Holmberg was hired by Brampton Fire and Emergency Services in 2013, she had applied to more than 30 municipal departments, written 20 aptitude tests and sweated through eight candidate physical ability tests
Written by Olivia D'Orazio
Feb. 26, 2013, Toronto – Firefighter hopefuls should arrive early for interviews, dress properly, and be confident, according to fire officers who spoke at the 2013 Career Expo in Toronto on Saturday.
Written by Kory Pearn
Fire fighting is a challenging and rewarding career. If you’re thinking about becoming a firefighter, here are some things to consider. 
Written by Lyle Quan
There has been much written on how to prepare a resumé. Once your resumé has gotten you noticed and into that crucial first interview, the next challenge is how to conduct yourself in the interview. This is where you get to show prospective employers who you are and demonstrate and confirm the information you have provided (in your resumé). Now is the time to tell employers why you are the one they should hire.
Written by Kory Pearn

Are you thinking of enrolling in a fire school but you’re not sure what course to take or what programs are best? Finding the answer can be difficult. It seems if you asked 10 different people these questions you would get 10 different answers and everyone would be right in some way.

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